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Laura Coates Live
Person of Interest on the Run After Two Mass Shootings; At Least 22 Killed, Dozens Wounded In Maine Mass Shootings. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired October 26, 2023 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Laura Coates. There's another tragic night in America after another mass shooting. 22 people reported dead and multiple shootings in Lewiston, Maine sources telling CNN that 50 to 60 people are reported injured though it's unclear how many are injured due to gunfire.
The police have identified 40-year-old Robert Card as a person of interest in the shooting. He is described as a certified firearms instructor and a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.
Law enforcement officials are saying in May that they also say that he recently reported mental health issues including hearing voices and made threats to shoot up a National Guard base in Saco, Maine. They warned that he should be considered armed and dangerous.
There is right now a very intensive manhunt that is underway. Police are asking residents to shelter in place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE SAUSCHUCK, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Police are currently searching for Robert R. Card 44 of 1983 of Bowdoin. Card is considered armed and dangerous. He is a person of interest, however. And that's what we'll label them that moving forward until that changes. If people see him they should not approach card or make contact with him in any way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Joining me now the mayor of Auburn, Maine, Jason Levesque. Remember, Auburn Middle School is the location of the reunification center, identified by that Commissioner of Public Safety at that press conference just a little while ago.
Mayor, thank you for joining us tonight. This is an unbelievable tragedy that's unfolding. What can you tell us about that reunification center tonight? What are you hearing from members of your community?
MAYOR JASON LEVESQUE, AUBURN, MAINE: Thank you for those well wishes and having me on. I mean, we're hearing a lot obviously, it's a very trying emotional time here for all of us, seeing people that have known for years coming in.
But thankfully, this is a reunification. So, there's a lot of pauses a lot of happiness coming out of this for what it's worth. So you -- but there's a lot of horror stories show but I think more telling is what you don't hear. And that's the silence coming from people that were there witnessing everything.
COATES: The idea of there being some joy and the reunification. Then you have of course the bitter sweetness of those who are waiting to hear about what happened to their loved ones. You recognize members, the community. Are you seeing anyone that is learning the fate of their loved ones?
LEVESQUE: Yes, I am. I am. And it's hard. It's hard for me. It's hard for them. It's hard for our entire community. I mean, you know, Auburn and Lewiston are side by side. Where a river separates us combined are populations around 60,000. You can't help but not knowing people who knows someone. So this is going to impact every corner of our community.
COATES: Are they saying the witnesses tonight who are at the center? Are they saying what happened in the bowling alley or the restaurant?
LEVESQUE: They are. I'm talking with a few of them. You know, and it's really, again, it's almost discombobulated as pieces. And. you know, there's a gentleman I just talked with playing cornhole and he goes, I heard a couple pops. And another couple pops and I didn't think anything of it, it's Halloween.
And then he started seeing everybody scream and move. And you know, that's -- that was a piece of that evening for him and his and his side. Thankfully, he was fine. So we're happy for him.
COATES: And you must have others who are describing even saying things up close. Are you hearing from people who were eyewitnesses to those who were killed?
LEVESQUE: Yes, I am. But some of those things shouldn't be sure.
COATES: It must be very traumatic mayor to think about how you began your day as the members of the community began their day, their evenings. And where we are right now. It's not lost on me that this center is a middle school and we're learning that children were present at that bowling alley, at the very least, our children at the reunification center as well.
LEVESQUE: There was a couple, yes. With their parents, thankfully. So that was very smooth for them. I mean, it's as smooth as smooth can be. Everything here is traumatic, so you have to put it in kind of perspective I suppose different levels of trauma.
There was, you know, there were some youth that were injured. I will say that, and hopefully we'll find out more as the night and the day goes on.
COATES: Do you -- can you give me a sense of the of the ages of the people who are present at that bowling alley?
LEVESQUE: Yes, a sense anywhere from probably 12 to 90. And everywhere in between.
