Gov. Janet Mills refused to answer numerous questions Monday afternoon about the investigation into the Lewiston shooting and reports that police officials had been notified of the suspect’s mental health crisis months before he shot and killed 18 people and injured 13 others.

Mills acknowledged that an important part of the state’s response in the coming weeks “will be to understand exactly what happened and ask ourselves what changes are needed to fully protect the safety of Maine people.”

But she talked little about the police investigation into Robert Card, 40, who was found dead Friday, and deferred all of those questions to Maine State Police. She said police are continuing a “thorough investigation to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding these attacks.”

She abruptly ended the press conference after reporters continued to press her about reports that some police agencies in Maine had been told Card might be experiencing a mental health crisis months before the Lewiston shootings.

Mills walked off as reporters continued to press her for answers and about the lack of transparency.


Speaking at the State House on Monday afternoon, Mills indicated she is open to changing state or federal gun laws, but did not say exactly what she would want those changes to look like.

“I believe action is needed, what that action will be must be the product of a broad discussion among a diverse group of voices,” Mills said. “As we begin to travel down the long and difficult road of recovery, make no mistake I believe the people of Maine deserve a serious and robust conversation about gun violence and public safety at the state and fed levels in the coming weeks,” Mills said.

On reconsidering her past opposition to certain gun safety laws, Mills said: “I think I have been clear. I actually have helped draft some pretty significant gun legislation. We are going to be a part of the remedy. We are going to sit down and listen to all points of view on how we can best protect Maine’s people.”

Maine Gov. Janet Mills, at lectern, fields questions from reporters during a press conference at the State House in Augusta on Monday. With Mills, from left, are state Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew, state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson and American Sign Language interpreter Alicia McClurkan. Mills abruptly ended the press conference after declining to answer several questions about the investigation into the mass shootings last week in Lewiston and reports that police officials had been notified weeks earlier about a mental health crisis the suspect in the shootings was having. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The Sportsman Alliance of Maine, an influential group representing Maine hunters and gun owners, noted during Mills’ run for reelection in 2022 that Mills did not support any “extreme, controversial gun control bills.”

She supported Maine’s “yellow flag” law, which was passed in 2019 and allows police to confiscate guns from someone who is deemed a threat to themselves or others under certain conditions, including a requirement it be based on a medical professional’s recommendation.

Mills tried to focus the press briefing on the steps her administration is taking to provide support and relief to victims and anyone else who might need it.


She highlighted the Family Assistance Center, set up in partnership with the American Red Cross, FBI and Office of the Maine Attorney General, at 65 Central Ave. in Lewiston, where victims and families can access counseling services and financial aid. The Ramada Inn at 490 Pleasant St. is housing the Mental Health Assistance Center to provide mental health services to the members of the broader community in Lewiston.

Webpages have also been set up by officials where people can access resources and make donations to help the people of Lewiston, who are still reeling from the tragic events that transpired a few days ago.

In the coming weeks, federal teams, in partnership with the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, will be arriving in Maine to support first responders, healthcare workers, veterans and victims in need of compensation. The state Department of Health and Human Services is planning to launch an online form to request behavioral health services.

Small businesses that were affected by the shelter-in-place closures over the last few days can also expect assistance from the Small Business Administration and the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which are working with the Department of Economic & Community Development to identify potential avenues of relief.

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