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Documents reveal the horrors of Maine’s deadliest mass shooting

Thousands of pages of Maine Department of Public Safety documents released Friday detail the chaos and carnage surrounding the state’s deadliest mass shooting.

Officers arrived at the two shooting scenes in Lewiston last October, not knowing if the shooter was still there, and with living and dead victims on the floors. One officer described desperate survivors screaming for help as he searched for the shooter.

“They are grabbing our legs and trying to stop us, but we can’t help them,” wrote Lewiston Officer Keith Caoueutte. “We have to walk by and continue the search and hope they are still alive when we get back.”

Another police officer’s first instinct was that an act of domestic terrorism had been committed, underscored by the heavy police presence and flashing blue lights. “I really felt like we were at war,” wrote Auburn Lt. Steven Gosselin.

Their descriptions of the scenes at a bowling alley and a bar and grill where 18 people were killed and 13 others injured are included in more than 3,000 pages of documents released Friday by the Maine Department of Public Safety in response to requests from the Freedom of Access Act of the US State Security Service. Associated Press and other news organizations.

Associated Press reporters had viewed more than a third of the pages before the website containing the documents crashed late Friday afternoon. State officials said documents will be made available again on Monday.

Among the details in the report were words from a note left by the shooter, 40-year-old Army Reservist Robert Card, who wrote that he “just wanted to leave the (expletive) alone,” according to the Portland Press Herald . reported. The note also contained his phone password and the passwords needed to access his various accounts.

The gunman’s family and fellow Army reservists reported that he suffered a mental breakdown in the months leading up to the shooting on October 25, 2023. In the aftermath, the Legislature passed new gun laws for Maine that reinforced the state’s “yellow flag” . law, criminalized the transfer of weapons to prohibited people and expanded funding for mental health crisis care.

Card’s body was found two days after the shooting in the back of a tractor-trailer on the property of his former employer in nearby Lisbon. An autopsy revealed that he had died by suicide.

Ramer reported from Concord, New Hampshire. Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc contributed from Boston.

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