Army said Maine shooter should not have gun, requested welfare check

ewiston Maine Police Department

(NEW YORK) -- Before last week's mass shooting in Maine that left 18 dead and 13 wounded, the U.S. Army says suspect Robert Card's commander was told he should not have access to an Army-issued weapon, and that it asked the local sheriff’s office to perform a welfare check.

In a statement to ABC News on Monday, Lt. Col. Ruth Castro, a U.S. Army spokesperson, said that following his mental health hospitalization and evaluation in mid-July, Card's commander was told he "should not have a weapon, handle ammunition, and not participate in live fire activity."

The Army also determined he should not be put in deployable status "due to concerns over his well-being," according to the statement.

The order only applied to U.S. Army-issued weapons and ammunition and not to Card's personal weapons cache because they were owned in a civilian capacity.

The Army also said Monday that the U.S. Army Reserve's surgeon’s office and the U.S. Army Reserve’s medical management team "made multiple attempts to contact Card."

In September, out of an abundance of caution and concern for his safety, Card’s reserve unit requested a health and welfare check that was carried out by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, she added.

"The Army takes all allegations seriously. Due to an ongoing Army investigation, we cannot go into any further details," Castro said in a statement.

The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office said Monday night the department received an email from Card's Army Reserve unit in Saco asking for a wellness check.

A deputy was sent out to perform the check on Sept. 15 and 16, but Card wasn’t at home, the Sheriff’s Office said.

A day later, a deputy made contact with Card’s unit commander, who said he had no more weapons from the reserve, per the Sheriff’s office. The department said it also reached Card’s family.

“On Sep. 17, 2023, our deputy made contact with Mr. Card’s brother, who told our office that he would work to secure any firearms that Mr. Card had access to. Our deputy also asked that the family call back if they believed that Mr. Card need an evaluation or was a risk to himself or others," the Sheriff's office said in a statement to ABC News.

Last week, a U.S. Defense Department official confirmed to ABC News that Card was "behaving erratically" while deployed over the summer with his Army Reserve Unit to Camp Smith Training Center in upstate New York to support summer training for West Point cadets.

Card’s superior officers informed garrison staff at the training site about his behavior on July 17, the defense official said.

"Out of concern for his safety, the unit requested that law enforcement be contacted," the official said.

New York State Police officers responded and transported Card to Keller Army Community Hospital at the U.S. Military Academy for medical evaluation, the official said.

Card allegedly threatened other soldiers with violence and was "command directed" to go to the hospital for the evaluation, according to a source briefed and with direct knowledge of the incident.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills confirmed Card was found dead last Friday night of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023 at 6:22AM by Luis Martinez, Luke Barr and Jolie Lash, ABC News Permalink