Maine sheriff's office to discuss contact with gunman prior to Lewiston mass shooting

 The commission investigating last year's mass shooting in Maine that left 18 people dead is scheduled to hear Thursday from the police agency that contacted the shooter before the killings.

Democratic Governor Janet Mills and state Attorney General Aaron Frey assembled the commission to review the events that led to the Oct. 25 shootings at a bowling alley and a restaurant in Lewiston. The commissioners, who are holding their second meeting on Thursday, are also tasked with reviewing the police response.

The meeting will be public and will allow commissioners to speak to members of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Department, a commission spokesperson said.

Lawyers for some of the victims' families have pointed to missed opportunities to stop Army Reservist Robert Card, 40, from carrying out the shootings before he was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police video obtained by the Associated Press and other news agencies shows that police had refused to confront Card in the weeks before, fearing it would worsen an already volatile situation. According to multiple interviews, police, army officers and family members were aware of Card's declining mental health.

Mills and Frey said Wednesday they have introduced legislation to give the commission subpoena powers to investigate, a power the commissioners have said they will need.

"This legislation, which comes at the request of the independent commission, will ensure that the commission has the opportunity to fully and effectively carry out its important mission of determining the facts of the tragedy in Lewiston," Mills and Frey said in a statement. Have the necessary equipment." ,

Thursday's commission meeting is the first of four in which there will be an open forum for comments. Meetings with victims, Maine State Police and the military are also scheduled.

The commission has said it will "conduct its work as publicly as possible and will issue a formal public report detailing its findings at the conclusion of its investigation." Members have said they hope to have a full report ready by early summer.

Police were alerted last September by Army Reserve officers about Card, who was hospitalized in July after displaying erratic behavior during training. Authorities warned police that he had access to weapons and that he had threatened to "shoot up" the Army Reserve Center in Saco.

An independent report by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Office after the shooting found that local law enforcement were aware that Card's mental health was declining and that he was hearing voices and experiencing psychotic episodes. The report clarified the agency's response to concerns about the card, but many legal experts said it revealed missed opportunities to intervene.

The commission meeting Thursday was chaired by Daniel Wathen, former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Other members include Debra Bader, the state's former chief forensic psychologist, and Paula Silsbee, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine.

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