COATES: When you're hearing the people who are going to the center, can you tell me when they're going? Are people going there on the one hand to get information, or they are part of a collective grieving process of what has happened and the trauma of it all looking for that community? Who are you finding at this center?
LEVESQUE: Well, I mean, we really find it's very mean, we're doing a really well, good job, if you would, organizing everything and making sure that, you know, communication lines are open, and they're consistent.
And so when they're coming in here, you know, we have Shock Trauma specialists on staff, we have members of our religious community here as well, providing counseling and support. And -- but it's really it's in, it's out, it's, you know, kind of relief if you would, and then go home, go to bed. Tomorrow is another day, and we got to move on. We have to deal with healing on an individual level, as well as the community level, and that's going to start starting now. But it's really going to start tomorrow.
COATES: And so many ways, Mayor, the adrenaline that you and your community are running on, is probably guiding a lot of what's happening right now. And there's the realization, as it settles in that this happened outside of your community. Of the younger people who were injured, how did you know they were injured, and some come in, or you were told this?
LEVESQUE: I talked to one -- I talk to his grandfather, actually, who was there with him, and I know this family, and it's good family. Thing is, you know what, this is Maine. This is Central Maine, where -- we persevere. We can take a lot. We're going to get through this, and we're going to get through this together. I think that's an important thing.
So we're going to really focus in on that here in the next couple of days. We're going to have two people that need to be hugged. Absolutely. And we're going to rally around and we're going to come up better. If we come on to stronger, more unified community. We're going to mourn her loss. Laura do it together as a family.
COATES: That sense of community is so important at a time like this and any other time. I am curious from people who might not know Central Maine very well, or your community of Auburn in particular. Is there a medical facility in your town? Or if it's not, are there -- is there a closer one, where are people going? LEVESQUE: You know, thankfully, we have a Central Maine Medical Center, which is a great trauma unit. And they were, I would say, a mile away from the incidences, maybe two. So they're well prepared. They were the main triage place. We also within 30 minutes of Maine Medical Center in Portland. Wwe have, you know, Maine general and Augusta another 30 minutes away. And we also have a very extensive lifeflight operation too. So we can helo folks around very quickly if they need urgent care and they have been active tonight.
COATES: It's a Wednesday night in your community. Was there a special event happening at the bowling alley or the restaurant where there would have been more people than normal?
LEVESQUE: It's normal Wednesday.
COATES: So there was just over there. Wow.
LEVESQUE: Kids bowling in a bowling league, you know, before they go to bed, go get up for school tomorrow. It's a normal day.
COATES: There's a police presence, obviously looking for this person of interest. How looped in have you been and what information has they provided for you for members of your community to aid in the capture of this person?
LEVESQUE: We have constant communication going on with the community right now obviously through the media, through our own municipal communication tool 911. You don't have notifications, we have pictures. We have names. We have areas.
We're working and it's not just Auburn or Lewiston. We have law enforcement officials from all over the state right now, including national assets too. So, saying looped in as much as I need to be looped in on this one. I think our first priority right now, mine is making sure people are unified, making sure that the mourning process can happen. I have full faith and trust in our law enforcement to bring him to justice very swiftly and decisively.
COATES: Mayor Levesque, thank you so much for being here. I know you don't want to get ahead of what the families are going through. The mommy and me honestly has just got to ask. Are you aware that any lives of children have been lost this evening?
LEVESQUE: No. No I'm not and that I hope and pray that it doesn't come to that.
I know of one high schooler went to high school with my son who's 17 that was wounded. And you know, my prayers are out to him and his family, who I know. And I hope that's the extent of it.
COATES: We certainly do as well and hope that he will recover or the wounds such that you believe he will.
LEVESQUE: Yes, absolutely. That initial report, I just got back family about 30 minutes ago. It's very promising.
COATES: Oh, thank God. Mayor, thank you so much for taking the time. I know this is a very difficult time. The word that sticks in my mind you spoke about earlier was the empathy and providing it and understanding it and the community that is surrounding all these families in the community, that surrounding you now as well. Thank you so much.
