At least 16 people have been killed and dozens wounded after a gunman went on a shooting spree in the northeastern state of Maine in the United States. Two law enforcement officials in the city of Lewiston told The Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity that the death toll from the attack was likely to rise.
US media outlet NBC News said at least 22 people had been killed and as many as 60 wounded in the attack.
State and local police said hundreds of officers were searching for the suspect, who remained at large. They did not say how many people had been killed or hurt. About 39,000 people live in Lewiston.
The Lewiston Police Department released a photo on its Facebook page of a person of interest named Robert Card, adding that he should be considered armed and dangerous and urging members of the public not to approach him or make contact.
A state police bulletin said Card had been trained as a firearms instructor at a US Army reserve training center in Maine but had a history of mental health problems, including hearing voices. The 40-year-old spent two weeks in a mental health facility during the summer, the bulletin added.
The gunman targeted a bar, a bowling alley and a Walmart distribution center, according to the local Sun Journal newspaper.
On its website, Central Maine Medical Center said staff were “reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event” and were coordinating with hospitals in the area to take in patients.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shootings and has also spoken on the phone individually to Maine Governor Janet Mills, Senators Angus King and Susan Collins, and Congressman Jared Golden about the attack, offering full federal support in the wake of the attack, the White House said.
If the death toll of 22 is confirmed, the Lewiston attack would be the deadliest mass shooting in the US since at least August 2019, when a gunman opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart with an AK-47 rifle, killing 23, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
There were 647 mass shootings—attacks in which at least four people were killed—in 2022, including the primary school in Uvalde, Texas, where a teenage gunman shot dead 19 young children and two adults.
Some 679 mass shootings are expected this year, based on trends as of July, according to data from the archive.