Home A project of States Newsroom
Brief
Maine delegation sends another letter pushing for Army investigation into Lewiston shooter

Share

Maine delegation sends another letter pushing for Army investigation into Lewiston shooter

Dec 08, 2023 | 3:39 pm ET
By Lauren McCauley
Share
Maine delegation sends another letter pushing for Army investigation into Lewiston shooter
Description
Sen. Susan Collins shared details about each of the 18 victims of the Lewiston mass shooting in a speech on the U.S. Senate floor. (screenshot via Sen. King)

One day after meeting with families of victims and one survivor of the Lewiston shooting, Maine’s congressional delegation sent a second letter to the Inspector General of the U.S. Army calling for a comprehensive review of the facts and events leading up to the October 25 mass shooting.

“We believe it is imperative that you, as the Inspector General of the Army, conduct an investigation separate from the ongoing administrative review conducted pursuant to the Army’s Suicide Prevention Program regulations. This tragedy warrants a much broader, independent inquiry,” wrote independent Sen. Angus King, Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden to Lieutenant General Donna W. Martin.

Pushing for information and accountability, Lewiston families and survivors go to Washington

“We must work to fully understand what happened—and what could have been done differently that might have prevented the Lewiston shooting—on the local, state, and federal levels,” the letter continues. “We must also give the American people confidence that the investigation is comprehensive and unbiased.”

The letter follows one sent Nov. 2 from Collins and King to Martin calling for an investigation to better understand “what occurred, or failed to occur, at the federal level, including within the Department of the Army.”

Frustrated by the lack of action so far, families of shooting victims travelled to D.C. to impress the importance of an independent, impartial investigation into the U.S. Army’s knowledge and handling of shooter Robert Card.

“The reason the investigation is so important is because, in this case, the red flags and warning signs were primarily known to the Army and Army Reserves,” explained Travis Brennan, an attorney with Berman & Simmons representing a number of the families and victims. At a press conference Thursday, Brennan pointed to findings that Card had been committed to a psychiatric facility in New York, threatened to shoot up a military base in Saco, and that the military determined that he should not have access to firearms.

“Yet after that event,” Brennan said, Card returned to Maine “and was allowed to continue to possess firearms and maybe purchase firearms, which should not have happened.”

One of the questions they want answered, he said, is “if he was too dangerous and posed a threat to the military base, what obligations do they have to protect the community?”

In a statement submitted to attorneys Travis Brennan of Berman & Simmons and Ben Gideon of Gideon Asen the victims’ families and one survivor thanked the delegation for listening to their request.

“The families are deeply appreciative of the commitment shown by each member of Maine’s delegation to better understand all of the facts surrounding the lead up to the October 25 mass shooting and to identifying any breakdowns or systems failures that enabled a member of the Army Reserve with a well known history of mental health problems and an expressed intent to commit mass violence to remain at large and in the possession of the assault weapons used to carry out these terrible acts of violence in the Lewiston community,” they said.

When asked by reporters after meeting with families Thursday how confident he is that the investigation will happen, King replied: “It’s going to happen. I’m on the Armed Services Committee. They’ll respond.”

Editor’s note: This story was update to include the response from the families and survivor.