LEVESQUE: Thank you. Good night.
COATES: I want to bring in CNN's Josh Campbell. He's a former Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI. Josh, admitted, this surreal. He -- just hearing that mayor say these words, sticks with me. It was just a normal Wednesday, Laura, just a normal Wednesday.
So many of these stories or many of these mass shootings begin with that very day, that very thought in so many communities across this country. And tonight, early morning in the hours in this community, there is a manhunt underway tonight. Josh, what do we know about this person of interest? We're seeing a picture of him on the screen.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now you're right, Laura, you know, to further that line of thinking, I mean, 22 lives 22 People woke up this morning, and they're no longer with us. You have yet another community here in the United States, that is grieving the loss of their own, again, 22 people, numerous others who are injured, who are receiving treatment after authorities say that this 40-year-old individual went to two particular places that we know of, there was a bowling alley, there was a bar and, you know, you mentioned how this could happen anywhere, people just living their lives. Think about those venues, I mean, places of entertainment, places of joy that were struck by gunfire.
Now what we're learning about this shooter is that he according to law enforcement sources, telling CNN is a military reservist in the U.S. Army. He was a firearms instructor. And so this is someone who would presumably have great proficiency in the use of a firearm.
We show that photo that we had, this is what police have put out. This is an image of the suspect at one of those locations, holding that high powered assault style rifle. The reason why we're showing this is because authorities want this image to get out there with people see this person and know who this is or know anything about him his whereabouts.
Certainly, they want to hear from you. And certainly for members of the community as this manhunt continues. If you see an individual matching this description, authorities are saying you should be considered armed and extremely dangerous do not approach him.
And you know, in addition to those victims that we talked about, Laura, you now have numerous members of this area of this community that are sheltering in place certain areas in a state of lockdown again, just to ensure their own safety as this manhunt continues.
Finally, this far, we've learned no new leads about where precisely authorities are looking. We know that federal state, local law enforcement have flooded into that area to try to assist with this manhunt. But of course, this is happening now in the middle of the night under the cover of darkness, making that that much more difficult, but extremely serious situation ongoing in vain.
COATES: You know, you made a point that is so astute, I really want to underscore here about why the pictures and the why the law enforcement community is showing the picture, not only the picture you see on your screen right now of the person of interest, but what that person of interest looks like today, right. You can see if you put it back up for a second, the hair length is longer than the picture on the screen, perhaps the build could be different, the facial hair seems to be distinct as well and different.
So just looking at the style, and what the person looks like in the moment can be really the difference for people to look and say, do I know the person in the photograph to the bottom left of my screen? Or have I seen the person that is in the center of this image highlighted right now, this is why it's important to have it in real time.
You've also mentioned, Josh, it is the middle of the night. It is dark. You're talking about communities in Central Maine that are not skyscrapers everywhere. We're talking about trees, thick forests, potentially. How does that complicate the manhunt as so many main communities right now are locked down?
CAMPBELL: No, it's extremely difficult. I mean, the sad reality is when you have a manhunt type situation, the way authorities get on to that individual if it's not through their own intelligence, it's either through a sighting from the member of the public or that individual tries to engage another target, another group of people, which is certainly something that authorities don't want to happen and so they're scouring this area.
But again, this making it much more difficult that you have these towns surrounded by a rural area and so authorities have a lot to contend with coupled with the fact that you know, we've been reporting, this is someone who had weapons proficiency that was a firearms instructor.
And so if he is able to perhaps accrete himself in the woods or, you know, around that area in a rural area, authorities themselves have to be on guard. If you have someone with that kind of firearms proficiency, they have to be careful searching this area.
And so this is going to have to be very methodical. But certainly authorities now continue to bring in all these resources, not only the officers there on the ground. We're also told that they are searching by air due to the proximity of this location to the nation of Canada. We could expect that border guards there also on alert with this individuals photograph just to be alert just in case they do happen to detect them.
