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Laura Coates Live
Twenty-Two People Are Reported Dead In Multiple Shootings In Lewiston, Maine. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired October 25, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Breaking news. The manhunt for an armed suspect in Maine. There are 22 people reported dead in multiple shootings. Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."
UNKNOWN (voice-over): This is CNN Breaking News.
COATES: There is truly stunning news tonight out of Maine. Twenty-two people are dead in multiple shootings in Lewiston, Maine. Sources telling CNN that 50 to 60 people are reported injured in the incidents, though it's unclear how many are injured due to gunfire. Central Maine Medical Center has confirmed that they are reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event.
A suspect is still at large as we speak, and you're looking at a photo of him armed with an assault-style rifle. And do look closely to that photograph because the police, they want anyone who may recognize him to please call 911, and they are warning everybody in that area to stay inside of your home with the doors locked.
Police releasing this photo of a vehicle they believe to be the suspect's car with a front-page bumper that is painted black. The Lewiston Police Department identified the businesses where two active shooting incidents took place. There was a bar and a grill called Schemangees -- Schemengees, excuse me, and a bowling alley called Sparetime Recreation, according to a post on Facebook.
Now, there was video that was shared with CNN and it shows the scene at that bowling alley with a very large police presence and people who, as you see, are sprinting away from the location.
I want to get right to CNN's Josh Campbell and chief law enforcement Analyst John Miller. Gentlemen, on nights like this, I cannot believe that we are here again and thinking about all of these things. Let me first go -- do we have John -- do we have Josh here right now?
Josh, this is a very fluid situation. We are trying to get the information as quickly as we can. The public is desperate for more information, particularly in this community, a very small one. And the shooter is still at large, Josh. We have a photo of his car. But with that information and the photograph, how are police tracking him down and wherever that car might be? JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a massive manhunt that is underway involving now multiple agencies. This occurred, as you mentioned, in a small community. Then what happened was police called in what's called mutual aid. They bring in resources from other neighboring police departments.
The federal law enforcement officers are there as well as the state police, just providing every type of resource that they can in order to physically try to find this person, but also gather information behind the scenes regarding, you know, surveillance footage from the scenes of these two shootings, interviewing witnesses, trying to determine if anyone knew who the suspect was in an attempt to try to locate where he might be at this hour.
Of course, making that so much more challenging for law enforcement is this is happening under the cover of darkness, and they are trying to identify an apprehended shooter who has already killed 22 people, a mass murderer, that they are on the hunt for now, who was using a high-powered, assault-style rifle, according to police.
I want to focus there on that rifle as we look at that photo. This was released by authorities from the bowling alley shooting. You can see a high-powered, assault-style rifle with a large capacity, what's called a magazine. That's the contraption that holds the ammunition that goes in to the gun.
Why is that so important? Because Laura, as you and I have covered so many of these mass shootings, this is so often the weapon of choice for many of the nation's deadliest mass shooters because you have that high- powered velocity, you can also fire multiple rounds in quick succession, but also you don't have to reload as many times as you would with, for example, a pistol.
And so again, time and again, in so many of these cases, we've seen that type of weaponry. That, of course, is why authorities will be on high alert out there as they try to identify and possibly approach and apprehend this person. He is certainly armed with a very high-powered rifle at this hour, Laura.
COATES: I mean, just hearing the words "time and again" and just --
COATES: -- how frequently we have been here, and we're seeing this happening again now in Lewiston, Maine, you know, John, you have some new information, we're told, about where things stand right now.
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, police have identified the suspect, we're told by multiple law enforcement sources. His name is Robert Card. He's about 40 years old.
He, um -- and, you know, he has a -- he has a reason to look competent with this weapon. He's a former military. He is reportedly still in the military reserves. He is a certified firearms and tactics instructor which obviously makes him more proficient than even the average trained shooter. He is known to be attached to an Army Reserve unit up there in Maine, and he is still at large.
He is -- got a white Subaru. That's the car we've seen in that photograph. That apparently took him from one shooting location to another. That is registered to him. And police are obviously saturating the area, looking for Robert Card tonight as a person of interest in this case.
