Officers in tactical gear are seen heading out from the Lewiston Police Department on Oct. 25 night following reports of shootings in multiple locations. Russ Dillingham / Sun Journal

Brunswick police played an integral role in the law enforcement response to the Lewiston mass shooting last month, with officers logging hundreds of hours in the manhunt for the shooter.

Police Chief Scott Stewart told the Town Council Monday night Brunswick officers spent 565 hours responding to the shooting and searching for the shooter, 40-year-old Robert Card of Bowdoin. Police said Card killed 18 people, including men from Brunswick and Bath, and injured 13 more when he burst into Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar & Grille on Oct. 25 and opened fire. He was found dead two days later in a Lisbon parking lot of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Stewart said his department frequently trains for mass shootings and instructs other departments on best practices.

“Sadly, we all expected this would happen sometime in Maine,” he said. “We’ve been training for this for years.”

The department’s Special Response Team was dispatched to the shooting scenes and its drone unit helped search for Card, according to Stewart.

“They asked, ‘Send all you have,'” Stewart recalled hearing from police commanders in Lewiston.


Stewart said additional Brunswick officers were stationed at Mid Coast Hospital as a precaution.

“We didn’t know where this person was, if he was going to come back and cause more harm at the hospital,” Stewart said. “We had no information that led us to believe Brunswick was an area we needed to focus on, but that could have changed with one phone call.”

Unlike Midcoast communities like Bowdoin, Bowdoinham and Lisbon, Brunswick was not the subject of a shelter-in-place order, though schools, government offices and many businesses were closed. Bowdoin College canceled classes and campus officials placed the school on “lockout” status, meaning all exterior building doors were locked.

Stewart said he worked until 3:30 a.m. the first night of the search and recalled the uneasy feeling knowing Card’s home and the site where he ditched his vehicle were just a few miles from his own home.

“I do this for a living,” he said. “I can’t imagine what someone who doesn’t do this for a living must have felt.”

Stewart said Brunswick officers helped investigate the more than 800 tips that police received during the search for Card.


Councilors thanked the police department for its work.

“We thank you and all the officers involved,” council Chairperson James Mason said.

The council provided Stewart with a list of questions about the town’s response to the shooting; one was what could be done at the town level to prevent another mass shooting.

“Sadly, nothing,” Stewart said. “It’s impossible to stop someone from barging in.

“There’s absolutely nothing anyone can do other than lock every place every day.”

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