But the last thing I wanted to circle back to, you know, we often don't try to give publicity to these shooters and just, you know, show their faces and talk about their names. But it's so important at this time, because we know that tips from the public do help.
I mean, just two years ago, I was in -- I've covered so many mass shootings. You and I both have Laura, but I was in outside of Chicago and Highland Park, Illinois authorities did just what they're doing here. They push the suspect information out. It was a concerned member of the public who saw that in the media called police authorities, were able to quickly launch a rapid response SWAT team and take that person into custody.
So, if you are watching this right now, do not discount your ability to provide information to authorities that they can go on. And then after this resolution happens, however this turns out, we know that typically there are three ways either the suspect will be taken into custody peacefully, sometimes they are engaged by police and are shot sometimes they opt to take their own life again (INAUDIBLE) all of us and police are certainly hoping for the most peaceful resolution they can to bring this person into custody.
But there going to be a lot of questions about where their potential warning signs with the suspect. We've been reporting that he apparently had some type of mental health issues, I'll say, as I've been saying throughout the night, and as we always say, just because someone has a mental health issue, that does not mean that they will go on to commit a crime. We do not want to stigmatize mental health.
But that's important because we live in this era where particularly if this was an Army Reservist, they're on guard for the so called insider threat. You're supposed to pay attention to potential warning signs like this, as anyone in the community should do.
So, we're going to have to look for those warning signs to figure out was there something there that authorities, you know, could have gotten on early on that of course, no comfort to those who are grieving the loss of their family members or loved ones or friends tonight. There's certainly a lot of work ahead of police moving forward as this man continues, Laura.
COATES: And grieving the loss of a sense of security and safety.
COATES: Josh Campbell, thank you so much. We're going to take a very quick break and come right back with more on our breaking news tonight, a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. 22 people reported dead and the police are searching for a person of interest.
COATES: There's more on the breaking news tonight out of Maine, city officials telling us that at least 22 people have been killed in two separate mass shootings, one at a restaurant and another at a bowling alley with children inside. There's a massive manhunt underway right now for a person of interest.
And they have a name, Robert Card. He is on your screen right now.
Here with me CNN senior national security analyst and former homeland security official Juliette Kayyem. Also here CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe.
Juliette, I want to begin with you because we've been hearing all night that these communities around in Lewiston included they are on lockdown. They're being told to shelter in place. This complicates things for law enforcement. Why?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: There's a variety of reasons why. So first of all, I do want to say how unsafe this is for law enforcement. We -- I have an analogy or we have some history here. This is the somewhat similar to the Boston Marathon bombings in which you have a community that goes on lockdown.
Law enforcement are then -- are also vulnerable because you have a person or suspects that are going to kill rather than and willing to kill law enforcement as well.
The challenge now for the community that is under stress and dealing with this tragedy, and now under lockdown, we see the pictures of Bates College and other areas that are under lockdown is when do you lift it if you don't find him, and this is a challenge we had here in Massachusetts, as well.
If he's not found by tomorrow morning, say eight or nine or 10, you can't keep communities locked down for this long. It's just not -- it's just not sustainable. And then you're going to have to open up also knowing that this very violent person is still amongst them. This is going to be the challenge for the community, for the state, for the governor.
What we do know now though, at least in the last couple of minutes is the suspect has ties to other states, including Maine and Massachusetts. And so you have even other states to point as we are here in Massachusetts. State Police at the borders to sort of, you know, make sure that he's not making his way elsewhere in the United States. You also have that, you know, sort of fortification in Canada as well.
But this issue of lockdowns, it's not just in the United States. European cities have done lockdowns after major terror attacks. And even when they don't find the terrorist, they do have to open. We're going to have to manage that because it will still be a risk, of course for the community. But that is, you know, not now but sometime tomorrow, they're going to have to make a decision about how long you can keep the community locked down.