COATES: The idea, and I've heard you correctly, this is somebody with military experience, a reservist, someone who is well-trained in how to operate a weapon, in fact, teaches it. This complicates it extremely for law enforcement because, Josh, with that military experience, and you yourself have been a reservist in your own right, the idea that this is somebody from that community, it's stunning.
CAMPBELL: And particularly someone who not is just trained in the use of firearms but also trains other soldiers in how to manipulate, how to accurately fire a weapon, certainly challenges -- makes the situation more challenging.
We know, based on John Miller, who initially broke the number of victims here, sadly, that were killed, that gave us that insight very quickly that this was someone who was very precise with that high- powered, assault-style rifle to be able to be that accurate in that shooting. That is obviously very telling.
And you look at the video right there, the still shot that was released by authorities, you see someone in a tactical posture that indicates that it appears as though he knows how to manipulate that weapon. We now are indicating why that's the case. He's a firearms instructor, according to that reporting.
And then lastly, if you look at this picture, you can see this individual, looks like he's wearing cargo shorts. We -- I mean, not cargo shorts, cargo pants rather -- we have seen time and again in these mass shootings, mass shooters will come armed to the teeth with additional rounds of ammunition on their person so that when they expend one magazine, they can then quickly reload as they continue this morbid, murderous task of trying to indiscriminately kill people.
That makes this situation obviously that much more challenging for authorities who are hunting for the suspect. For example, if he was able to make his way into a wooded area, this is -- parts up there are very rural and secretes himself, for example, they're dealing with someone who was an accurate shooter, which obviously makes it much more dangerous for authorities who are out there on the manhunt at this hour, Laura.
COATES: A really important point because I want to remind the audience, it wasn't too long ago when we were looking in Pennsylvania, for example, and there was an active manhunt, and the idea of the darkness, the foliage, what the area may have looked like, the more rural it was, the more opportunities for somebody to hide, to evade capture. This is now going to be complicated all the more, Jonathan Miller, when you're talking about it's dark, you've got a rural area with a lot of tree cover, we understand, at some point, and somebody who has the military training, and also, obviously, a law enforcement officer who'd be trying to capture this person. Is there an even greater risk now?
MILLER: Well, there definitely is. And, you know, what we don't know -- what we do know is that, according to law enforcement in Maine, they believe this individual has already killed more than 20 people, wounded dozens more, and is a highly-trained tactician and expert in the handling of firearms who has military experience.
That begs the question, when they find him, what will his intentions be? We know certain things, and Josh Campbell is very aware of this from his FBI experience, that based on the Bureau's studies of offender characteristics in active shooter situations, you know, there are three notable outcomes, that the person is confronted by law enforcement and takes their own life, that the person is confronted by law enforcement and attempts to take their lives, or that the person surrenders.
And, you know, in this situation, given what has happened, this is going to extraordinarily dangerous for law enforcement even to make this approach.
COATES: Unbelievable. Josh, John, stick around. We're going to lean on your expertise here because this is a very fast-moving situation right now. Everyone, please stand by. We're going to now bring in an eyewitness to the events that unfolded outside of that bowling alley called the Sparetime Recreation Bowling Alley.
Nichoel Wyman Arel joins me over the phone. Nichoel, you and your family, I understand, you are currently sheltering in place as there is a police hunt for this shooter. How are you? How is your family right now?
NICHOEL WYMAN AREL, EYEWITNESS (via telephone): Right now, we're kind of exhausted from a lot of people reaching out. But we're just trying to help get it out there. Mainly the goal was to make sure that people knew what was happening when we were shooting.
When I was shooting the video, um, we were just trying to figure out, you know, there are so many police cars, so many ambulances, just, like, what is going on? Is there another bomb threat? You know, those happen often here and there, a gas leak or something. We're just kind of being nosy. And I was zooming in with my -- with my phone. I figured I'd record.
And then we started speculating, well, something -- maybe something major happened. And it wasn't until it was really confirmed that there was an active shooter, that we should probably clear the area because there was an active shooter at large and that roughly 20 people were down. And then we left right away. It was a friend and I, and my youngest daughter. We were on our way home from Girl Scouts.
COATES: You know, my own daughter is a Girl Scout, and I'm just trying to think of what it would be like to have her in the car. You were driving home as all this was unfolding. You as a mother are trying to get your bearings, trying to understand what the scene is, maybe not knowing what your daughter might be seeing or exposed to. Can you just walk us through what you were seeing in those moments as you're seeing a police presence and beyond?
