Sagadahoc County, Maine CNN –
The Maine National Guard asked local police to search for the reservist who killed 18 people after a soldier feared he would “freak out and commit a mass shooting,” according to CNN.
Officers from the Sagadahoc County and Kennebec County sheriff’s offices responded and attempted to contact the man on Sept. 16, less than six weeks before Wednesday’s massacres at a bowling alley and a bar, documents state Law enforcement source.
Information obtained by CNN describes how the Sagadahoc County sergeant called for backup, tried unsuccessfully to speak to the reservist, and then received disturbing information from the Maine National Guard and the shooter’s family.
The responding Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant was told, “When [he] “Historically, when someone opens the door of their trailer, they typically do so with a gun in their hand so that the person outside cannot see them,” said the source familiar with the welfare check report.
The responding officer later learned in a letter from the National Guard that a fellow guard “is concerned about this [the reservist] will freak out and commit a mass shooting,” according to the report filed as part of the health check.
The 40-year-old carried out two shootings in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday evening that killed 18 people at Just-in-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar & Grille.
The initial panic was followed by 48 hours of fear and lockdown before he was found about 10 miles away on Friday evening, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
CNN’s reporting raises new questions about the lack of follow-up to ensure the man posed no threat, despite serious warning signs that authorities were aware of and are now detailing for the first time.
Maine has a “yellow flag” law that can be used to judge a person with access to guns. The first step is for law enforcement to take a person deemed dangerous into custody and then have them examined by a doctor. After a diagnosis, the law allows a judge to approve an order for the temporary removal of firearms.
The missing person report in File 6 appears to have been made by the Sagadahoc sergeant, who was trying to check on the man, the source told CNN. However, it is unclear whether there were any measures taken regarding the shooter’s access to the weapons. The source said the case appeared to have been closed on October 1, 24 days before the massacres.
CNN began asking questions Thursday about what information all of the state’s law enforcement agencies had about threats and the shooter’s mental health. But when CNN asked State Security Commissioner Mike Sauschuck about it, he replied: “I’m not going to answer.”
He continued: “Based on what I’ve seen, we’ll continue to work on it.”
A state police spokesman said Sunday that the organization was the lead agency for the manhunt and homicide investigation but no other aspect, and directed CNN to ask Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry questions about what was previously known was.
“The Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Maine State Police requested a teleprinter on Robert Card prior to October 26th. It should also be noted that no communications or assistance were requested from the Maine MSP Information and Analysis Center. “DPS has no regulatory authority over law enforcement in Maine,” she said, declining to elaborate.
CNN was unable to reach Merry on Sunday. A woman who answered the door at his home said he was “finished,” indicating he didn’t want to talk.
CNN also attempted to solicit comment for this story from the shooter’s family and the Maine National Guard, who were closely involved in attempts in September to check on the man’s welfare. Neither of them answered.
Shortly after the man – Robert Card – was identified as a suspect, his mental health issues were also reported.
According to information the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office apparently received from the Maine National Guard, the man spent 14 days in a psychiatric hospital in July before being released.
This hospitalization was prompted after he had problems with other soldiers in New York State in July.
The National Guard told the Sagadahoc Sheriff’s Office that its reservist began hearing abusive voices in the spring and they have only gotten worse.
On July 15, he and other soldiers near West Point “went to a convenience store to get some beer,” CNN said, citing a letter from the National Guard.
“In the parking lot [he] accused three of them of calling him a pedophile and said he would take care of it,” it continued. “One of the soldiers he was friends with [him] was there for a long time. [He] got in his face, pushed him and told him to stop calling him a pedophile.”
The law enforcement source told CNN they calmed their comrade down and returned to the motel, where he locked himself in his room and was unresponsive.
The next day another security guard got the key to his room and saw him. “[He] told me to leave him alone and tried to slam the door in my face,” he is quoted as saying in the report, adding that the guard took the man to a base hospital, where a psychologist determined he needed further treatment needed, which led to the 14-day stay in the psychiatric ward.
After his release, another incident occurred that led to the Maine National Guard requesting a health inspection.
The man and a friend, who was a soldier, were driving home from a casino when he started talking about people calling him a pedophile, according to the statement from the National Guard to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office.
“When [his friend] told him to stop because he would get in trouble if he talked about shooting places and people, [he] “hit him,” the statement said. “Accordingly [the friend], [he] said he had weapons and would destroy the drilling center in Saco and other places… [the friend] is worried about it [he] will freak out and carry out a mass shooting.”
The threat to the National Guard facility in Saco led to some additional patrols, Saco Police Chief Jack Clements told WMTW Maine, but the concerned guard never showed up.
Sagadahoc County Sheriff Merry told the New York Times that he sent an alert to all law enforcement agencies in Maine sometime in September after learning of the threat to the Saco base.
CNN could not independently verify this.
Merry told the Associated Press that it was the Army Reserve that alerted him to the possible danger.
An Army spokesman said CNN Card’s unit has requested a health and welfare investigation from the sheriff’s office.
“In September, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office responded to a health and welfare check requested by Sgt. “1st Class Robert Card’s unit was extremely cautious after the unit became concerned for his safety,” said Lt. Col. Ruth Castro. “The army takes all allegations seriously. Due to an ongoing Army investigation, we cannot provide further details.”
Investigators said the shooter at the time already had the high-powered Ruger SFAR rifle that was later used in the killings, having purchased it and a Beretta 92-F 9mm semi-automatic pistol in early July.
When Sagadahoc and Kennebec officers were dispatched to his home on Sept. 16, they made no contact with the shooter, but soon learned about his mental health issues and his weapons, the law enforcement source told CNN.
The reservist didn’t open the door for officers, the source said, so officers began calling those who knew him.
The unit commander told an officer that the man no longer had guard weapons and that arrangements had been made with his brother to retrieve his personal firearms.
The commander also reportedly told the officer that he thought it was best to give the man time to himself.
The next day, the Sagadahoc officer spoke with the gunman’s brother, who warned him that the man would likely be armed if he opened the door.
“I was later contacted by [the brother,] He told me that he and his father would work to ensure this [the man] does not have access to firearms. They have a way to secure his weapons,” the source quoted a welfare report as saying.
The responding police officer said he told the brother that the intent was to ensure his sibling did not hurt himself or others. He said his department will help provide a mental health assessment if necessary.
That was on September 17th. Thirty-eight days later, the National Guard reservist entered a bowling alley and started shooting. Among those killed was a 14-year-old boy who was playing with his father and participants in a cornhole tournament for the deaf. He then went to a bar and killed more people, including the manager who tried to stop him.
Source : www.cnn.com