BOSTON (SHNS) – Victims of a mass shooting in Maine that’s claimed 18 lives are being treated at hospitals in Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey’s office said Thursday, and Massachusetts is ready to send law enforcement and human service workers, including grief counselors, to its New England neighbor.
A manhunt is underway for 40-year-old Robert Card, the suspect in the killings Wednesday night at a restaurant and bowling alley.
“So many people right now are going to be in need of grief counselors, are going to be in need of mental health services,” Healey told reporters at the State House on Thursday morning. “And I know the people of Massachusetts will step forward and support the great people of Maine … in this time.”
The governor added, “We just need to step up and show our solidarity in terms of comfort, and in terms of support in this time, in the weeks and in the months ahead.”
Law enforcement is in communication with Maine officials and “will remain at the ready to engage and support Maine in all ways,” the governor said.
“I want to be really clear: At this time, there’s no connections we are aware of between the alleged shooter and Massachusetts,” she said. “Obviously if people see something, they should say something.”
The Massachusetts State Police concurred. “At this time we are aware of no confirmed nexus between CARD and Massachusetts,” the State Police said in a statement at around 12:40 p.m. Thursday. “We continue to monitor all available intelligence and will update our local law enforcement partners and the public of any developments that affect our state.”
A Massachusetts state trooper assigned to the bomb squad and his K9 partner have responded to the Lewiston, Maine, area in the officer’s capacity as an ATF task force officer, the State Police said.
Massachusetts State Police Colonel John Mawn has also been in contact with Maine counterparts about mutual aid, the State Police said, adding that “the full complement of Massachusetts State Police assets stand ready for deployment if requested, as necessitated by the evolving investigation and fugitive apprehension mission.”
The State Police said their fusion center was “gathering and processing a large amount of continually evolving information.”
As part of a “standard proactive deployment,” the State Police deployed several patrols to the Massachusetts-New Hampshire state line Wednesday night to be on the lookout for the suspect’s white Subaru.
“There was no intelligence that suggested the suspect had fled toward Massachusetts. The vehicle was later located abandoned in Maine,” the State Police said.
Healey declined to comment on Maine’s gun safety laws and speculate on whether the tragedy could have been prevented.
“Today I am focused on extending support, in all ways, to the people of Maine — to the families affected by this devastating atrocity,” Healey told reporters. “I have ordered that flags be flown at half-mast here in Massachusetts in solidarity and mourning, and in memory of those lost by this terrible incident.”
The U.S. and Massachusetts flags are being lowered to half-staff at all state buildings in Massachusetts beginning Thursday and through Monday, Oct. 30.
In a statement Thursday afternoon, Healey said she spoke with Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Wednesday night to offer support.
Healey’s office also urged people in Massachusetts to “remain vigilant and call 911 to report suspicious activity. Anyone struggling with their mental health can call or text the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line at 833-773-2445 or chat online at masshelpline.com for real-time clinical assessment. Anyone who is experiencing emotional distress or thoughts of suicide and needs someone to talk to can call 988 for free, confidential emotional support.”