The names and ages of those killed in the tragic events on Wednesday were confirmed with the consent of their families, at a press conference on Friday afternoon. They ranged in age from 14 to 76 years old.
The victims were named as Ronald Morin, 55, Peyton Brewer Ross, 40; Joshua Seal, 36; Bryan MacFarlane, 41; Joseph Walker, 47; Arthur Strout, 42; Maxx Hathaway, 35; Stephen Vozzella, 45; Thomas Conrad, 34; Michael Deslauriers, 51; Jason Walker, 51; Tricia Asselin, 53; William Brackett, 48; and Keith Macneir, 64.
Father and son William and Aaron Young, 44 and 14, respectively were also named by police, as were Bob and Lucy Violette, 76 and 73, respectively.
The conference, held by Maine’s public safety commissioner Michael Sauschuck, comes almost 48 hours on from the incidents, which occurred at a local bowling alley and bar.
Police are still searching for the suspect, 40-year-old Robert Card, who is wanted on suspicion of murdering the 18 victims and wounding 13 others. Mr Sauschuck said authorities had received over 500 tips on Mr Card’s whereabouts, but that he remained at large.
A shelter-in-place order was lifted allowing residents of Lewiston, Lisbon, and Bowdoin to leave home for the first time since Wednesday night.
On Friday morning it was revealed that a note had been found but its content was not disclosed. Divers have also been searching the river beside which Mr Card’s SUV was found and at one point a lettuce farm was cleared after reports of a gunshot.
Dive teams were deployed after a vehicle connected to the suspected gunman was found in Lisbon near a boat ramp on the Androscoggin River, which flows into the Kennebec River, on Thursday.
In an earlier conference Mr Sauschuck said the search around the river will extend to a ground search of the surrounding area as well as an aerial search via helicopters to determine where divers should look specifically – the Maine State Police will be leading the initiative.
He clarified that law enforcement does not know for sure if the suspected gunman is in the water.
Mr Sauschuck added that law enforcement is still “days away” from completing their investigation into the crime scenes where the shootings took place. He asked for the public’s respect and patience as police work to finish processing the scenes, identifying victims and contacting families.
A press conference is due to be held every day at 10am ET until the suspect is found. Additional ones will be added, should new information come to light.
Lewiston School Superintendent Jake Langlais announced that city schools will not be open on Monday, saying that administrators heard “a lot of feedback from staff” telling them that “time will absolutely be needed by our most caring of individuals to be ready to provide care for our students when they return.”
Mr Langlais said the school district will continue to provide information through the weekend. He said that he hopes police find the suspected shooter “and we can start down the road to healing.”
Elsewhere, life-long residents of the city said that the horrific, ongoing situation was “almost like out 9/11”.
Linda Parker, 81, told The Independent that she never believed she’d live to see her county become the epicentre of America’s latest mass shooting. That horror was was something that happened to other communities, in big cities, she said, not in the semi-rural dormant town where she’s lived her whole life.
“My niece called me and I just thought it was some type of a prank call,” she recalled. “I never in my life thought this would happen.”
Ms Parker said everyone she knew was in a similar state of fear. But as the search concentrated in the Lisbon area of the Androscoggin River, some locals are starting to gather at the seldom places that have opened, such as Roy’s, trying to find some sense of community as they deal with grief in the fallout of the shooting.
“Everything is just quiet. It is scary. I made sure my windows, doors were locked, especially at nighttime. And even at daytime, you’re looking out your window,” Ms Parker said.
The rampage that left at least 18 people dead is the worst mass killing in Maine’s history. Last year, the Pine Tree State reported only 29 homicides.
“It’s almost like our 9/11,” Ms Parker said.