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Traumatic Brain Injury Evidence In Maine Shooter Who Killed 18

An Army reservist who shot and killed 18 people in Maine last year had evidence of traumatic brain injuries, according to an analysis by researchers from Boston University. There was degeneration in the nerve fibers that allow for communication between different areas of the brain, inflammation and small blood vessel injury, according to Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center. The analysis was released Wednesday by the family of reservist Robert Card. Card had been an instructor at an Army hand grenade training range, where it is believed he was exposed to repeated low-level blasts, the Associated Press reports. It is unknown if that caused Card’s brain injury and what role brain injury played in Card’s decline in mental health in the months before he opened fire at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston on Oct. 25. “While I cannot say with certainty that these pathological findings underlie Mr. Card’s behavioral changes in the last 10 months of life, based on our previous work, brain injury likely played a role in his symptoms,” McKee said.

The brain tissue sample was sent to the lab by Maine’s chief medical examiner. At that time, a Pentagon spokesperson said the Army was working to better understand the relationship between “blast overpressure” and brain health effects and had instituted measures to reduce soldiers’ exposure, including limiting the number of personnel near blasts. Police and the Army were warned that Card, 40, was suffering from deteriorating mental health in the months preceding the shootings. His relatives warned police that he was displaying paranoid behavior and they were concerned about his access to guns. Law enforcement officials have defended their approach with Card before the shootings. Members of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office testified that the state’s yellow flag law makes it difficult to remove guns from a potentially dangerous person. Democrats are looking to change the state’s gun laws. “Gun violence represents a significant public health emergency. It’s through a combination of meaningful gun safety reform and public health investment that we can best keep our communities safe,” said Nacole Palmer of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition.


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