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Divers scour river in search for Maine mass shooting suspect

LEWISTON: Jittery residents of southern Maine remained on edge on Friday (Oct 27) as state and federal law enforcement agents combed woods and deployed divers into a river in a massive hunt for a man accused of gunning down 18 people with a semi-automatic rifle in a bowling alley and a bar.

As the manhunt neared its third day, authorities lifted a lockdown for residents in Lewiston, a hard-scrabble city in the mostly rural northeastern state, and in surrounding areas.

Robert Card, 40, is accused of carrying out the country’s deadliest mass shooting of the year on Wednesday night. In addition to the fatalities, another 13 people were wounded.

Authorities on Friday identified the victims, ranging from a husband and wife in their 70s, to a 14-year-old boy killed alongside his father.

Early in the day, police deployed along the Androscoggin River in nearby Lisbon, seven miles (11km) southeast of Lewiston, with divers using sonar to look for evidence – or a body. Card’s white SUV was found nearby, Maine public safety commissioner Mike Sauschuck said.

Sauschuck told an afternoon news briefing that businesses in the area can reopen, though hunting was prohibited in Lewiston and a few surrounding towns to avoid confusion from gunshots ringing out.

“We want our residents to remain vigilant,” Sauschuck said.

Many resident around Lewiston “think he’s dead”, Cheryl Haggerty told AFP of Card, the fugitive Army reservist.

The real estate agent stood watching officers, a Glock pistol hanging from her black belt.

Like many in Maine, Haggerty said she believes owning a weapon provides a measure of security.

“If you have a gun, at least you hear the door, you’re awake, you can be ready” to shoot back, she said. “You’re gonna have a good chance.”

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