Kathy Mathieu of Auburn offers a prayer to those killed at Schemengees Bar & Grille while visiting a memorial at the site on Sunday. “To have this happen so close to home is very, very emotional,” she said. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The gunman in the deadly shootings in Lewiston last week had gone through a “bad break-up” and a decline in mental health just before he targeted a bar where he had met his ex, according to police documents.

Robert Card, 40, had distanced himself from his family in the past month and believed four local businesses – Schemengees Bar & Grille,  Just-in-Time Recreation, Gowell’s Market in Litchfield and Mixers Nightclub in Sabattus – were broadcasting online that he was a pedophile.

Card was accused of killing 18 people and injuring 13 more when his body was found in Lisbon on Friday.

Police affidavits that were made public Tuesday afternoon show how law enforcement connected Card with the rampage as they investigated the deadliest shooting in Maine’s history.

Some of the documents are redacted, but they still provide new details about the accused shooter and the manhunt that followed after Card escaped from the bar.

They include applications for warrants to search Card’s property, including his 2013 Subaru Outback, his home on West Road in Bowdoin, where he lived in a white single-wide mobile home, and his phone, a Samsung Galaxy 2022 Ultra.


The warrant for his car and home said police were looking for guns, ammunition, including spent casings, phone and electronics, blood samples, hair, bone fragments and other trace evidence, including latent prints and DNA. They were also looking for any of Card’s personal documents and medications.

Among the people who were interviewed by police the night of the shootings was Card’s sister, who is identified in a police affidavit only by her initials, N.H. In an interview at the Lewiston Police Department, N.H. told police that Card “has been delusional since February 2023 after a bad break-up,” according to an arrest affidavit written by Maine State Police Detective Victoria Lane.

N. H. said that since the break-up, Card “has had significant weight loss, has been hospitalized for mental health issues and prescribed medication that he stopped taking.”

Dan Beazley of Northville, Michigan, holds a 65-pound cross Monday morning in front of Schemengees Bar and Grille on Lincoln Street in Lewiston as Karen Huard of Lisbon pauses after placing a bouquet of flowers alongside dozens of others honoring those killed in a mass shooting at the establishment last week. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


Until Tuesday, little had been known about Card’s possible motive. The new documents lay out clear connections to the two shooting sites.

His sister told police that Card believed the four businesses – Schemengees Bar & Grille,  Just-in-Time Recreation, Gowell’s Market and Mixers Nightclub – were broadcasting online that he was a pedophile.


Card’s brother told officers that Card started to believe specific people were out to get him and had been calling him a pedophile. That included the manager at Schemengees, Joey Walker, who was one of eight people Card killed at the bar last Wednesday.

The brother “tried to tell Robert that (Joey) doesn’t say anything like that,” the affidavit states.

He thought it all started when Card got a hearing aid.

On the night of the shootings, Card’s brother told police that Card had been in a relationship with a person identified only as J.C. and that the two had met at Schemengees during a cornhole tournament. The brother “said that ever since the relationship ended, Robert started wearing hearing aids and had been saying crazy things,” the affidavit said.

The brother told police that Card’s girlfriend had two daughters who Card would take to Schemengees to eat “and that is where the pedophile thing in Robert’s head came from. Robert was there with J.’s two daughters on occasions and felt people were looking at him,” reads an affidavit by Maine State Police officer Blake Conrad.



Card also believed that his family was involved in the conspiracy, the affidavit states.

And it was his family who first identified Card as the suspect police had circulated a picture of entering the bowling alley last Wednesday.  Roughly two and a half hours after the first shooting, the affidavit states N.H. called Lewiston police and identified Card as the shooter.

As police started what would become a 48-hour manhunt, Card’s brother told police he might go to Maine Recycling because Card had an issue with an employee last April. A manager told police they were not aware of any issues Card had with a co-worker.

And that’s exactly where police found his body on Friday, inside a trailer on the company’s overflow parking lot in Lisbon.

Card had worked at Maine Recycling for about a year and a half until he left voluntarily last spring, according to the company.

His brother told police that he’d had little contact with Card for the past month “as he had distanced himself and not responded to his messages, or family going to his residence.”


He and his father tried to help Card as much as they could, but they couldn’t reason with Card.

His brother did get Card to agree for a few months to let him change the code on Card’s gun safe in the garage. But that ended when Card got a key to the safe and was able to access the guns.


Maine Shootings

Crime scene tape still surrounds Schemengees Bar & Grille on Sunday, in Lewiston. Matt York/Associated Press

Card’s family had been so alarmed by his actions that they reached out to local law enforcement to help as early as May.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry Tuesday afternoon described a soul-searching within his department about whether the team could have done anything differently to stop Card before he walked into the bowling alley last week.