WYMAN AREL: So, what you see on the TV resolution, you actually see it a lot better than I could see through my phone. It's on a smaller screen. I don't have the best eyes anyways. It's nighttime. I was zoomed in. Um, so we just saw like a lot of ruckus and stuff.
We did see, um, people getting patted down. But, um, we ended up realizing it looked like they were patting people down as they were coming out, just to make sure that they weren't, um, whoever was causing whatever was happening in there, because like I said, at the time, we didn't really know for sure. Um, and I guess --
COATES: What were the age of people that you were seeing coming out? We heard a report earlier --
WYMAN AREL: Oh, my gosh, there were kids.
COATES: -- today, potentially of children. You saw little children coming out?
WYMAN AREL: Yeah, there were kids that's like looking back, like -- that was probably the hardest part, seeing just families, families pouring out of there, um, and knowing that happened in there while they were just probably trying to have a family night.
COATES: How many people do you recall seeing? An estimate. I know it's difficult. About how many people did you see coming out? Do you think it was a dozen? It was a couple dozen?
WYMAN AREL: Oh, no, it was more than that. It was definitely more than a dozen. I'm so bad with something like this. But in the video, you see a lot of the people off to the side, too. They did kind of pile off to the side. Most of what you see in the video, when I kind of panned to the left, all those people standing there and stuff, like those were people that were inside.
COATES: Did you see anyone who was injured coming out of the bowling alley? Did you see any visible signs that somebody had been harmed at that point?
WYMAN AREL: Um, not as they were coming out but after. We did see some people with -- as we were actually leaving the scene. We did see somebody that looks like -- they had -- they had blood. All of them. We couldn't tell if that person was injured, themselves, but definitely the person in the middle of this person and another, they were helping her.
They, I'm not sure, kind of helping them and they were bent over a little bit, and it looked like they were actually bleeding from like their stomach or somewhere in the front area.
COATES: Did you see any of the people coming out of the bowling alley carrying anyone?
WYMAN AREL: Not that I can recall. I mean, it's all kind of a blur. I wasn't really taking in a lot of the details. I honestly did not think that this was going to be as big as it turned out to be, especially not going off the list in the way it has.
COATES: Nichoel, what did -- what did -- what did you tell your daughter who was with you? I just can't imagine, as a mother, how to make sense of it and to relay that to a child.
WYMAN AREL: I mean, we have open dialogue, you know. We talked about it. She was definitely scared. She's like -- she started crying.
She's like this is a scary world we live, mom. And I'm like, I know. And, um, you know, my older kids were talking about getting, um, backpacks for, uh, the ones -- the bulletproof backpacks, you know, because it seems like there's always some sort of threat at the school. Um, you know, it's just starting to be -- stuff like that gets real when something so big happens. It's like, okay, yeah, it really could be our school next.
So, we came home and she wanted to lock up right away. We locked up, locked out the windows, everything. I do have a firearm, so it made her feel better to know that I was carrying it around and had it all ready to go. Just -- she was scared somebody was going come in to our home. I told her, you got to remember that odds could be so slim for that, so try not to worry so much, but I will do whatever I can to make you feel better in the meantime, too.
COATES: Whatever you can to do that. It's unbelievable.
WYMAN AREL: Yeah.
COATES: And just -- are you getting alerts on your phone locally right now about any updates about whether they have found this person? What kind of alert are you getting right now?
WYMAN AREL: Um, so not that they've found him, they have identified him, who he is. As far as I know, I think he's still at large. We've just been getting the alerts that go through telling us to shelter in place, just stay home and be safe. You know, just kind of alerting us to the fact that it's still going on, like it's not safe out there right now.
COATES: Nichoel Wyman Arel, thank you so much. I'm really thinking about you and your daughter and just trying to, as everyone is, process this in real time. We've just shown on the screen as well a photograph of the suspect who has been identified. He is on the screen right now. Thank you so much, Nichoel, for taking the time to help us try to understand what has taken place. Everyone, look at the picture on your screen. Police officers are looking for more information. If this is somebody you know or recognize or have any information whatsoever in this very fluid situation, we are going to be covering every single angle and bringing you everything you need to know.
