According to an officer report issued by the sheriff’s office, deputies attempted repeated wellness checks on Robert Card, Maine’s mass shooter, in September.
A friend of Card’s expressed concern to the commanding officer of his military unit that Card might “snap and commit a mass shooting,” prompting the unit to request a wellness check from the Sheriff’s Department. Card’s brother Ryan, whom the police officer spoke with on September 15 and 16, said he would remove his brother’s firearms and “use his judgment” to see if Card required “an examination.”
Officer Aaron Skofield, who attempted to do the wellness check on Card, said in the report, “I indicated to Capt. Reamer that I tried contacting Card, but he did not answer the door.” Captain Reamer said that Card had demonstrated this behavior in the past. He’ll retreat into seclusion for a while, then emerge later. He decided it was better to give Card some space for the time being.
An incident report states that Card’s ex-wife spoke to police in May, expressing worry that Card posed a danger to himself or others. She noted that Card had between 10 and 15 firearms in his trailer, was experiencing “deteriorating mental health,” was hearing voices, was extremely paranoid, and constantly answered his front door with a firearm in his hand.
Card’s access to weapons on post was revoked in September, and an officer report from that month indicated that the Army Reserve was planning to ask Card to retire from the military and seek professional help. Card’s father and brother advised officers that the guns had been taken from Card and were being stored in a safe in the family’s home, so they decided against “forcing contact with Card.”
The sheriff’s department issued a notice on Sept. 15 to officers around the county urging them to be cautious when engaging with Card because of his mental health concerns, but rescinded the advisory on Oct. 18. Card then killed 18 and injured 13 more at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, a week later, before killing himself.
Sheriff Joel Merry said, “We think that our department acted lawfully and followed regulations” when trying to find and check the person’s health.