The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

Mass Shooting in Lewiston Wednesday Night, Suspect on the Run, 18 Confirmed Deaths

At roughly 7 pm Wednesday night, October 25th, a man with an automatic gun caused mass casualties in Lewiston.
Image of two individuals hugging at reunification center in Auburn, Maine. This photo is from Derek Davis/the Portland Press Herald, via associated press.
  • Looking at a National Perspective
  • What does this mean for UNE?
  • Response from the community 
  • Resources


Here’s what we know:

  • 18 people have died, and 13 were confirmed to be injured (source)
  • Governor Janet Mills has been in contact with President Joe Biden regarding this event
  • The shootings occurred at two separate locations in Lewiston
  • This is the 36th mass shooting in America this year
  • All of UNE’s COM students assigned to the Lewiston area have been reported safe as of last night

The suspect, Robert Card (40) is a US Army Reservist who was stationed at the Reserve in Saco, Maine. He is a long-standing resident of Bowdoin, Maine, located about 40 minutes from the massacre. 

The shootings, using a military-style semi-automatic rifle, took place at two locations, including Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation bowling alley. According to an NBC News interview with Liam Kent, a local resident who is familiar with Card, Kent claims that Card is a known “gun fanatic.” 

The suspect, Robert Card. Photo from the Lewiston Police Department’s Facebook.

According to law enforcement, Card has self-reported mental health issues and claims to hear voices. He was committed to a mental health facility this past summer after threats to attack the Saco Army Base. 

The manhunt is still underway. Citizens have been told to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. He is considered “armed and dangerous” and should not be approached. An arrest warrant for eight counts of murder was issued, according to the New York Times.

The owner of Sparetime Recreation told the New York Times that there were anywhere from 100 to 150 individuals, 20 of those being children, present during the mass casualty incident. 

Lewiston, as well as many surrounding towns in Androscoggin County, were issued a stay-in-place order last night. Lewiston is the second largest city in the state, with a population of 38,493 people (2022 census).

According to various news reports, the first three victims identified in the shooting included Zoey Levesque (11) and Justin Karcher (23), who were reported as injured, and Bob Violette (76), whose injuries were fatal. The Gun Violence Archive is actively identifying the rest of the victims.

Looking at a National Perspective

Following the tragedy, President Biden ordered all flags to half-staff  “at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, October 30, 2023,” reports Independent. In addition, he released a statement regarding the incident.

According to the USA Today database, this shooting is the 36th mass killing to take place in 2023 and is the deadliest mass shooting of the year. This marks the second-highest number of mass killings and deaths at this point in a single year, reports AP

This is the third mass killing incident in Maine since 2006 (source) and is the worst the state has experienced. A mass killing incident, as defined by the Mass Killing Database, is “the intentional killing of four or more victims – excluding the deaths of unborn children and the offender(s) – by any means within a 24-hour period.”

What does this mean for UNE?

At approximately 8:30 last night, staff from the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) were alerted to the incident. Third and fourth-year COM students stationed in the area have all been contacted, and staff confirmed that they were sheltering in place during the shootings.

Dr. Jane E. Carreiro, DO, VP of Health Affairs and Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, stated in an email, “we worked with UNE security and student affairs to identify any students living in or from Lewiston and proceeded to contact them as well. As of this morning, I had heard from those students, they and their families were safe.” 

UNE students received phone calls and text messages at 6:39 AM from UNE’s OKTA system stating that both Biddeford and Portland campuses will be closed today, October 26th. 

At 8:04 this morning, President James Herbert sent an email statement to the UNE community. Herbert wrote that “out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to cancel classes and close the Biddeford and Portland campuses today.” 

The Bolt reached out to President Herbert, but he has yet to respond with any further comments. Instead, all questions have been redirected to the university’s Communications Office, which advises students to follow current information from prior emails.     

At this time, we haven’t heard back from The President’s Office regarding when classes will resume at UNE.

The dining facilities, the Campus Center and the Harold Alfond Forum on the Biddeford Campus, Student Health Services, and the libraries on both campuses will remain open. 