We're going to take a very quick break right now. Come back with us. We'll have more on the breaking news. A mass shooting tonight in Lewiston, Maine. Twenty-two people reported dead. A person of interest identified on that screen.
COATES: Our breaking news, the mass shooting tonight in Lewiston, Maine. Twenty-two reported dead. A person of interest has been identified. Let's go to John Miller right now. John, what are you learning about this person of interest?
MILLER: Well, we're learning a little bit more about the man that police are calling a person of interest in the shooting of 22 people and the wounding of dozens more. Robert Card, about 40 years old, he is a former military person, still associated with the Army Reserves, attached to a base up in Saco, Maine.
Additional background on him is that we are told he recently lost his job at a recycling center. This is one of those things that could have been a stressor that added to problems that he may have already been experiencing.
Law enforcement sources say he also was complaining to hear voices, that there was a threat to shoot up the military base at Saco where he had been attached, and that he spent two weeks at a mental institution, being evaluated in Maine, and then he was medically cleared to go and released. More recently, it appears, he lost his job.
So, we're seeing an individual who is -- got experience, has got tactical training with firearms, who has had some mental health issues, and who apparently or allegedly snapped tonight and put his experience and his training to work in a terrible, terrible way.
COATES: I mean, this -- I want to bring in Josh Campbell back to the conversation as well. There has been a person who has been identified. Josh, you just heard what John gave as additional information here. A potential stressor is one of the words that he used.
Take a step back with me for a second. As you're trying to understand either motive or the reasoning or how to track the person down, talk to me about what factors into the investigation. Why would a stressor, so to speak, be something that was important?
CAMPBELL: Yeah, it's a major question. You know, so many of these mass shootings that we've covered, we end up hearing that there was some type of warning sign by people who were in the shooter's orbit, whether that was a stress, whether that was potential mental health concerns.
And obviously, it's worth pointing out that, you know, the vast majority of people who face mental health challenges don't go on to become violent. That's important to state every single time. But we have seen in incidents where you have people who did see something but may not have felt -- you know, that they could do something about it or they wanted to come forward.
There will be questions for the U.S. Military, especially this reserve unit. All three of us on this screen right now have worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and are familiar with what is called the insider threat. It's something that government agencies, the military, is constantly on the lookout. We tend to think of that as, you know, people who are maybe stealing classified information, but that also includes people on the inside who might pose a harm to others.
And so, again, that's a question here. Did someone who was in this individual's reserve unit, were they the ones who initially precipitated this suspect undergoing mental health evaluation or was it something else? And what type of assessment was there? Again, I say that again because time and again, it's the warning signs.
We can focus on the motive, which we obviously will. We focus on the victims, which certainly we will.
CAMPBELL: But the one thing that I think, you know, as we have all these incidents that people kind of move on from, well, what were those warning signs that people out there watching right now may be wanting to look at, you know, in their loved ones and people at their place of business?
And so, major questions tonight for both the military and, you know, anyone else who may have known this individual if he had exhibited these signs.
COATES: John, Josh, please continue to bring us everything you have, the latest updates. Every piece of information is important for us to understand and present to this audience who is really interested and invested in finding out what has happened here and, of course, the lives that have already been lost and those who've been impacted as well.
Joining me now, Don Dostie. He actually lives one block from the Lewiston bowling alley. Don, no one ever thinks it could ever happen where they are. It has happened now in your community. What are you feeling tonight?
DON DOSTIE, LEWISTON RESIDENT: My first reaction was a lot of anger that it was happening in our community because Mainers, we are much better than this. And, you know, it's this -- you've had these interviews with people all over the country before in a mass shooting. You just can't believe it's going to happen in your hometown. And here we are. I got helicopters flying over my house with searchlights and it's unreal.
COATES: What are you hearing and seeing tonight? You said you have the helicopters. Did you hear -- you're only a very short one block away from the bowling alley. Did you hear gunshots tonight or anything?
DOSTIE: When I got home, we locked down, and I loaded my rifle and our handgun. So, I was busy doing that. I walked out on the deck for a short time, thought I heard an attack in the distance. But I think mostly what I've been hearing honestly is sirens. Like I said, the helicopters flying above. We have a view of main street. So, I just saw police car after police car after police car flying by and then ambulances going to the hospital.
