Capt. Jeremy Reamer of the Army Reserve unit in Saco testifies before the Lewiston Commission in Augusta on Thursday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

AUGUSTA — Within hours of Robert Card being admitted to a psychiatric hospital last summer, doctors told his Army Reserve commanders that he should not be around guns given his paranoid and aggressive behavior.

In the following weeks, they said Capt. Jeremy Reamer should take steps to ensure Card did not have access to his large collection of firearms, and he should make sure Card attended his follow-up medical appointments.

Reamer did neither.

During a tense public hearing Thursday, Reamer told the commission investigating the Lewiston shooting that he should have done more to follow up with Card’s medical providers in the months before Card killed 18 people on Oct. 25. But he continued to lay blame on the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office – and on Card himself.

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it,” said Reamer, who is also a police officer in Nashua, New Hampshire. “Ultimately, his mental health comes down to him.”

While most previous commission meetings have focused on one specific aspect of the Lewiston shooting, Thursday’s hearing shifted from Reamer facing difficult questions about his actions to victims of the state’s deadliest mass shooting sharing their stories, frustrations and views on Maine’s gun laws.


And former chief medical examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum shared a new revelation about why it took so long for families to find out their loved ones had died: his office knew who the victims were on Oct. 25, but Maine State Police asked that they not share that information.

“State police specifically told us to forward all those calls to them,” he said. “I do not know what their reasoning was.”


Reamer, who already spoke to the commission last month, was called back after members had time to review Card’s medical records, Army documents, call logs and email exchanges. 

Commission member Toby Dilworth, a former assistant U.S. attorney, led an aggressive cross examination that showed all the ways those documents appeared to contradict Reamer’s account of what the unit knew about Card.

Reamer has said that he was largely left in the dark by Card’s medical providers during and after his two-week stay in a New York psychiatric hospital last summer. But records cited by the commission – which haven’t been released to the public – painted a different picture. One report said that Reamer learned that Card was experiencing psychosis the very day he checked into Keller Army hospital in July.


One form said that Card’s commanding officers should make sure the soldier was attending his follow-up medical appointments and should take steps to make sure he did not have access to weapons at home.

Former assistant U.S. Attorney Toby Dilworth, a member of the Lewiston Commission, questions Capt. Jeremy Reamer on Thursday in Augusta about the steps Reamer took and didn’t take leading up to Robert Card’s deadly shooting in Lewiston last October. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

An email from July 20 suggests Reamer spoke with a hospital case manager that day and included a form that was also sent to Card ordering him to attend counseling sessions, to provide medical documents to staff working on his case and to regularly update his command staff about the status of his mental health review.

But Reamer said he did not actually read the form until after the shooting because his email system was down during the summer. He never reached out to check in on Card, despite receiving several messages saying Card was not cooperating with his treatment.

Much of the three hours Reamer spent in front of the commission were devoted to the lack of action he took to secure Card’s guns. He deflected blame and said his team didn’t take steps to remove Card’s personal weapons because his friend in the unit was already working with Card’s family to lock up the guns.

When pressed about the weakness of this plan (Card still had a legal right to the weapons and could take them back at any time), Reamer said the Army has no jurisdiction over its soldiers when they weren’t on duty, so there wasn’t any more he could have done. That responsibility fell to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, which had been told about Card’s threats.

“I was just expecting them to do their job,” he said.


He pushed back against several commission members who asked whether he thought he had downplayed the seriousness of the risk Card posed by questioning the credibility of the friend who had reported Card’s threats and by telling Sagadahoc County Sgt. Aaron Skolfield that the Army did not want police to force a confrontation but merely to “document” their visit to Card.

Capt. Jeremy Reamer, center, of the Army Reserve in Saco, sits before the Lewiston Commission taking questions on Thursday in Augusta about the steps he took and didn’t take leading up to Robert Card’s deadly shooting rampage. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Arthur Barnard, whose son Artie Strout was killed at Schemengees Bar & Grille, told the commission Thursday afternoon that he understood they needed to determine whether individuals like Reamer or Skolfield had made mistakes in their handling of Card. But he said that should not distract from the weak gun laws that would have made it easy for Card to buy a new gun even if police had confiscated his weapons.