UNE’s housing put out an Instagram post this afternoon stating that members of UNE’s Biddeford counseling and professional staff team would be available in the Cloud Lounge in the Campus Center between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. 

At 7:25 pm this evening, October 26, the Provost’s Office emailed students stating that UNE is “carefully monitor[ing] the ongoing investigation” and “given the evolving nature of the situation, it is too early to determine the status of [UNE’s] operations tomorrow, October 27.” The email further comments that operation plans for tomorrow will be finalized by 5 am October 27.

Until further notice, UNE requires UNE ID cards to access all buildings. Furthermore, “the Office of Safety and Security will have additional patrols on both campuses today,” Herbert stated in his email.

UPDATE. At 4:46 am, October 27th, President Herbert emailed the UNE community, stating that “At this time, based on the information available and through close consultation with local law enforcement, we have no reason to believe that there is an elevated risk to the Biddeford or Portland communities where our campuses are located. Given the current state of the investigation, we have therefore made the decision to resume classes and normal University operations, including athletics activities.” 

Student’s online response to resuming classes has been solely negative. Despite student concerns, “additional security” will be on both campuses, and exceptions have been made for members directly impacted by the shootings.

Response from the community 

Professor Susan McHugh, who lives in the Lewiston area, commented in an email that “no one deserves to live in fear, we all should join in solidarity against violence, all the time, in all contexts. Be intolerant of intolerance. I ask you please to remember how you feel in this moment, and in all of the others before and in all the next ones, coming all too predictably.”

Students on the UNE campus have been anonymously discussing the Lewiston shooting via the app YikYak, using it as a source of information and solace during this horrific incident. Posts include comments such as “wanting to go home but not being able to because my hometown is so close to Lisbon hurts” and “shoutout to the dining hall staff who came in today! We appreciate you all.”

Student commentary on YikYak

As the day progresses, social media commentary, particularly YikYak, continues to grow frantic and angry. Students have begun to criticize professors for assigning additional work in lieu of classes today, some even stating that this disregard for the situation makes them “heartbroken and angry.” 

Others have begun to share their worries for loved ones, “I have no energy to do my homework. my friend from central Maine hasn’t reached out to me, and I’m starting to worry.” 

“I can’t focus on anything other than wanting to hug my boyfriend, who goes to Bates. They’re still in shelter in place, and I can’t see him,” posted another anonymous student. 

One chillingly accurate post has quickly begun to gain popularity on YikYak: “I’ve always watched these other mass shootings happen in other states, and now I’m actually involved in one, and that’s crazy to me. You never think it could happen to you until it does.”

Speaking broadly, students have also begun to post and comment on YikYak about the short-term and long-term ramifications of this situation. Discussing gun violence in America, as well as calling for peers to cancel Halloween events as it feels “tone-deaf and unsafe” to celebrate while others mourn those who have been hurt. 

Reporter Emily Hedegard conducted an interview via private DM on YikYak with a College of Arts and Sciences student who wishes to remain anonymous. The student, who claims to have previously been involved in or “around” three other mass killings, had this to say: “I would like people to know that this isn’t something that just goes away, when these people do these heinous acts, it changes your life forever. When people say ‘thoughts and prayers’ it’s like a slap in the face, words aren’t enough to stop these tragedies from happening; action also needs to be taken. I want to say that I hope those impacted by this take as much time as they need to grieve and reach out to friends [and family]—they are here for you.”


UNE’s on-call counseling service is available to students 24/7 and can be reached by calling (207) 602-2549 and pressing 6. Faculty and professional staff can find support through the Employee Assistance Program:   

An additional list of resources, specifically for Maine, can be found at Other resources available include the National Mental Health Hotline, a free and confidential service offered 24/7.

Report any tips or suspicious activity to authorities. You may visit  to report criminal activity anonymously. Residents with any information are encouraged to contact the Maine State Police at (207) 213-9526,  or for an emergency, call 911. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Nor'easter News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *