Authorities confirm: Deadly bloody crime in Maine: Body of suspected shooter found

Finally certainty after 48 hours of fear: The suspected shooter of the massacre that left 18 dead in the US state of Maine is no longer alive.

Authorities confirm: Deadly bloody crime in Maine: Body of suspected shooter found

Finally certainty after 48 hours of fear: The suspected shooter of the massacre that left 18 dead in the US state of Maine is no longer alive. The police found the suspect's body on Friday evening (local time), as the local authorities announced. Apparently the man committed suicide after his bloody act. “I breathe a sigh of relief tonight,” said Governor of Maine Janet Mills. The suspect no longer poses a threat. The guesswork about the motive for the terrible act continues.

The gunman opened fire at a recreation center and a barbecue restaurant in the small town of Lewiston on Wednesday evening. He then escaped and his trail was lost in the wooded surroundings. After a relatively short time, the police identified 40-year-old reserve soldier Robert C. as the suspected perpetrator. He was reportedly undergoing psychiatric treatment a few weeks ago and was said to have imagined hearing voices. It was initially unclear whether this was a reason for the terrible crime. According to media reports, the man left behind a kind of suicide note.

The police searched for the suspect with a large number for two days. The investigators also did not rule out an escape by boat. They received more than 500 tips from residents in connection with the search. The search was also very difficult because the sparsely populated area has many forests and swamps. Lewiston itself has almost 40,000 residents and is located about 200 kilometers north of Boston on the US east coast.

After the incident, a state of emergency prevailed in the rural area in the northern state - public life practically came to a standstill. Authorities imposed a curfew of sorts and ordered tens of thousands of people in several communities not to leave their homes. Schools and shops remained closed for fear of the missing perpetrator. The order was only lifted on Friday evening (local time).

"Tonight we are grateful that Lewiston and the surrounding communities are safe after people spent agonizing days in their homes," US President Joe Biden said after the body was found. Numerous “brave law enforcement officers” worked around the clock to find the suspect. “It was a tragic two days – not just for Lewiston, Maine, but for our entire country.”

But many questions remained unanswered for the time being, as the authorities only released a few details in a press conference late on Friday evening. Governor Mills said that the suspect's body was found in the town of Lisbon, around 15 minutes' drive from the two crime scenes. Police said she had an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. There was to be another press conference on Saturday. Police did not provide any information about how long the suspect had been dead. His body was reportedly found at 7:45 p.m. - according to CNN near a recycling plant where the suspected shooter was said to have been employed until recently.

One could only speculate about the motives for the crime. It was said, for example, that the suspect broke up with his girlfriend shortly before the crime and was often with her at the later crime scenes. The authorities did not comment on this.

Authorities also announced the names of the 18 people who died on Friday. The youngest was only 14 years old, the oldest was 76. In addition, more and more terrible details about the crime have become known in the past few days as eyewitnesses described their experiences. “I crawled around the corner, but at that point I already had a gunshot wound in my arm,” said Jennifer Zanca, who was in the barbecue restaurant with friends at the time of the crime. She ended up hiding behind a garbage can. "I don't know what to do next because it just keeps happening and there have to be solutions."

The massacre in Maine is the deadliest in the United States since the shooting at an elementary school in Texas in May 2022, when a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde. In the USA, these bloody acts are sadly part of everyday life. Firearms are easily available there and are widely circulated. This repeatedly leads to discussions about tightening gun laws, but so far without any real result. As a rule, pushes for stricter gun laws fail because of the Republicans and the powerful gun lobby. President Biden also repeatedly calls for stricter regulations. He emphasized: "Americans shouldn't have to live like this."