COATES: Do you have a sense of how many ambulances you saw leaving that bowling alley?
DOSTIE: I only saw -- I didn't see them leave the bowling alley, but they were -- they were coming from that direction. I would -- they were at least two. As far as police cars, they had to be a dozen or more. I mean, there was -- there was quite a -- quite a bunch of law enforcement officers heading that way.
COATES: This bowling alley, I mean, it's a Wednesday night. Normally, that would be in many communities a bowling league night or others who are engaged in bowling at this particular time. Can you give us a sense about this bowling alley? Who do you normally see coming and going from this place? Is it something that even midweek is pretty busy or is it slower? What can you tell us?
DOSTIE: I've never been there on a Wednesday night, but I have bowled before and they do have teams. I listened to Cole (ph) earlier in the interview, and tonight was families. I mean, it's unbelievable. Just unbelievable that somebody would go in to a place like that and start shooting at families.
COATES: And really, it is unconscionable to think this is even happening in any community across the country and a block from your home. Are you told to shelter in place tonight? What are you being told?
DOSTIE: Well, we have. I've had my phone on and the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department has sent out bulletins to stay inside, stay safe, you know. So, we've been getting news on Facebook. I have friends who work in the hospital. My tenant upstairs actually works in the emergency department for CMMC. He came downstairs and told us there was an active shooter in the area. And that's when we locked down.
COATES: Don Dostie, thank you so much. We are thinking of you and your community. It's unbelievable this has happened. Thank you so much for giving us the information that you were able to do today.
DOSTIE: Yep, thank you.
COATES: We're going to be back with much more on our breaking news tonight. We know that 22 people have been reported dead in multiple mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine.
MIKE SAUSCHUCK, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: We truly do appreciate your patience and your partnership as we work with all of our partners across the law enforcement --
COATES: We are following the breaking news. This is press conference as you come in.
SAUSCHUCK: -- to address and investigate these violent crimes that occurred in the city of Lewiston this evening. As you know, this is experienced group. We won't have a lot of Q and A here this evening. This still is very fresh. It's new. It's new for all of us. And our focus is on the investigation and getting this right the first time. And we're doing that with our partners. We do appreciate you putting out information from time to time.
Moving forward, we would appreciate it if you got that information from us so that we knew that it was accurate. And that is incredibly important for all of us from an investigative standpoint and from a public safety standpoint, that we have a unified front with this information as we release it.
The delay in coming here with you now is simply because we want to confirm information from our end. We want to make sure the information we're giving you and the information that goes out to the general public is accurate.
So, we do have some information here that we will release. It is here on the podium. And this is a general caution to the public that approximately 6:56 this evening, a couple of shooting incidents occurred here with multiple casualties in the city of Lewiston.
And police are currently searching for a Robert R. Card, 4-4 of 1983 of Bowden (ph). Card is considered armed and dangerous. He is a person of interest, however, and that's what we'll label him at moving forward until that changes. If people see him, they should not approach Card or make a contact with him in any way.
The shelter in place order that currently stands in Lewiston remains. A vehicle, which was a vehicle of interest in this incident, was located in Lisbon, and we are now also asking residents in Lisbon to shelter in place. So, please share that information with communities as well.
If anybody sees Mr. Card or has any additional information reference to these two shootings in the city of Lewiston, please contact 911. If they see anything suspicious, please feel free to call their local authorities.
We have literally hundreds of police officers working around the state of Maine to investigate this case, to locate Mr. Card, who again is a person of interest and a person of interest only, and will continue to gather information so that we can bring the suspect to justice and ultimately seek prosecution down the road.
This release also includes a photo, which I believe I have seen from various sources. I would also let you know that we have created a reunification location, and that would be at the Auburn Middle School. So, in the neighboring community of Auburn at 38 Falcon Drive. Again, that's the Auburn Middle School.
And when I say reunification center or location, what that means is that if somebody has a question or they have a concern, they can't find a loved one, they believe that a friend or a family member may be involved in what occurred here tonight in Lewiston, that they could respond to that location. We will have some of our behavioral health counselors on site and will also be providing information as it becomes available to us.
