Maine shooting suspect Robert Card’s body was found at a recycling centre after a tip from the owner prompted police to search it for the third time.
Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck held a press conference on Saturday morning to provide new details on the discovery of the suspected shooter’s body following a multi-day manhunt after 18 people were killed and 13 injured in Lewiston.
He revealed that investigators “cleared” the Maine Recycling Corporation’s overflow lot twice before the owner of the plant reached out.
The owner reportedly said “this individual knows the property” and urged authorities to examine the trailers in the overflow lot, Mr Sauschuck said.
The commissioner acknowledged that investigators had failed to check the overflow lot during their two previous searches of the plant during the “very intensive manhunt” that lasted days.
Maine State Police located Card’s body in one of around 60 box trailers on the lot. He is believed to have died by suicide.
Although officials at Saturday morning’s press conference did not clarify Card’s work status at the recycling corporation at the time of the shooting, previous reports claimed that Card had recently been fired.
Two firearms were recovered from the scene and a third firearm — a long gun — was recovered from a white Subaru station wagon, which officials had identified as belonging to Card on Wednesday night. The “vehicle of interest” had been found at a boat landing in Lisbon.
In addition to the recycling corporation owner calling police, Mr Sauschuck also revealed that three family members “positively identified” Card after photos were posted of him wielding what appeared to be an AR-15-style weapon. These weapons were “legally purchased,” police said.
The motive behind Wednesday’s gruesome attacks remains unclear. The public safety commissioner said that a “strong mental health cloud over what happened.”
On Saturday, Mr Sauschuck also alluded to reports that claimed Card, a US army reservist, had received a medical evaluation following military officials’ concern over some erratic behaviour over the summer. Karen Card, the suspect’s sister-in-law, supported these reports, telling The Daily Beast that Card had stayed for weeks at a mental health facility.
Mr Sauschuck, however, said that he had “not seen that Mr Card was forcibly committed for treatment.” This statement perhaps leaves more questions than answers, and changes the conversation around how gun laws could have applied to Card.