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Maine sheriff’s deputy blasts State Police handling of manhunt for Lewiston shooter, drawing rebuke from colonel

Officers searched for the Lewiston shooter on Friday in Lisbon, Maine, before his body was found.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

A Maine sheriff’s deputy in the county where a gunman killed 18 people and wounded more than a dozen last week accused the State Police of mishandling the two-day manhunt for the shooter, claiming in a scathing Facebook post that local law enforcement agencies were cut out of the search while residents of Lewiston and surrounding areas were urged to shelter in place.

In the post, Androscoggin Sheriff’s Deputy Jon Guay described “radio silence” from the State Police, who he claimed failed to share information with the sheriff’s office, Lewiston police and other agencies during the search for Robert R. Card II, 40, of Bowdoin, who disappeared after the mass shootings at a bar and a bowling alley in Lewiston on Oct. 25. The 48-hour manhunt ended when Card was found dead in an unlocked truck trailer at a recycling center where he previously worked in Lisbon, according to state officials. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.


“In literally seconds, information can be shared with officers from one end of the County to the other with the relationships that we all have,” wrote Guay, identifying himself as a 24-year law enforcement veteran. “No one knows this county better than the local officers who work in it. We have utilized this networking strategy many times before in separate incidents, but when Maine State Police showed up Wednesday night....all that stopped.”

Instead, Guay wrote, “Any substantial lead or investigatory discovery was held close to the vest and the only way the rest of us found out, was from leaks within.”

Guay could not immediately be reached for comment. It’s unclear when he posted the remarks on his personal Facebook page. As of Wednesday, the post had been deleted.

In a press release Wednesday, the Maine Department of Public Safety, which oversees the State Police, defended its handling of the manhunt and said it was “unfortunate that one individual has disparaged the exemplary work of hundreds of municipal, county, state, and federal law enforcement officers who worked around the clock to identify, search for and ultimately locate Robert Card’s body in 48 hours” after the shootings.


“This deputy has the luxury of his opinion,” Maine State Police Colonel William Ross said in the statement. “But as a Command Staff we have the ultimate responsibility over an operation that included 50 law enforcement agencies, multiple air assets and 16 tactical teams that were used to mitigate potential risk to the community and law enforcement.”

State Police have jurisdiction over homicide investigations throughout Maine, except in Portland and Bangor.

In his post, Guay claimed State Police excluded local agencies from “the information circle” and that it was an insult they would never forget.

“The upper echelons of the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit and Command Staff are utter clowns and I wouldn’t hire them to manage the morning rush at Dunkin Donuts much less an investigation of this size,” Guay wrote following the search.

Sean Cotter can be reached at him @cotterreporter.