The gunman who killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, last month had likely been dead for 8 to 12 hours before his body was discovered one week ago, a state official said Friday.
The shooter’s body was discovered with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 27 at a sprawling recycling center in Lisbon Falls, about 8 miles from Lewiston, authorities said. The property had been searched by police twice the previous day, but the suspect was not located, authorities said.
At the time, officials said it was not clear how long the shooter, Robert Card, had been dead when his body was found.
Maine Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum said Friday it was “LIKELY that Mr. Card was deceased 8-12 hours prior to being located.”
Flomenbaum confirmed authorities’ initial belief that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
“Mr. Card’s cause of death was determined to be gunshot wound of head and manner of death is suicide,” his office said in a statement.
More coverage of the Lewiston shootings
The Maine Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Lisbon Police Department, which has jurisdiction where the body was found, also did not immediately respond.
It’s not clear when the shooter entered the box trailer where his body was found. Lisbon Police Department Chief Ryan McGee said the parking lot where the body was found was not the focus of previous searches.
Authorities said the suspect, an Army reservist, opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at Schemengees Bar and Grille and the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley on the evening of Oct. 25 before fleeing.
Three hours after the shooting began, a Subaru associated with the gunman was found near a boat ramp along the Androscoggin River that also runs behind the recycling center, authorities said. He had vanished, and residents of the region were told to shelter in place as a massive manhunt was launched.
Two days later, fear was replaced by relief, and then mourning.
On Friday, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited Lewiston to memorialize the dead and to call for greater limitations on gun ownership.
“This is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, a restaurant, school, church, without being shot and killed,” he said.