COATES: I mean, Andrew, on that point, if a lockdown is in place which it is right now, that means that people are not going to be walking around. So this person of interest could conceivably also be sheltering in a location so as not to draw attention to himself as the lone person, not in law enforcement uniforms, walking around, provided he's in a place, but you also have this fear that Juliette speaks about.
So as law enforcement, how do you make that decision as to when to lift it? Is it in different parts of a community and you're searching inside and out of different houses and beyond? Or are you lifting it potentially all at once?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So I think the easiest way to think about this is to think back to and I'm sure you remember this well, because you and I spent an evening standing where this man was arrested. But speaking about the manhunt in Pennsylvania about a month ago, similar guidance was pushed out to the communities affected after that prison escape, it wasn't an all -- it kind of turns from an all-out locked down to just a cautionary guidance to the community to say like, you should stay in your residence with the doors locked as long as you can, and you should report any kind of sightings to law enforcement.
The other side of that coin is it does, as you said, Laura, forces that person who is on the run to also seek cover at least during daylight hours, either in heavily wooded areas, or potentially by invading a home where a family might be present. And we know that's exactly what happened in Pennsylvania, right.
The individual in that case broke into numerous houses, one of them there was a family sleep at the time. They knew he was down in their kitchen. So, you could potentially force a very volatile situation like that.
I think one of your one of your earlier guests tonight said we should be prepared for a longer term man hunt, that may take several days or even longer to find this individual. And I think that's probably a good way to think about it. That's not what anybody wants. But we may be in that situation already. We know he's been able to move away from Lewiston. We know he's dropped, dumped his car, he may have been able to pick up or steal another form of transportation.
But he is definitely on the run from what he knows will be a very serious and dangerous interaction with law enforcement in which he is in the best case scenario, looking at spending the rest of his life in jail. So you have a very dangerous and now desperate person on your hands.
COATES: I mean, Juliette, in addition to all the things Andrew just mentioned, if we're seeing these alerts on our phones and our televisions, whoever you're consuming it, he likely also has a cell phone, likely also has access to the fact that he has been identified, at least as a person of interest. How does that change the manhunt?
KAYYEM: Yes. So I mean, one of the interesting in the, I mean, that perversely, but you know, is the extent to which he wanted to be identified. So this is going to go into sort of how we think about active shooters, you know, he doesn't want to be killed. He doesn't commit suicide. He's totally exposed. He knows these pictures are being taken.
He knows that this is part of what Andrew and I have talked about the sort of the performative nature of these mass killings. Now, you know, they get, each one gets sort of, look at me, look at me, whether they're announced online beforehand, or they call their father and say, I'm going to do this. This is now truly performative. I mean, he --
COATES: And by the way, his face is not covered.
KAYYEM: He knows.
COATES: His face is not covered.
COATES: He knows this at this point.
KAYYEM: He totally knows it. He knows that within five seconds someone's identifying him because of those pictures. They know -- he knows we're going to know his history -- the military history, his mental health history, whatever it is. And we now know his family, his friends, whether he was seen anyone, all of those things. We know he has ties to other states, through family or through work.
So this that -- it's that piece of it, that would be worrisome to me from a law enforcement perspective, because does he want the end to be performative as well? This is the nature of these guns, the nature of a pool of young men, generally, young ish men generally, you know, almost always white in these cases, that these become, I keep saying performative, but sort of a theater for them. And so my worry looking at this is as Andrew was saying, if we're going to have a longer --
COATES: I think you're frozen for a second there. Let me get to Andrew, though, on that very point, because I'm wondering what you make of the locations here. I mean, the performative aspects that Juliette is speaking of is really striking. And it makes your spine sort of shake and shiver for a moment thinking about the psychology that would go into engaging in something like this. But what do you make of the selection of the locations? Do you have insight as to what that might be indicative of?
