APTOPIX Maine Shooting

A body is wheeled out on a stretcher at Schemengees Bar and Grille in Lewiston Thursday morning. The restaurant was the site of one of two mass shootings Wednesday night. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

LEWISTON — It was a grim scene Thursday morning as vehicles from a funeral home were at Schemengees Bar & Grille apparently taking away bodies of victims killed in a mass shooting the night before.

Police confirmed later in the morning that eight people had been killed at the popular bar. In total, 18 people were killed in the rampage, which occurred Wednesday night at the Lincoln Street bar and a few miles away at a bowling alley on Mollison Way. Another 13 people were injured. Police are still searching for the suspect, Robert Card of Bowdoin, who played cornhole at Schemengees.

Nick Wilson, one of the founders of Maine Event Cornhole, said Card was a member of the cornhole club at Schemengees and an active player.

Players’ information on the app “scoreholio” has since been deleted, but until Thursday morning Card’s profile showed he was actively playing with Schemengees as his home base about seven months ago.

Wednesday was “industry night” at the bar, a special event where discounts are offered for people who work in the restaurant and bar industry. Schemengees is known as a gathering spot to shoot pool, grab a drink and a bite and maybe dabble in a round or two of cornhole or darts.

It was also corn-hole league night Wednesday and a family member, Amanda Spear, niece of owner Kathy Lebel, said Schemengees was busy. Another relative said as he was driving by on the way home just after 7 p.m. he saw the bar’s parking lot full of cars with more lining the edge of Lincoln Street, where the popular bar is located.


Just a few miles away, the bowling alley at Mollison Way was also busy, according to employee accounts. Just-In-Time Recreation, long known as Sparetime Recreation until an ownership change in 2021, hosts bowling leagues, holds events for kids and adults and is deeply involved with the community.

Police say another seven people were killed there.

Law enforcement officials remain on the scene Thursday morning at Just-In-Time Recreation in Lewiston after a mass shooting Wednesday night. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Justin and Samantha Juray of Sabattus bought the bowling alley in April 2021 from longtime owner Andy Couture, renaming it Just-In-Time Recreation. The bowling alley reopened in August 2021 after renovations that included adding a bar, expanding the kitchen and adding a sit-down dining room, as well as updating the bathrooms.

The facility sits on the site of the former Lewiston fairgrounds and raceway, which closed and then was redeveloped as Fairgrounds Business Park, a commercial center for the city. Some of the city’s most significant employers were located there, including TD Bank, Carbonite, several health care providers and multiple state offices.

Schemengees owners Kathy and David Lebel also own Station Grill Restaurant just a mile and a half away from Schemengees on Lincoln Street. Kathy Lebel was at Central Maine Medical Center hours after the shooting, worried about her employees and patrons, as family and friends of victims waited outside for any word from hospital staff.

Shanna Cox, president and CEO of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, said both businesses are strong members of the area’s tight-knit business community.


“Our thoughts are with the employees, owners, and operators of both Schmengees and Just-In-Time, and all folks connected with the hospitality sector,” said Cox. “So many employees were locked in or sent home last night, unprepared for these events. Both businesses are strong parts of our community, and our colleagues and friends are patrons and league players.

“Just-In-Time was bought and named for owners who stepped in to save a legacy Lewiston business — Sparetime Recreation — and our thoughts are with them and their employees,” she said. “They are beloved community members and deeply impacted.”

The bowling alley has a history of hosting fundraisers for local charities, including a recent one for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid Maine.

Cox acknowledged that in a small city like Lewiston, it’s likely everyone has a connection to someone deeply affected by the shooting.

“As the lockdown continues, other small business owners are also being impacted by limited revenues. The potential for a ripple effect throughout our local economy — both as a direct result of these events and the likely lingering stigma they will leave behind — will be hard to quantify but easy to feel,” she said. “We have seen this region resilient in the face of tragedy before, and I am confident in our ability to collectively respond.”

The businesses were buoyed by support from across the globe. Condolences and notes of support on Schemengees’ Facebook page came from Idaho, South Carolina, Texas, Oregon, Oklahoma, Boston, even Germany, the UK and Canada. By 7 a.m. Thursday morning, there were more than 900 comments.

Judi Grounds posted: “Sending constant prayer to everyone in Lewiston from Richmond, Virginia — I have loved ones in Lewiston also. I am so very very sorry for this event.”


Jeremy Brewer offered: “My family sends their thoughts and prayers to everyone in that community! I have some friends and acquaintances that play in the cornhole league down there. Haven’t heard from them. Praying for their families.”

Elly Simmons offered her sympathy from the West Coast: “As a bar owner in San Francisco I send you lots of support and hope your place makes it through this awful experience.”

Just-In-Time Recreation’s Facebook page was similarly swamped with hundreds of messages, especially from the bowling community.

Jeff Johnson posted this message: “You, your staff, and your customers are in all of our thoughts. The bowling community is strong and we all will fight through this.”

Heather and Derek Unique offered their thoughts: “Praying from NC, from one bowler to another. My family and I eat, sleep and breathe bowling. Leagues, Federation and UBA. So incredibly sad.”

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