MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – State and local police departments in Connecticut are increasing patrols Thursday as police continue to search for the gunman who killed at least 18 people Wednesday night in Lewiston, Maine.

Lewiston Police identified Robert Card, 40, as a suspect in the shootings at a restaurant and a bowling alley. Card was described as a firearms instructor believed to be in the Army Reserve and assigned to a training facility in Saco, Maine.

While there is no threat, the Middletown Police Department said they are upping patrols.

“In light of the tragic incident in Lewiston, Maine, the Middletown Police Department will be conducting frequent property checks at local schools and businesses to ensure the safety of our students and residents. While we do not have any information to suggest our community is in danger, we will take every step to ensure their safety.”

Connecticut State Police said they are ready to respond to any threats in the state.

“Regarding the Lewiston, Maine, shootings on behalf of the men and women of the Connecticut State Police, we express our deepest sympathies to the people of Lewiston, Maine. This assault on innocent citizens is alarming and heartbreaking. At this time, our focus will be on protecting communities within our state. No specific threats have been received, but in the interest of public safety, we are closely monitoring the situation and remain in close communication with our regional law enforcement partners. The Connecticut State Police are prepared to address any threats to our local communities should they arise. If requested, the Connecticut State Police will assist law enforcement in Maine. Our thoughts are with the community and the first responders of Lewiston.”

Law enforcement expert discusses manhunt

News 8 spoke with retired Fairfield police chief Gary MacNamara on Thursday about the mass shooting in Maine.

MacNamara said the suspect’s military background and history of mental health issues played a role in the manhunt.

“What we do know is the individual planned this event. He planned it based upon the way in which he approached it,” MacNamara said.

He said law enforcement has to be extremely cautious in how they approach the individual, and they must take a tactical approach.

Another approach is to send alerts across state lines warning people to be on the lookout for Card.

“That’s where law enforcement is at an advantage. He can only plan out so much because law enforcement now will adjust that their approach and hopefully disrupt any further plans that he has,” MacNamara said.

MacNamara said not only is Lewiston dealing with tragedy and loss but now they’re having to shelter in place. 

“That means no activity is occurring, no normalcy is occurring. Students aren’t going to school. They’re going to have questions. The trauma, emotional trauma associated with an event like this when they happen, is huge,” he said.

The trauma may have a lasting impact on the communities.

“It’s very difficult to it is almost impossible to recover and go back to normal in that community or any community that deals with this,” he said.


Stay with News 8 for updates.