The family of Robert Card—who is suspected of killing 18 people in double mass shootings in Maine on Wednesday night—say the Army reservist had previously claimed he was hearing voices at the two locations he allegedly attacked.
In the aftermath of the carnage, Katie Card, who is married to Card’s brother, told The Daily Beast that their family has been messaging her brother-in-law and urging him to surrender to authorities.
“I have known Rob my whole life,” Card said on Thursday. “He is quiet but the most loving, hardworking, and kind person that I know. But in the past year, he had an acute episode of mental health, and it’s been a struggle.”
She said that Robert Card recently began wearing powerful hearing aids to combat hearing loss. Since then, Card said her brother-in-law has been insisting to his family that he can hear people bashing him—including at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar and Grill, where he’s accused of gunning down 18 people on Wednesday night.
“He truly believed he was hearing people say things,” she added. “This all just happened within the last few months.”
The bloody rampage began around 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley in Lewiston. Another shooting was then reported around four miles away at the Schemengees Bar & Grille.
Police confirmed on Thursday morning that 18 people were killed and another 13 injured, including kids who were participating in a bowling league.
At a Thursday morning press briefing, officials would not discuss why Robert Card may have targeted the bowling alley and bar.
“That does speak to motive so [it’s] not something we’re going to be prepared to answer today,” Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said.
Katie Card said her brother-in-law would “get mad” when they told him the voices were just in his head. His mental health issues resulted in a weeks-long stay at a facility over the summer, she said.
“Things have kind of gone downhill recently,” Card told the Beast.
“We tried to listen to him and tell him that nobody was talking about him,” she added. “Yesterday, as the story was unfolding, we prayed that Rob had nothing to do with this. But when we heard the two places where the shooting happened, my husband rushed home.”
Katie Card, who is currently with the rest of the family as they wait for news, added that she has been texting her brother-in-law since the shooting, hoping he reads her messages.
Several media outlets have shared a Maine Information and Analysis Center bulletin that describes Robert Card as a trained firearms instructor in the Army Reserve. Service records reviewed by CNN confirm that Robert Card was a petroleum supply specialist in the Army. The records say that he was enlisted in December 2022, had no combat deployments, and received several military awards.
The Maine bulletin also said that, according to authorities, Robert Card “recently reported mental health issues,” which allegedly included “hearing voices and threats to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco, ME.” The Daily Beast has not independently verified the bulletin, which also said he was committed over the summer and then released.
CNN also reported Wednesday that Card recently lost his job at a recycling center. Katie Card told The Daily Beast that her brother-in-law is currently unemployed and that he previously worked at a distribution center and was a long-haul truck driver.
Now, as authorities continue to search for the alleged gunman, his family is begging for the 40-year-old father to turn himself in. The Lewiston Police Department released an image of Card on Wednesday night and said he “should be considered armed and dangerous.” An arrest warrant for him was issued on Thursday on eight counts of murder.
Katie Card insisted that her brother-in-law is probably just “scared.”
“We know he is out there and he is a good person in his heart,” she said. “After all of this, when he has time to reflect, he will be disgusted. We all want him to know that we love him and that we can handle things as a family.”
“He just has to reach out and do the right thing.”