Monday, April 15, 2024

Report: Army Gave Glowing Review of Maine Mass Shooter as His Mental Health Declined

'They’re scared ‘cause I’m gonna friggin’ do something. Because I am capable...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) As Maine still reels from the deadliest mass shooting in its history, observers are demanding to know why the Army didn’t respond to the numerous mental health-related signs displayed by reservist Robert Card, who allegedly killed 18 people last month in two separate shootings last October.

The warning signs of Card’s declining mental health were loud and clear: The shooter reportedly threatened to shoot up a National Guard base earlier this year, had reported “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” the military base, and had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks in the summer.

However, Card’s recently released personnel records don’t mention anything about his mental health.

The annual evaluation from April 2023 indicated Card, 40, of Bowdoin, was “a consummate professional” who “excelled as a squad leader” and whose mentoring of troops was “among the best,” according to the documents released under an open records request.

A sergeant first class further said that Card “exceeded standards” in almost all areas of his role as a senior trainer, including instruction on the use of grenades. In short, Card was “a consummate professional” with an “approachable, reliable demeanor” who showed an “ability to train future leaders with great care for their safety and well-being,” according to the April 2023 evaluation.

Three months later, Card was hospitalized after pushing a fellow reservist and locking himself in his motel room while his unit was training near West Point, New York. Fellow reservists told police who escorted Card for an evaluation that he’d been acting paranoid and accusing others of talking about him behind his back.

Card said they were right to be worried: “They’re scared ‘cause I’m gonna friggin’ do something. Because I am capable,” Card told police.

Three more months after that, he killed 18 people in a mass shooting before allegedly killing himself.

Several of Card’s fellow Army reservists are due to testify next month to a governor-appointed independent commission investigating the Oct. 25 shootings, which were carried out at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston.

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, have also requested a comprehensive investigation by the Army.

Questions include what concerns were raised by Army personnel about Card’s mental health, what actions were taken in response to those concerns, and whether there was anything the Army could have done to prevent the mass shooting.

Additionally, the senators want to know whether all Army regulations were followed in relation to Card, and whether the Army considered invoking state crisis-intervention laws to temporarily disarm him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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