A helicopter flies above Lewiston on Thursday. Lewiston continued to be under a shelter in place order while law enforcement officials carry out the manhunt for Robert Card, the suspect in the Lewiston mass shooting on Wednesday night. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Spiritual leaders from across Maine and New England came together virtually Thursday evening to lead a prayer vigil for those killed and injured in the mass shooting in Lewiston the day before.

Robert Card, the 40-year-old Bowdoin man sought in the shootings, was still at large. Eighteen people were killed and 13 wounded.

Bishop Thomas Brown of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine in Portland hosted the vigil, which featured Episcopal bishops from New Hampshire and Vermont as well as a bishop for the United Methodist Church and the director of the Maine Council of Churches. Maine Gov. Janet Mills also took part.

Brown said about 480 people registered for the vigil, which was briefly interrupted by a Zoom bomb. Brown asked people to light candles for the shooting victims and their families, first responders, and for those living in fear while authorities continued their search for Card.

“Thank you for your prayers and your efforts to help Mainers attain a level of peace in these troubled times,” said Mills, who was seated in the kitchen of the Blaine House in Augusta.

“We have to lift our hearts in this time of grief,” Mills said. She praised the courage of police and other responders and acknowledged how difficult it was for them to deal with the carnage.


“We’ve called upon our faith to get us through this. I ask for your prayers of peace for the city of Lewiston and the people of Maine,” she said.

Mills, who lived in Lewiston for 15 years, met her husband there, and raised their children in the city,  said the shooting was a “ruthless, violent attack on innocent citizens, just regular people minding their own business. We need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Several spiritual leaders offered prayers during the vigil and urged the country to advocate for changes in gun laws.

“Help us rise above our dread that nothing can be done and grant us the conviction to advocate for change,” said Bishop Robert A. Hirschfeld of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire.

Shannon McVean-Brown from the New Hampshire Episcopal Diocese offered a prayer for victims of gun violence, which she said “has become routine.” In 2023 alone, more than 35,000 Americans have been killed by guns, she said.

“This is a moment that all of us will remember,” Bishop Brown said. But Brown said evil cannot undermine the common good. He urged people to avoid being lured into despair and hopelessness by the shootings.

Brown said that while much of Maine is “heartbroken” by the senseless violence in Lewiston, he believes city and state residents will support one another and heal together.

The Maine Council of Churches issued a statement Thursday calling for an end to gun violence in America.

“As Maine now joins the devastatingly long line of places that have suffered a mass shooting incident, we at the Maine Council of Churches lift our voices with the psalmist to lament, ‘How long, O Lord? How long?’ How long must this scourge of gun violence destroy lives and tear at the fabric of our beloved community?”

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