“It’s ludicrous that we register everything in our lives except the second most deadly thing in this country next to fentanyl,” he said. “And no one cares. Or no one seems to. I don’t know what else to say.”


Flomenbaum, who retired at the end of last year, said via Zoom that while it’s standard practice for the medical examiner’s office to inform next of kin about deaths, the state police took over that responsibility following the shooting and told Flomenbaum’s team not to answer questions.

Families have told the commission that they were frustrated that officials would not answer questions about their loved ones’ deaths on the night of the shooting, some said it took as long as 17 hours to confirm their deaths.


Amanda Eisenhart, an ASL interpreter, told the commission Thursday that it took three hours for interpreters to arrive in Lewiston, when it only should have taken one. Four deaf people were killed and five others were injured in the rampage. When an ASL interpreter did make it to Central Maine Medical Center, a security guard refused to let them in the door because the building was locked down.

“Deaf people are chronically overlooked in public policy, procedure and public safety practice,” Eisenhart said. “To assume that deaf people are not present in spaces is to continue to practice the social erasure of deaf lives.”

Much of Flomenbaum’s testimony centered on Card’s autopsy and the time of death estimate that was released in November that said Card likely died eight to 12 hours before his body was found on the evening of Oct. 27 – which means he waited at least 36 hours after fleeing Schemengee’s Bar & Grille to fatally shoot himself.

Dr. Mark Flomenbaum, the retired Maine medical examiner, testifies via Zoom on Thursday in front of the commission investigating the Lewiston mass shooting. Screenshot from commission meeting

That timeframe was not included on the final autopsy report, which was obtained by the New York Times and shared with the Press Herald last week.

Experts in forensic pathology said that estimating time of death with any confidence is difficult or impossible and that Card could have died at least 24 hours before he was found.

When asked about those opinions, Flomenbaum told the commission he agreed that it was possible Card died well before the range indicated by his rough estimate.


“Biologically, there’s always a huge range,” he said. “In his case, it was more complicated than normal because of the way that he died.”


Several victims offered emotional testimony about the night Card began firing and the many difficult days since as they have tried to negotiate loss, post-traumatic stress disorder and a frustrating lack of communication from state officials.

Jamie Jordan said she and her three kids were at Just-In-Time when Card arrived. Just minutes after talking and laughing with friends, some of whom never made it out of the bowling alley, Jordan said she was ducking for cover and trying in vain to shield her son’s eyes from the haunting sights around them.

Jamie Jordan, seated next to her daughter, wipes away tears while providing witness testimony to the Lewiston Commission on Thursday. The Jordans were at Just-in-Time Recreation in Lewiston when Robert Card opened fire on the crowd inside in October. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

She said that she and other survivors have felt like “forgotten victims,” and that it’s been difficult to learn about the investigation and often find resources for survivors through friends or social media, instead of from officials.

Dylan Harvey, a part-time employee at the bowling alley who sprained his ankle while trying to help wounded victims get to safety, said he has not been able to return to work because his PTSD prevents him from even getting out of his car in the bowling alley parking lot.

But because he elected not to go to the hospital on the night of the shooting, he said he only received only a tiny slice of the state funds set aside for shooting victims and their families. He said he believes he’s been denied insurance money that he’s entitled to, but he’s unwilling to fight insurers because he cannot yet relive the trauma. As a result, he and his wife have had to rely on the generosity of others to pay their bills.

“There’s a lot of falling through the cracks,” Harvey said. “Everyone says to focus on healing. I can’t. I have all these things that I have to do.”

A separate commission meeting scheduled last week was canceled after a powerful nor’easter hit the state. That meeting, which would have included more testimony from Maine State Police leaders and the director of victim witness services, has yet to be rescheduled.

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