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Maine Panel Says Mass Shooter's Guns Should Have Been Seized

The events leading up to Army reservist Robert Card's killing 18 people at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, on Oct. 25, 2023, were analyzed by an independent commission, which said that his guns should have been seized, the Associated Press reports. Law enforcement should have put Card in protective custody weeks before he committed the deadliest mass shooting in state history, the commission concluded. The panel criticized Sgt. Aaron Skolfield, who had responded to a report five weeks before the shooting that Card was suffering from some sort of mental health crisis after he had assaulted a friend and threatened to shoot up the Saco Armory. The commission found Skolfield, of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, should have realized he had probable cause to start a “yellow flag” process, which allows a judge to remove somebody’s guns during a psychiatric health crisis.

Ben Gideon, an attorney representing the victims, said he believed the report focused heavily on the actions of the sheriff’s office while ignoring the broader issue of access to guns by potentially dangerous people across the state. “I’m in agreement with the committee’s findings as far as they go, and I do think it’s a legitimate point that the Sagadahoc Sheriff’s Office could have done more to intervene,” he said. “I was a little disappointed that the committee didn’t take a wider view of the issues that start as far back as May.” Elizabeth Seal, whose husband Joshua was killed in the shootings, said the focus of the report was “narrow.” Gov. Janet Mills, who helped assemble the panel, called its work of “paramount importance for the people of Maine.” Commission Chair Daniel Wathen said the interim report was intended to provide policymakers and law enforcement with key information. “Nothing we do can ever change what happened on that terrible day, but knowing the facts can help provide the answers that the victims, their families, and the people of Maine need and deserve,” Wathen said.


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