MCCABE: I don't think we have much insight into that right now. What we do know historically is that the locations are very rarely ever completely random. They're typically chosen for one reason or another. Sometimes the shooter is trying to access a certain pool of victims. If you have a shooter, you know, we've seen shooters who are made -- motivated by racial animus and they go to stores and neighborhoods where they feel like they can find the people they're looking for.
Sometimes we've got -- we had a shooter in Memphis a few months ago who went back to the school that she had attended as a child.
So, my guess is that these two locations have some sort of significance or meaning to this shooter. But, honestly, looking at it at this point with as little as we know about his background, it's hard to say what that is.
On the surface appear to be two really unconnected, not even very closely located with each other. They're about four miles apart. One is a bowling alley, the other is a bar. It's hard to think about those two separate places sharing the same kind of groups of victims.
So, we really need to know more, Laura, about what his intent was, who he -- who or what he may have been looking for. But I suspect that once we learn that, the significance of those locations will become clear.
COATES: And, by the way, it's not just for the sake of curiosity. Part of that is because this is an ongoing threat and understanding why he may have chosen certain targets might give insight into either where he might be going next or what he's looking at, or give some insight into, of course, the question everyone is asking tonight, which is also the why.
Andrew McCabe, thank you so much, Juliette Kayyem as well.
We're going to be right back everyone with much more on our breaking news tonight, 22 people reported dead in multiple mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine.
The police are hunting for what they are calling a person of interest, 40-year-old Robert Card. And they say, do not approach, do not make contact if you see this individual. They say he is armed and dangerous.
COATES: We have more in our breaking news coverage tonight. Police say that two mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, one at a restaurant, another at a bar, have left at least 22 people dead and dozens more injured. Central Maine Medical Center confirmed that this is a mass casualty shooting event and they are working with other area hospitals to try to take in patients.
I want to bring in Dr. Anthony Cardillo who is an EMS director at Glendale Venice Medical Center. Doctor, thank you for being up with us this evening.
I mean, the scope of what is at stake tonight, what has to happen in these facilities to assess and identify, what level of care to provide, how to prioritize it, it is overwhelming to think about, let alone to actually execute in this way. When you see the kind of weapon that was used in this shooting, what kind of wounds would you expect the patients to have?
DR. ANTHONY CARDILLO, EMS DIRECTOR, GLENDALE VENICE MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, a great question. Certainly, even when we have one victim of a shooting with this caliber weapon it exhausts all of our resources. We saw -- we only have central Maine Medical Center, level three trauma center, the closest level one trauma center is Maine Medical Center Portland, 45 minutes away.
This all starts with EMS arriving at the scene having mass casualties and, unfortunately, having an unsecured scene. You have a scene where a suspect is still at large, meaning that there are patients languishing, dying, waiting for EMS to get to them, to save them and rescue them and just start treating them. And you can't do that because the scene is not secure.
So, it starts with EMS trying to secure that scene and get access to those patients. Once they get access to those patients, the trauma teams are activated in all the local hospitals and then the EMS professionals start doing triage. They determine, unfortunately, who cannot be saved versus who has a chance of survival. That triage process begins and they must have come across dozens of patients if this amount of people have been killed and have been wounded. That is a tragedy for any EMS personnel to encounter. It's very challenging to start that process of triaging.
Then it's a question of which medical centers do you bring these patients to. We do activate the medical centers to be from the field, so they are getting all of the doctors, all of the nursing staff, geared up, ready, and able to receive these patients at the centers.
Also trying to triage where do patients go? Do they hop on an airlift and go to Maine Medical Center in Portland, or can they be brought safely to Central Maine where maybe the injuries aren't as severe?
We also activate these trauma teams. 24-hour trauma teams come in. These are a combination of surgeons, anesthesiologists, radiologists, emergency physicians that are there to deal with the sheer number of patients.
As you mentioned, with this kind of weapon, what we see are very, very high velocity, high caliber injuries that usually traverse the entire body, take out a lot of tissue along the way, extensive organ damage. These are patients that are going to be tied up in the operating room for hours and hours, even if it's only one patient is going to exhaust the system. When you have this many patients coming in, it's all hands on deck.