As you can imagine and as you know, there are multiple scenes in the city to include multiple hospitals, multiple follow-ups, a lot of witnesses we're speaking with, and a lot of leads. The general public has been very cooperative and very forthcoming with information. So, I would expect if we have additional information, we'd be happy to come back and share it with you.
I know that from the city of Lewiston standpoint, probably going to close City Hall after this briefing and probably move everybody out. But again, we appreciate your partnership and your patience.
I would offer to take questions just so you know that I probably won't have answers. And as long as you know that going in, there's no disrespect intended in that. Feel free to ask a couple, and if I think we can get there, then I'm happy to answer those. If not, we do have work to do on behalf of our communities and that's our primary focus this evening.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): There are many specific figures about casualties out there. The sheriff, the sheriff told me up as many as 20. I just wanted to give you the opportunity to set the record straight on that.
SAUSCHUCK: Yeah, I do appreciate that. I know that there has been a lot of numbers out there. This is a very fluid situation. The last thing I want to come up is give you a number, and then three hours from now, change that in one direction or another. I don't have firm numbers on that. And when I do, we'll be happy to share those with you because it's an important piece of healing and it's an important piece of information for all of us to be aware of. But I don't have a firm number on that.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): At least 16, right?
SAUSCHUCK: I think I just answered that question, to say that I'm not going to give you any specific numbers. Um, there's been a lot of numbers all over the map all evening. I don't think that that's helpful because it doesn't help family members. It certainly doesn't help the community to see, well, they just said this and they said that. Um, so if you want accurate information, I'm prepared to give that to you when I have it. I don't have that right now.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Does the suspect have any known criminal history with law enforcement? Is he someone who has been on the radar of state police or local to your knowledge?
SAUSCHUCK: Well, Mr. Card, who we're speaking about right now, is a person of interest and a person of interest only, right? I'm not listing him as a suspect at this point, and we're not prepared to go into his background or anything else that we may be aware of. One more question.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): You're looking for one shooter, correct?
SAUSCHUCK: We are looking for this person of interest right now, and that's what we'll label, enlist, and speak about at this particular moment. When we have additional information, I'm happy to share that. So, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Again, thank you for your time. I know Assistant City Manager O'Malley (ph) will make arrangement, I think, to move everybody out of the building. So, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
COATES: We are coming out of a press conference by Mike Sauschuck, who is law enforcement spokesperson and personnel talking about what we have seen tonight. We know that there have been -- there has been a mass shooting that has happened in Lewiston, Maine.
What we learned from that press conference tonight, that there is a person of interest who has been identified, Robert Card. He is armed and dangerous. They are labeling him as a person of interest. They are not saying a suspect tonight, but they are telling the public not to approach or contact this person.
The car was located in Lisbon, about what, seven miles away from Lewiston, Maine, and they have located that particular vehicle. There is a reunification location in place at a middle school in a neighboring town as well for those who have information or those who have questions about their loved ones they are searching for.
They are asking the public's help and giving any information they have been forthcoming till now, but they are not addressing how many people may ultimately be included in that casualty number. He is not comfortable saying the number at this time. It's a very fluid situation.
Joining me now, CNN senior national security analyst and former Homeland Security official, Juliette Kayyem. Also here is CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe.
Sadly, the three of us are here yet again talking about this unbelievable tragedy, and it is so fluid. Juliette, let me begin with you. We've got information from John Miller. He has been reporting that the person of interest, Robert Card, is military reserves, a certified firearms and tactics instructor. Does that explain something to you about the number of victims we're hearing about?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah. So, I want to talk about the number. In most instances, law enforcement would probably have said at least a certain number, especially since we're reporting certain numbers. All news agencies are totally quiet on that issue.
I don't want to make much of it. It's just unique. It may suggest that, you know, of the many injured we had, that the number is going to get higher because of the many injured that we have.
The suspect or the person of interest, not called a suspect yet, the training suggests that with the right gun, this kind of damage, this kind of killing can be done.
It also suggests that he knows how to plan mass killings. In other words, he's moving from place to place, further away from what you might call a city, from a location. And now, in darkness, timing it perfectly, he's in the outer sides of Lewiston. He is now also reported to have been seen somewhere about 10 miles away.
This is someone who knows how to plan things like this. So, his kind of training is important. I just want to add one more thing for families in Maine. Bates College, I hear from a lot of moms in my job, is under lockdown. These are obviously precautionary. They don't know where he is. Two towns now under lockdown. At least one has to assume it's going to happen at least overnight.
