Police respond to active shooter at bar and bowling alley
- Police still searching for man who opened fire Wednesday at multiple locations in Lewiston, Maine.
- They are urging people to stay off the road, stay in their homes with their doors locked.
- Central Maine Medical Center says staff are "reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event" and co-ordinating with area hospitals to take in patients.
A man opened fire at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night, killing at least 16 people and engulfing the state's second-largest city in chaos.
The gunman remains at large and authorities have ordered residents and business owners to stay inside and off the streets in both Lewiston and the town of Lisbon, located roughly 13 kilometres to the south where a vehicle of interest was found.
Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press dozens of people also have been wounded. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Lewiston police said in an earlier Facebook post they were dealing with an active shooter at both Schemengees Bar and Grille and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley about 6.4 kilometres away.
The Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office released two photos on social media that showed a man walking into an establishment with a weapon raised to his shoulder.
Stay off roads, police warn
"Please stay off the roads to allow emergency responders access to the hospitals," police said.
On its website, Central Maine Medical Center said staff were "reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event" and were co-ordinating with area hospitals to take in patients. The hospital was locked down and police, some armed with rifles, stood by the entrances. Meanwhile, hospitals as far away as Portland, about 56 kilometres to the south, were on alert to potentially receive victims.
Concerned citizens looking for information or any missing relatives are being urged to go to the Auburn Middle School in the nearby community of Auburn, where counsellors will also be on hand. Officials say local schools will be closed on Thursday.
"This is a very fluid situation," Commissioner Mike Sauschuck with Maine's Department of Public Safety told media in an update.
He was unable to confirm the number of casualties, but said there were multiple deaths and more than one shooting scene.
Melinda Small, the owner of Legends Sports Bar and Grill, said her staff immediately locked their doors and moved all 25 customers and employees away from the doors after a customer reported hearing about the shooting at the bowling alley less than a half-kilometre away around 7 p.m. local time.
'My heart is broken for this area'
Soon, the police flooded the road and a police officer eventually escorted everyone out of the building four at a time. Everyone in the bar is safe.
"I am honestly in a state of shock. I am blessed that my team responded quickly and everyone is safe," Small told The Associated Press. "But the same time, my heart is broken for this area and for what everyone is dealing with. I just feel numb."
WATCH | Situation remains active after Maine shootings spur manhunt
At least 16 dead in mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine
2 hours ago
Featured VideoAt least 16 people are dead and dozens more injured after a man opened fire at multiple locations in Lewiston, Maine. Police have identified Robert R. Card as a person of interest and say he is armed and dangerous.
Hundreds of police are currently looking for 40-year-old Robert Card, who has been identified as a person of interest by officials who say he is a firearms instructor with military training. They believe he is armed and dangerous.
The alert for Lewiston was made shortly after 8 p.m. local time. Officials issued an update around 10 p.m. for what they described as a manhunt.
"Avoid the area until authorities give the all-clear," the statement said. "Seek alternative routes to circumvent the area and any disruptions. If already operating in the affected region, adhere to all instructions issued by local officials, including the shelter-in-place order.
"We are encouraging all businesses to lock down and or close while we investigate."
Gov. Janet Mills released a statement echoing those instructions. She said she has been briefed on the situation and will remain in close contact with public safety officials.
President Joe Biden had spoken by phone to Mills and the state's Congress members, offering "full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack," a White House statement said.
Wednesday's death toll was staggering for a state that in 2022 had 29 homicides the entire year.
Lewiston is the second-largest city in Maine, according to its municipal website. It's located about 50 kilometres from the state capital of Augusta.
With files from CBC News
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca