A massive manhunt is currently underway in Maine for the gunman who killed 22 people in two mass shooting incidents, with the police asking residents of Lewiston, the second largest city in the US state, to shelter in place.
There were two active shooting incidents on Wednesday evening in the city — at Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley on Mollison Way, and Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant on Lincoln Street, according to the Lewiston Police Department.
The two locations are at a distance of 6.5 km from each other.
State officials said the shootings began at 6.56 p.m., CNN reported
In a statement late Wednesday night, the Lewiston Police Department said the 40-year-old person of interest Robert Card, who is currently absconding, should be “considered armed and dangerous”.
“Law Enforcement is attempting to locate Robert Card 4/4/1983, as a person of interest regarding the mass shooting at Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation this evening. CARD should be considered armed and dangerous. Please contact law enforcement if you are aware of his whereabouts,” the statement added.
As of Thursday, hundreds of officers continue to search for Card, a trained firearms instructor and member of the US Army Reserves, Xinhua news agency reported citing authorities as saying.
Law enforcement officials said Card “recently reported mental health issues”.
The Central Maine Medical Center had also confirmed of reacting to a “mass casualty, mass shooter event” and is coordinating with other hospitals in the area to treat the injured.
Although the number of injured persons was not immediately clear, but reports have suggested that at least 50 to 60 people were hurt.
The shelter-in-place order remained for Lewiston and now is also in place for Lisbon, which is around 7 miles southeast of the city, Michael Sauschuck, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, told reporters.
Police also shared a photo of a white vehicle, saying its front bumper was believed to be painted black, and asked anybody who recognised it to contact police.
Sauschuck said that a “vehicle of interest” was found in Lisbon but the person of interest remains at large.
Lewiston Public Schools Superintendent Jake Langlais has announced that schools will remain closed on Thursday.
The White House said President Joe Biden has been informed of the incident, adding that he spoke on the phone with a number of Maine lawmakers in the wake of the mass shootings, reports CNN.
“The President spoke by phone individually to Maine Governor Janet Mills, Senators Angus King and Susan Collins, and Congressman Jared Golden about the shooting in Lewiston, Maine and offered full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack,” it added.
Lewiston is a city of about 38,000 people located about 35 miles north of Portland, Maine.