A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening in a bowling alley and a bar-restaurant in a city in the northeastern United States, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 50, according to authorities who released the photo of a man actively wanted.
These killings took place in Lewiston, the second largest city in the state of Maine, where the population was instructed to remain confined in the face of the danger posed by the man “armed and dangerous” and still on the run, according to the police.
“We have 22 confirmed deaths and many, many injured,” Robert McCarthy, elected official from Lewiston, which has more than 36,000 inhabitants, told CNN.
“Our hospitals are not equipped to handle this type of shooting,” he added, specifying that there were between 50 and 60 injured according to city authorities.
The tragedy immediately joined the litany of shootings which regularly mourn the United States, where firearms abound and are easily accessible for purchase. The state of Maine recorded 29 homicides in 2022.
Lewiston police said they were seeking to locate the suspected shooter, identified as Robert Card, 40, whose motives were unknown.
Photos showing a man, dressed in a brown top and dark blue pants, armed with a shoulder-mounted semi-automatic rifle, were released earlier by Androscoggin County police.
The shooting broke out in at least two different locations, a bowling alley and a bar-restaurant, according to local police. The Boston FBI, the federal police, also said it was participating in the investigation.
Another killing took place the same evening in a logistics center of a Walmart supermarket, according to several American media.
US President Joe Biden was briefed on the events and spoke with several Maine elected officials, including Governor Janet Mills, offering all necessary federal support, according to the White House.
Local authorities, who asked residents to stay at home, also published a photo of a white car, asking citizens to contact them if they recognized the vehicle.
“It’s an overwhelming situation. We have never experienced anything like this,” Cynthia Hunter, who has lived in Lewiston since 2012, testified on local television.
Public schools will be closed Thursday, a school district official said on X (formerly Twitter).
“I am horrified by what happened in Lewiston this evening,” Maine representative Jared Golden said in a statement.
The United States is paying a very heavy price for the spread of firearms on its territory and the ease with which Americans have access to them.
The country has more individual weapons than inhabitants: one in three adults owns at least one weapon and almost one in two adults lives in a home where there is a weapon.
The consequence of this proliferation is the very high rate of firearm deaths in the United States, incomparable to that of other developed countries.
Excluding suicides, more than 15,000 people have died in gun violence since the start of the year in the country, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) association.
However, it is the mass shootings that stand out the most, while illustrating the ideological divide separating conservatives and progressives on the question of how to prevent such tragedies.
Recent American history is indeed punctuated by killings, with no place in daily life seeming safe, from the business to the church, from the supermarket to the discotheque, from the public highway to public transport. common.
But, despite the mobilization of more than a million demonstrators, the United States Congress has not adopted an ambitious law, many elected officials being under the influence of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA), the first American gun lobby.
In fact, in a country where the possibility of owning a firearm is considered by millions of Americans as a fundamental constitutional right, the only recent legislative advances remain marginal, such as the generalization of criminal and psychiatric background checks above all. purchase of weapons.