On Monday, the sheriff’s office released documents detailing two different warnings the department received about Card’s apparently declining mental health and the risk he posed to the community, one from the family in the spring, and another from his Army Reserves unit in September after Card had been hospitalized for hearing voices and threatening to shoot up the armory.


“We should never be afraid to challenge ourselves. Can we do better? Was there anything we missed? I think there are questions that remain as a result of this tragic case,” Merry said. “And we need to answer those questions.”

Even as Merry said his team is already taking steps to evaluate how it handled the warnings about Card, he suggested wider systemic issues, including the sheriff’s office’s limited manpower and Maine’s weak yellow flag law, may have played a larger role in the failure to apprehend Card than any individual’s mistake.

The sheriff acknowledged that it may seem striking that his office was twice warned about Card – once in May, after his ex-wife and son grew concerned that his growing mental health problems and access to guns could form a dangerous cocktail, and again in September after Card’s Army Reserves unit in Saco warned that he was suffering from psychotic episodes.

Photographs of the mass shooting victims sit on the altar at Holy Family Church in Lewiston on Saturday. The church, part of the Prince of Peace Parish, was open Saturday for prayer and quiet reflection. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald

When he was admitted to an Army hospital in New York in July, that was an involuntary commitment, a military spokesperson told the Boston Globe on Tuesday. Maine State Police have previously said that they had no information that Card was ever forcibly committed to mental health treatment and that’s why he was never on any lists to prevent him from buying a gun.

He said his team followed proper procedures in both instances. And these types of warnings are far more common than the public realizes, Merry said, and rarely do they result in violence; but he said he could not cite a specific number of instances.

While in an ideal world, a senior officer would back up all important decisions about whether to follow up on a welfare check or trust that it’s been properly handled, Merry said in practice there are times when the decision is the responding deputy’s alone.


“We’re all busy. The phone continues to ring,” he said. “Sometimes we’re working on something that’s serious, and we can get called away for something that’s even more serious. That’s just the nature of it.”

And Merry said weaknesses in the state’s yellow flag law made it impossible to implement when deputies made their September visits to Card’s home. The law requires law enforcement officials to bring a subject in for a medical evaluation before weapons can be seized. But police can’t get a warrant to take someone into protective custody for a mental health illness, Merry said. Because deputies could not find Card, they could not get the evaluation they needed.

Stronger red flag laws allow families or law enforcement agencies to directly seek court orders to remove weapons from people deemed to be going through mental health episodes.

Emergency responders fill Lincoln Street last week in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Merry said those laws are useful because they require law enforcement to jump through fewer hoops.

“I think that’s a good conversation to have,” he said, though he stopped short of directly endorsing such a law in Maine.



The police documents were released Tuesday as three people injured in the shootings remain hospitalized at Central Maine Medical Center. A fourth patient, a 16-year-old Edward Little High School student, is at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is expected to need several reconstructive surgeries.

CMMC said Tuesday that two of its three patients are in critical condition and one is stable.

Gov. Janet Mills has invited President Biden to visit Lewiston later this week, though the White House has yet to confirm the visit.

Chief Medical Officer John Alexander gives nurse leader Ann Howe a hug Monday at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. They were working Wednesday when victims of two shootings were brought to the hospital on Main Street. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“We are appreciative of the governor of Maine inviting the president to visit. As you know, when the president visits any state anywhere, there’s a lot of logistics that has to come into play. I don’t have anything to share on a particular date,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

The governor on Tuesday visited the Family Assistance Center in Lewiston that has been set up to help victims and their families access services like mental health counseling, financial aid, spiritual care and legal assistance.

Mills’ office also announced the launch of an online form Tuesday by which communities and organizations can request special behavioral health support, including on-site mental health clinics.


Card was found dead in a trailer at the Maine Recycling Corp. in Lisbon where he used to work on Friday night, about 48 hours after police say he committed the worst mass shootings in Maine history. Police have said he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A 40-year-old U.S. Army reservist, Card was known to local law enforcement, who had received two reports of concerns about his mental health earlier this year. Family members of Card’s told police in May that he was experiencing paranoia and hearing voices, and his Army Reserve unit requested a welfare check in September.

The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office sent a File 6 – an attempt to locate teletype – to other law enforcement agencies as they followed up on the request for a welfare check, but they were not successful in locating Card. A deputy did make contact with Card’s brother, who told the officer he would work to secure any firearms Card had, and the File 6 alert was canceled on Oct. 18, exactly one week before the mass shooting.

On Monday, authorities identified three guns Card had with him at the time of the shootings: an AR-10-style Ruger SFAR rifle that was found in Card’s vehicle, a Smith & Wesson M&P .40 caliber handgun and a Smith & Wesson M&P rifle. The Smith & Wesson guns were found with Card, Department of Public Safety spokesperson Shannon Moss said.

Press Herald staff  Lana Cohen and Sun Journal Audience Engagement Editor Nina Mahaleris contributed to this report. 

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