NEW YORK — After 18 people were shot and killed by a gunman across multiple locations in Lewiston, Maine, late on Oct. 25, Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland, Maine, is calling for prayers for the victims of the attacks and the law enforcement officials who’ve responded.
“It is with profound sadness that I received the news of the mass shooting in Lewiston,” Deeley said in an Oct. 26 statement. “It is heartbreaking to hear of lives lost and dozens injured and to know of the pain and grief that so many families are experiencing.”
“We pray for all those impacted by this terrible violence, that the Lord may provide them with consolation in the midst of their sorrow,” Deeley continued.
“In this moment of trial and uncertainty, let us raise up our prayers, asking God to give strength to them and to our community now and in the coming days, and we ask him to protect our law enforcement officers as they seek to prevent further harm,” he said.
Deeley also asked for prayers for the hospital personnel and chaplains caring for the injured.
18 people were killed and 13 others were injured in the attacks, according to Maine Governor Janet Mills.
On Oct. 25, at approximately 6:56 p.m., a 911 call was received about a shooting at the Just-In-Time Recreation in Lewiston. Shortly after that, at about 7:08 p.m., multiple 911 calls were received about an active shooter inside of nearby Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant, according to Colonel William Ross of the Maine State Police, who is leading the investigation.
Seven people were killed at the bowling alley, eight people were killed at the restaurant, and three others died after they were transferred to local hospitals, according to Ross. Of the victims who died at the establishments, 14 were male and one was female, Ross said. He did not release the gender of the three victims who died at the hospital, or the ages of the victims.
The suspect is Robert Card, 40, who is still at large and considered armed and dangerous. An arrest warrant for eight counts of murder has been issued for Card, as that is the number of victims who’ve been identified, Ross said, noting that the counts are likely to rise as more victims are identified.
A shelter in place currently exists for Lewiston and surrounding communities Lisbon and Bowdoin while local, state, and federal authorities work to locate Card.
Speaking at a news conference on Oct. 26, Mills called Lewiston a “special place.” Lewiston is about 36 miles north of Portland, and is the state’s second largest city. It has a population of about 40,000 people, and is the home of Bates College.
“It’s a close-knit community with a long history of hard work, of persistence, of faith, of opening its big hearts to people everywhere,” Mills said of Lewiston. “I love this place. Just as I love our whole state with my entire heart. I’m so deeply saddened.”
Mills went on to call it “a dark day for Maine,” and encouraged citizens to comfort one another.
“I know it’s hard for us to think about healing when our hearts are broken, but I want every person in Maine to know that we will heal together. We are strong. We are resilient. We are very caring people, and in the days and weeks ahead we will need to lean on those qualities more than ever before,” Mills said.
In light of the attacks, Mills and President Joe Biden ordered all U.S. flags and all Maine flags be lowered to half-staff immediately for the next five days.
Biden said in an Oct. 26 statement that he and first lady Jill Biden “are praying” for all those affected by attacks, adding that “far too many Americans have now had a family member killed or injured as a result of gun violence. That is not normal, and we cannot accept it.”
Biden went on to urge Republican lawmakers in Congress to help Democrats pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to enact universal background checks, to require safe storage of guns, and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers.”
“This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars — physical and mental — of this latest attack,” Biden said.
Deeley encouraged people to lean on their faith through the difficult time.
“While it may seem impossible to find hope in a time such as this, we can draw hope from our spiritual roots, trusting that a loving God will not abandon us,” Deeley said. “As we pray to him in our various ways, may he strengthen us and show us the way forward during the difficult days that lie ahead.”
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