National News

Alleged Maine gunman told police he was ‘capable’ of doing ‘something’ 3 months before shooting

todayFebruary 17, 2024


Joe Raedle/Getty Images

(LEWISTON, Maine) — Three months before the alleged Maine mass shooter would open fire at a bar and a bowling alley, killing 18 people and injuring 13 more, Robert Card told police in New York he was “capable” of doing “something,” as they coaxed him to go for psychological treatment and evaluation, police body camera shows.

New York State troopers were called by members of Card’s Army Reserve unit out of concern for his mental decline in July, as ABC News previously reported, after an incident the night prior with some of his fellow Reservists. Card was taken that day to an Army hospital at West Point before being transferred for further treatment at a civilian facility. He was released after 14 days. The body camera, obtained via a records request by ABC News’ affiliate WMTW, shows the moments before Card was taken in for treatment.

“Our concern is he is going to hurt himself or someone else,” one Reservist told New York State troopers in July, standing in the parking lot outside the facility they were staying at near West Point, before Card would go for what would be two weeks of psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

Though Card hadn’t explicitly threatened self-harm or harm to others, “He said he was going to ‘take care of it,'” one Reservist told the troopers, another chiming in that he was being “combative” toward the other men.

Card had “never been like this,” the reservists said multiple times – and they weren’t sure whether the behavior and hearing voices had been triggered by his new hearing aids, or something else. The night prior, Card had wheeled on his longtime colleague while on a beer run and “he clenches his fist and comes at me… I’m like, ‘Woah’ and just kind of backed up… was trying to fight me… I was like, this is crazy… he’s like hearing voices, it’s like paranoia… it’s weird,” one reservist said.

Card had lost so much weight in recent months that “his face is sagging, he took his shirt off at the pool and he’s like all skin and bones. I couldn’t believe how much weight he’s lost.”

“I’ve known him for a decade,” the reservist said. “I’ve been in this unit for ten years, he’s never been like that…”

Card was hearing voices that he had a “small d*ck” and that he was a pedophile, as ABC News has reported – to the point where he took a picture of his genitals and “showed the people at work,” the reservists told the troopers, adding, “His boss was like, ‘yo man, you can’t do that.'”

“On its face, it’s obviously weird behavior but the more concerning part is that he was never like this,” another reservist said.

“And he’s a gun nut too, he has a lot of guns,” one reservist said. “He spent 14 grand on a scope too so he’s like … I don’t know, I don’t know what he’s capable of, I’m not insinuating anything but – I’m just saying – he does have a ton of guns.”

Three months later, Card would allegedly open fire at a bar and a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine, in back-to-back shootings that rocked the city and ricocheted across the nation.

The body camera footage from July shows troopers knocking on Card’s door, which he answers shirtless after some delay, his head shaved and wearing shorts with “Army” printed in yellow on one leg.

Card wordlessly leaned an arm with a bicep tattoo against the door frame as troopers said they wanted to speak with him, asking that he put a shirt on. Card, with a slight eye roll, let them in. He pulled on a black shirt with “Army” across the chest, and sat on an unmade bed. A picture of the Statue of Liberty hung on the concrete wall above his head.

Card said he understood the reason the police were called, because he “flipped out on someone” who “messed around with me and they’re cowards and ran away… I didn’t do anything wrong, I haven’t been physical with anyone.”

According to the footage, Card said people have been “saying sh*t” behind his back – as ABC News previously reported, he thought people had been saying he’s a “pedophile,” and that when he confronts people, “they pretend like I’m hearing stuff,” and that “it’s happening everywhere.”

“The staff here was concerned about you to the point that they have command directed you to talk with a counselor, okay?” One trooper asks, to which Card answered, “Alright.”

When asked if he’s willing to go for evaluation, Card shrugged, and said, “I have to if it’s command directed, obviously. But, is it going to help anything? No…” adding, he would “rather have people stop talking and stop looking at me, I’m a f**ing private person.”

“I can absolutely understand that,” one trooper responded.

Attempting to remind Card that his fellow Reservists were, until recently, his friends, Card responded “I don’t have any real good friends, obviously.”

“I hope you understand that they’re concerned enough about your welfare that they called us,” one trooper said.

Card responded riled up, “Oh, because they’re scared … ’cause I’m going to, friggin, do something. Because I am capable!” he said while rubbing his hands together.

“What do you mean by that?” The trooper asks.

“Huh?” Card responds, the trooper asking again – “What do you mean by that?”

Card answered, “Nothing.”

The newly released footage comes just as the independent commission investigating what led up to the Oct. 25, 2023 mass shooting is kicking into high gear.

This week, the commission has officially been granted subpoena power for its probe, which will allow the commission to compel documents and witness testimony from individuals and entities who would otherwise opt not to cooperate. Importantly, this power will include seeking compliance in any state, federal or military court or tribunal – relevant here, given the investigation involves not only Maine authorities but also New York, New Hampshire – and the US military, whose inspector general has launched a separate investigation into the Army’s role into what led up to the shootings.

The commission told ABC News they have received a response from the Army that they will allow some of their personnel to testify. That response comes after months where the commission has said there have been attempts to work with the Army, but as of late January, they had run into some “issues” with the Army, their executive director told lawmakers in lobbying for subpoena power.

“Commission members have always said that they hope and expect people will cooperate with this independent investigation and having the power to subpoena should only be necessary in circumstances where the investigation could be delayed or impeded without it,” a spokesperson for the commission told ABC News, adding they’re “pleased that the Army has agreed to make individuals available” so that it “can continue its important work gathering the facts and evidence it feels it needs to help provide answers for victims, their families, and the people of Maine.”

The Army has been invited to testify before the commission on March 7. Who will participate – and how much cooperation they will offer – remains to be seen.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Written by: WMEX



WMEX Boston can be heard at 1510 AM, and 101.1 FM. Playing the greatest hits from 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and more!