USA: Maine: Suspected shooter dead - what was the motive?

Two days after the devastating act of violence in the US state of Maine that left 18 people dead, police found the suspected shooter dead.

USA: Maine: Suspected shooter dead - what was the motive?

Two days after the devastating act of violence in the US state of Maine that left 18 people dead, police found the suspected shooter dead. According to investigators, he committed suicide after his crime. Why the man caused such a massacre in the small town of Lewiston on Wednesday evening is still under investigation. His mental state played a role, said the state's public safety officer, Mike Sauschuck, on Saturday. However, further research is necessary.

The man opened fire in a leisure center and a barbecue restaurant on Wednesday evening. 18 people between the ages of 14 and 76 were killed by gunfire. The shooter 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. According to their own statements, the police found his body on Friday evening (local time) in a caravan that was parked in an alternative parking lot at a recycling plant. He is said to have worked there for a time.

Authorities said they found a kind of farewell note indicating that the suspected shooter did not expect to be taken alive. The message, which he left on a piece of paper, was addressed to a relative and contained access data to his cell phone and accounts. According to reports, the man was undergoing psychiatric treatment a few weeks ago and is said to have imagined that he was hearing voices. The official said he was at least not subjected to forced treatment - and as long as that was not the case, guns could be legally purchased in Maine.

Finally certainty after hours of fear

The police searched for the suspect with a large number for two days. The investigators also did not rule out an escape by boat. Hundreds of tips were received from residents in connection with the manhunt. 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. "I'm breathing a sigh of relief tonight," said Maine Governor Janet Mills on Friday evening.

After the crime, a state of emergency prevailed in the rural area of ​​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 police 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."

Youngest victim only 14 years old

Authorities 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," she said, referring to such acts.

The Maine massacre is the deadliest in the United States since the shooting at an elementary school in Texas in May 2022. At that time, a gunman in Uvalde killed 19 children and two teachers. 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.