(LEWISTON, Maine) — At least 16 people are dead and dozens more have been injured after a bowling alley came under fire in Lewiston, Maine, Wednesday evening, law enforcement sources confirmed to ABC News. The death toll is likely to rise, officials said.
Hours after the shooting, the deadliest of the year and one of the deadliest in recent decades, the gunman remains on the loose. Hundreds of police are searching for a person of interest as communities remain under shelter-in-place orders.
The shooting unfolded in part during youth night at a local bowling alley. Witnesses described a desperate scene where people hid behind benches and tables and even inside the bowling pin machine at the end of a lane.
Mother Meghan Hutchinson said, “When I turned around, I saw the shooter. … I don’t know if that was just a warning shot or if he shot somebody with that [bullet].”
“Between the lanes there’s some swinging doors where they keep all the mechanical stuff out back, so we kind of all just ran that way,” she said. “We barricaded in there and another parent was in the room with me. She had a phone, she called 911.”
Her daughter, Zoe Levesque, 10, was grazed by a bullet.
“It’s just like, shocking,” she said.
“I never thought I’d grow up and get a bullet in my leg,” she said. “Like, why do people do this? I was more worried about, like, am I going to live and going to make it out of here? Like, what’s going to happen? Are the cops going to come?”
Lewiston police have identified a person of interest as Robert Card, who’s still at large.
Card allegedly has a history of military service and is a firearms instructor, sources said.
The sources said he also has a mental health history, including a two-week stay this summer at a mental health facility after he allegedly made threats about carrying out a shooting at a National Guard facility.
Authorities found his white Subaru at a location in Lisbon, Maine, sources said, but the manhunt continues.
Riley Dumont said she was at the bowling alley when she heard a loud bang. She said her father, a retired police officer, corralled them into a corner and put protection in front of them, including “tables and a big bench that the kids were hiding behind.”
“I was laying on top of my daughter. My mother was laying on top of me,” said Dumont.
“It felt like it lasted a lifetime,” she added. “I just remember people sobbing and crying.”
Another witness at the bowling alley, whose name is Brandon but whose last name was not made available, described hearing a “loud pop.”
“Thought it was a balloon,” Brandon said. “I had my back turned to the door. As soon as I turned and saw that it was not a balloon, he was holding a weapon. I just booked it down the lane and I slid basically into where the pins are and climbed up to the machine and was on top of the machines for about 10 minutes until the cops got there.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the mass shooting in Lewiston is already the deadliest shooting of the year.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills posted on X that she was aware of the situation and urging “all people in the area to follow the direction of State and local enforcement. I will continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with public safety officials.”
Police plan on briefing the media at 10:30 a.m. ET.
“I am heartbroken for our city and our people,” Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline said in a statement. “Lewiston is known for our strength and grit and we will need both in the days to come.”
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