And the mention of a family unification is also a family notification place. That's a euphemism. It's where people need to go. They will learn. They know that they can't find someone. And this is where they will learn the worst news of their lives, that they have lost someone today. So, we can never forget that these are the processes by which people learn the news, as family unification and notification places.
COATES: You know, I had a chance to speak with the president of Bates College this evening, Gary Jenkins, and he and I spoke, and he said that they are busy focused on the safety and security of their students and the campus.
COATES: Of course, it is on lockdown, as you've described just now. And thinking about this, this is a college town. They've got about 1,800 students as well to account for small liberal arts.
But I want to hone in on this point. Andy McCabe, that press conference, he was very clear that he was identifying this person as a person of interest, did not want to call this person a suspect, did not want to go into whether there was anything known about a criminal background or how this person may or may not have been known to law enforcement. Why do you think there was that decision made? ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, that's hard to say at this point, Laura. I mean, we have -- the three of us have sat and watched these press conferences very closely. I cannot even count how many times now. It's unbelievably sad part of our lives here in this country.
But I have to say, I would not rank that press conference among the more informative ones. I think they're just being incredibly careful. You know, they not even putting a general number on the number of fatalities. We've had a lot of numbers reported this evening already.
MCCABE: Some coming from very good sources, one from the city manager. So, I'm not sure why they weren't willing to say, as of this moment, this is what we think it is. It could change.
COATES: Well, he did say. I mean, it's that point. He did say that it could change. He was concerned, he said, about the possibility of that number and having to be held to that particular number in place. But why do you think, in terms of the investigation or the ongoing fluidity of this, is it irresponsible to provide that number or is it irresponsible not to have done so?
MCCABE: I don't think it's irresponsible to provide it, especially in a time when in this situation, you are relying on the public to help you identify this person, you're relying on the public to help you try to identify and locate his vehicle. They have been pretty forward leaning and pushing photographs out for that purpose, which I think is a great thing. So, combined with that, it's a little puzzling as to why they're being so reticent about the details.
MCCABE: But, however, with regard to calling him a person of interest rather than a suspect, it's a bit of a difference without a distinction, but nevertheless, it may reflect the fact that they don't have an absolute confirmed identity. They may have an eyewitness who identifies him from the photograph. They may have his name come back to that vehicle registration in one way or another.
So, my guess is they're pretty confident that's him, but for whatever reason, in an abundance of caution, they don't want to come out and say, this is our guy until they've confirmed it to some absolutely unimpeachable degree.
COATES: I mean, Juliette --
COATES: -- take a step back with us. Your expertise in trying to think about and addressing, frankly, some of the worst-case scenarios and anticipating it, and just the idea of trying to wrap one's mind around how a search like this could begin --
KAYYEM: Yeah. COATES: -- could go into place and be successful. What are the main things in terms of coordination? Who are the law enforcement officers? Is it one community?
COATES: Is that multiple cities that are coming together? Is the FBI, would they be involved in something like this already?
KAYYEM: Yes, yes, all of the above. So, basically, they've set up an incident command that will start with the local jurisdiction. We just saw them. I agree it was not the most illuminating press conference because you do want -- first of all, the community is in lockdown. They know what's going on. The community will be able to help identify the gunman.
So, you start with the incident command system. The good thing about them, they're well tested and they're expandable.
So, you're going to go to local, then other local jurisdictions, then to the state of Maine, which has a very, very active state police system. And then now, we've already known, I mean, this is my neighborhood, so to speak, there's mutual aid compacts amongst the New England states, they are driving resources. That's on the law enforcement side.
On the hospital side, we have some number and it's a horrible number, whatever it is. You have lots of people also injured. Two main hospitals in the area, they are going to be overwhelmed relatively soon, if not already.
So, I've been monitoring. You know, this is the thing we do. You know, medical helicopters are coming in. They are either bringing doctors or they are bringing -- taking patients out to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, this area.
So, that's the two pieces. You're going to have the federal overlay because we do not know motive at this stage. I know this community. It's not just Bates College. It is actually -- people think of Maine as being very sort of, you know, it is a predominantly white state. It has large immigrant communities. And here, there's a large Somalian community. So, you're going to want to look at the nexus of motivation, and that's going to begin as well.
