At least 22 people have been killed and several others have been left injured after a man opened fire at a restaurant and bowling alley in the city of Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday evening.
A CNN report claimed that 50–60 people sustained injuries in the attack. However, there is no clarity on the number of people injured in the shooting yet.
The gunman, identified as 40-year-old Robert Card, was a firearms instructor, according to local media reports. A massive manhunt has been launched by the police to nab the accused.
The police posted a photo of Robert Card on Facebook with a warning that he should be “considered armed and dangerous”. Card was a firearms instructor in the US Army Reserve in Saco.
“Please contact law enforcement if you are aware of his whereabouts,” it read. They also asked businesses to remain closed as the suspect remains at large. He was recently discharged from a mental health facility after reporting hallucinations. He was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks last month.
Card had been reported to police in the past for domestic violence and other crimes. In fact, one of his ex-wives even got a restraining order against him.
The latest mass shooting incident is being dubbed one of the deadliest since 2017. In 2016, a gunman opened fire at a music festival in Las Vegas, killing some 60 people. President Joe Biden spoke to Maine Governor Janet Mills and offered “full federal support in the wake of this horrific attack”, a White House statement said.
In the United States, firearms are involved in approximately 40,000 deaths a year, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
Lax gun laws and a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms have repeatedly stymied attempts to clamp down on the number of weapons in circulation, despite greater controls being favoured by most Americans.
Three-quarters of all homicides in the US are committed with guns, and the number of pistols, revolvers, and other firearms sold continues to rise. According to a Pew survey conducted in June 2021, 30 per cent of American adults said they owned at least one gun.
The US has recorded more than 500 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-governmental organisation. Mass shootings are defined as incidents wherein at least four people are injured or killed, excluding the shooter. There has been a significant rise in mass shootings since 2015.
A survey conducted by a Swiss-based research project found that there were about 120.5 firearms per 100 residents in the US in 2018. This essentially implies that there are more guns than people in the United States.