Just-In-Time Recreation owner Justin Juray, right, embraces building manager Wayne Storman shortly after President Biden visited the Lewiston business Nov. 3, where numerous staff and patrons of the business were killed Oct. 25. “We are going to get through this. We have to be better and not let him win. Our community is still here,” Juray said while walking back to his vehicle. He indicated that he will eventually reopen the business. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — A shattered community has begun to heal in the month that has passed since 18 people were killed in a mass shooting at a bowling alley and a restaurant in Lewiston.

This week brought two clear examples of recovery in the wake of the Oct. 25 shooting spree. The youngest of 13 wounded survivors returned to school after nearly a month of hospitalization. And on Wednesday, one of the heroes who saved many lives at Just-In-Time Recreation the night of the shooting returned for the first time.

During “that night of absolute horror and chaos,” one of the bowling alley owners said this week, manager Thomas Giberti recognized what was happening and immediately rushed to help children in a bowling league escape.

Giberti’s nephew, Will Bourgault, said his uncle was hit in his legs by gunshots after he managed to get the children through a back door. Despite his injuries, Bourgault said, Giberti managed to crawl out and shut the door behind him.

Justin Juray, who owns the alley along with his wife, said in a social media post that Giberti wound up with four bullets hitting one leg and three in the other. Fortunately, doctors were able to patch him up.

The day before Thanksgiving, Juray said, “This hero WALKED into the bowling center.”


“I haven’t felt so much joy in over a month,” he said, adding, “We love you, Tom. You make the world a better place.”

On Monday, 16-year-old Gavin Robitaille, recently discharged from a Boston hospital that treated his wounds, returned to Edward Little High School for the first time since the sophomore’s arm was shattered by gunfire. He is slated for a follow-up surgery on Monday.

While signs of hope help, it remains true that Lewiston, and the grieving community that extends well beyond the city’s boundaries, have a long road ahead.

Lewiston shooting survivor Gavin Robitaille at Massachusetts General Hospital. Robitaille was recently released from the hospital. Courtesy Massachusetts General Hospital

Both shooting sites, Schemengees Bar & Grille restaurant on Lincoln Street and the bowling alley on Mollison Way, are dark and shuttered. It isn’t clear when they might reopen, if they ever do.

The owners of the bowling alley told a television station this week they intend to be back in business again.

In the first days after the shooting spree, Juray told NewsCenter Maine, he “didn’t think I could set foot in here again” after witnessing the gunman shoot at patrons he viewed as friends and family.


But, Juray said, he’s heard from many people urging him to open the doors once more — and not let the killer have the last word on the venue’s fate.

“He can’t win. He doesn’t win,” Juray said they’ve told him. He said that he and his wife, Samantha Juray, have decided they should listen. But their plans are still up in the air.

Schemengees’ owner hasn’t indicated what its fate may be.

The city of Auburn, which lost two residents in the shooting, said this week it will mark the day “we will never, ever forget” by honoring the 18 “beautiful souls” lost to gunfire a month ago.

It plans to toll the bells of St. Louis Church, now placed in Auburn’s Anniversary Park, at 7 p.m. each Wednesday for 18 weeks. The bells will ring 18 times each day, a city notice said.

If you hear them, the city notice said, “we encourage you to pause, to remember, and to honor the fallen.”

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