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Witness describes hiding as gunman opened fire at Maine bowling alley

The bowler recalls hearing a loud noise that he thought was a balloon popping before he noticed a man wielding a gun.
Posted at 12:07 PM, Oct 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-26 12:07:45-04

A man who survived a mass shooting at a Maine bowling alley Wednesday night said he ran and hid while the gunman was shooting. 

"I had my back turned to the door. And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon — he was holding a weapon — I just booked it," Brandon, who didn't disclose his last name, told The Associated Press. 

Brandon said he quickly scrambled down the bowling lane and climbed up into the pin machine, where he hid until the gunman left. 

"I was putting on my bowling shoes when it started," he said. "I've been barefoot for five hours." 

Seven people were killed at Sparetime Recreation, which is located about four miles from a Schemengees Bar and Grille, where another eight people died.

"In a split second your world gets turn upside down for no good reason," the business posted on social media. "We loss great people in this community. How can we make any sense of this. Sending out prayers to everyone." 

Wednesday was also "industry night" at Schemengees, with a 25% discount offered to bar and restaurant workers. 

Lewiston Maine Police Department via AP

The suspect, Robert Card, was still on the run as of Thursday morning. A police intelligence bulletin said he was a firearms instructor who had been trained at the U.S. Army Reserve training facility in Maine. He had threatened to carry out a shooting at the military training base in Saco, Maine, the bulletin said, which added that Card reported hearing voices and was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks over the summer.

Residents in Lewiston and nearby towns have been ordered to shelter in place as police search for the suspected gunman. Scripps News reporter Chris Conte also reported that most local businesses were closed as the manhunt continued.

As mass shootings rise nationally, Maine had been an exception
A sign advises residents to stay home.

As mass shootings rise nationally, Maine had been an exception

There have been nearly 2,000 mass shootings reported in the U.S. in the last three years, but only one had been reported in Maine before Wednesday.

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