This post was updated with the official death toll after a news conference on Thursday morning.
At least 18 people were killed and 13 more injured in a mass shooting spanning multiple locations in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night, state officials announced during a news conference this morning. The gunman opened fire at a bar and a bowling alley, forcing Maine’s second-largest city to go on lockdown as the state police and other law enforcement agencies continue to search for the suspect.
The attack is one of at least 565 mass shootings so far this year, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which defines them as incidents in which four or more people are shot. Maine rarely sees shootings that aren’t suicides, let alone mass shootings. From 2018 to 2022, the state averaged 12 firearm homicides per year, according to CDC data. This shooting marks only the fifth mass shooting in Maine since the Gun Violence Archive began tracking the incidents in 2013 — but the second one in the state this year. As we reported earlier this month, less and less of the country remains untouched by the crisis.
The shooter remains at large, and residents of Lewiston and nearby towns have been told to stay in their homes with the doors locked. Lewiston, Bowdoin, Portland, and other Maine towns and cities shuttered their public schools on Thursday. Police have identified a person of interest, a 40-year-old from Bowdoin. CNN reported that Maine law enforcement officials say he is a firearms instructor and Army reservist. Photos of the shooter released by police appear to show a semiautomatic assault-style rifle equipped with a high-capacity magazine.
What to Know Today
Phillips County, Arkansas, a small rural county with a population of only 15,000 people, had the second-highest rate of gun homicide in the country from 2018 to 2021. Meanwhile, Phillips County, scarred by a history of racism, and places like it, lack the federal investment and stream of grants that flow to bigger cities. [KFF Health News]
A federal judge ruled unconstitutional a portion of New York City’s gun restrictions that require those applying for gun permits to prove they have “good moral character.” Judge John P. Cronan, a Trump appointee, found that the restriction gives officials too much discretion to deny applicants based on subjective criteria. The ruling is part of the ongoing effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen, which made it harder for cities and states to defend strict gun regulations. [Gothamist]
Hours before he was shot to death in his driveway, a Maryland judge granted a divorce to the wife of the man accused of killing him. Judge Andrew Wilkinson cited “shocking” testimony about alleged abuse before the man, Pedro Argote, showed up at the judge’s home later in the day and shot him. [Associated Press]
A man who fired a gun in the air near pro-Palestinian protesters in Skokie, Illinois, won’t face any charges, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors said the man, whom they declined to name, “acted in self-defense” after being surrounded by a crowd and allegedly attacked. The man had no criminal history, a valid concealed carry license, and was later released from police custody. [Chicago Sun-Times]
This Friday will mark five years since a gunman killed 11 Jewish worshippers in an antisemitic attack at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. The community recently announced plans to rebuild the space. [Tribune-Review] Meanwhile, nearly a year after a mass shooting that killed five people at Club Q in Colorado Springs, the LGBTQ+ nightclub has announced plans to open a bar and restaurant, called simply “The Q,” in a new location. Plans for the original space to become a memorial are moving forward, though less quickly than anticipated. [KKTV]
Oakland created a nonpolice team of first responders to show up to nonviolent, nonemergency 911 calls. Eighteen months later, the MACRO pilot program is ending, but city leadership is mapping out a long-term future. [The Oaklandside] The California city isn’t alone in experimenting with sending counselors — not cops — in response to calls about mental health crises. [The Trace]
15,000 — The total number of contacts Oakland’s MACRO pilot made with people over 18 months. Most of them — 10,145 — were wellness checks. [The Oaklandside]