So, all of the above. I want to put one other overlay. If it is true, in fact, that this person of interest, as John Miller is reporting, has a military background and is active duty, so to speak, that he is still aligned with the military in some way through the reserve system, you are going to have a whole system in place to them.
They are figuring out who he is, what his background is, and all the information John has been able to get is going to be relevant. So, these systems are tested, unfortunately, a lot in the United States. We know how they work. And the most important thing now is, of course, of the pool of people that are injured, how many can be saved by active medical procedures to get these patients to where they need to get right now to save their lives?
COATES: And Andrew, really quick, I mean, just thinking, if this person is not found, obviously, there is an ongoing security threat. Other communities could indeed be vulnerable to what has already happened and could be now vulnerable to what his plan, if there is one, could be.
But in what Juliette just listed, all the different entities, now you add on top of that, if he is, in fact, this actual suspect, he's a person of interest, they're very clear on that, who has the priority, who has the command if you have all these different people?
Andrew, I want to ask you about it and talk about that after a quick break here. We are going to come back to you in just a moment because that is the big question. With all the different entities at play, who's in control? Where's the head of the investigative team? We'll be right back.
COATES: We're following the breaking news tonight out of Maine where a desperate manhunt for an armed suspect is going on right now. Twenty- two people reported dead in multiple shootings. A person of interest has been identified by the name of Robert Card.
We are back now with Juliette Kayyem and Andrew McCabe. You know, we've been here before in the sense of covering these mass shootings. The fluidity is very obvious. We're going to get the most information we can, up to speed and accurate.
Andy, before the break, I asked you the question that Juliette had alluded to, which was, with all the different law enforcement personnel who will be present, all the different, whether it's local, state or federal, now you add on the military aspect of it, our reporting says this is a military reservist, how does that rank in terms of who leads this investigation now?
MCCABE: So, it's an interesting question. I think, you know, first and foremost, we have a mass multiple homicide investigation going on in Lewiston. The Lewiston Police, probably with the assistance first and foremost of county officials, are going to investigate that. Their focus right now is processing that crime scene, collecting the evidence, and returning the victims to their loved ones.
At the same time, we have a manhunt going on for this person of interest. He's already likely -- well, we know he has dropped his vehicle in Lisbon. So, he's already out of Lewiston. He lives in Bowdoin. So, he's probably heading out of the county. In all likelihood, the Maine State Police will oversee that effort again with the assistance of many other police entities, the FBI, federal, state, local police, in all the towns that this guy might go.
COATES: I mean, Juliette, this is in Maine, obviously very close to Canada.
COATES: Is the Canadians being alerted right now? Are they participating? Would that be expected?
KAYYEM: Yeah. So, he has dumped the car. He probably -- you know, chances are he has stolen another one. And someone may not know that their car is stolen. It's late at night. You might not know it until the next morning.
Chances are he is or chances are high that he is heading north only because it's -- this part of Maine, it is more rural if you go north. If he goes east, he is heading towards Massachusetts, New York. He probably doesn't want that. So, Canadian border and U.S. Border Patrol have incredibly rigorous lockdown procedures in terms of manhunts.
Look, all borders are porous, we know that. But you have along the border -- once again, I know this area well -- you have the main state police, you have federal authorities, and now you're probably going to get a Canadian overlay on the other side, Canadian Police, just making sure, you know, does he dump the car on the U.S. side and try to get across on foot?
Chances are he's not going to be -- you know, he's not going to do it lawfully. He's going try to get through the forest. So, all of these -- you know, these are the things that are trained for and the expectation that you have a manhunt, but it is nighttime and it's dark.
COATES: And it's active.
KAYYEM: And so, lots can happen in four or five hours until daylight when it will be easier to spot someone like this.
COATES: Juliette Kayyem, Andrew McCabe, please stay with us. We have a lot more. We'll be right back with much more on our breaking news tonight. Twenty-two people reported dead in multiple mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine. Police identifying a person of interest as this manhunt continues.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): This is CNN Breaking News.
COATES: I'm Laura Coates, and the tragic breaking news tonight, at least 22 people have been killed in multiple shootings in Lewiston, Maine. Dozens are injured.