Every physician is being called to come in and help try to manage these patients. And they're also going to be long-term consequences the next couple of days for these hospitals just trying to recover from the amount of just work they had to do in these coming hours.
COATES: What you describe is so extensive to consider. And a lot of these decisions are done in a matter of minutes and maybe seconds at times to assess those different levels of treatment that can be provided. So, if you're talking about the treatment, especially with the number you're talking about, there's not even, for lack of a better word, the luxury to spend the amount of time that you would normally do on a surgery to try to correct.
Are these -- would these be done in parts then where you're stabilizing initially and then going on to other patients and then returning to figure out what comes next?
CARDILLO: Exactly. It's all about stabilization. You can imagine the very difficult and sometimes heart-wrenching decisions that all of the medical providers have to make starting with EMS when they start triaging these patients. And, unfortunately, there are patients that just we cannot save and we move forward very quickly to try to save as many people as possible. And it is about stabilizing and just getting as many people stabilized as possible as they're pouring into the emergency departments.
I will say that almost every, if not all medical centers throughout America that are level one, two and three trauma centers, we have very dedicated protocols for training and sort of predicting these mass casualties.
So, we all have mass casualty simulations where we'll spend one day every several months where we actually have fake patients, actors that are coming in and they are, unfortunately, replicating these sorts of incidents so we can prepare beforehand to make sure all the systems are in place to save as many people as possible.
You can just imagine the chaos that happens when you're working in a hospital setting and out of nowhere you get that call that we have potentially 20, 30, 40 severely injured patients putting the resources together without preparation would be a disaster.
So, a lot of preparation goes in and all EMS directors are responsible for running those simulations at their hospital.
COATES: Dr. Anthony Cardillo, just thinking about all that goes into in the preparation and the planning, it is just gut-wrenching to think about what must go into the planning and then this happens, and you hope that the worst case scenarios never come into fruition, and I thank you for your time this evening.
CARDILLO: Thank you.
COATES: There's more on our breaking news tonight. The mass shooting in Maine, 22 people are reported dead. This is a developing story. The information is fluid. We are staying on all of it and we'll be live with more after a short break.
COATES: We're back covering the breaking news. A manhunt is underway in the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. 22 people reported dead at a restaurant and also a bowling alley. And another 50 to 60 people injured, according to law enforcement. You're seeing the person of interest identified on your screen, Robert Card.
Back with me now, CNN's Josh Campbell. Josh, you have some information about Maine's gun laws. What have you learned?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. We cover these incidents time and time again.
And, you know, people say, well, it's too soon to talk about, you know, laws or guns, it gets political, but we have to talk about the state of the world. Because in any of these incidents you want to understand how someone got access to a firearm.
And just to go through kind of what we're learning about the state of Maine now, Maine is a state that has received a lot of criticism from the gun safety movement particularly because it does not have an assault weapons ban.
Now, looking at that weapon on your screen right there, that wouldn't be classified as an assault weapons. We would describe that as an assault-style weapon, a semi-automatic weapon that requires you to pull the trigger you know for each round but still you can fire a lot of rounds in a short amount of time. And so that weapon would not be inherently illegal in the state of Maine.
Looking at some of the laws, Maine also does not require background checks on all gun purchases. Now, if you go and buy a firearm from a federally licensed dealer, a gun store, you go through the federal government's background check process. But if you're buying from a private individual or someone, you know, you met online, there are a lot of loopholes there as it pertains to these gun laws.
And then, you know, we've heard about red flag laws, for example, and that refers to these extreme protection orders, where if you have a loved one who might be in crisis or if law enforcement observed someone who might be in crisis that owns a firearm, they can petition a court to have that gun removed. That does not exist in the state of Maine.
And then, obviously, we can talk about the mental health aspect here as well, some interesting details there about Maine. They do require that the state has to report if someone is involuntarily committed, that has to be reported to the department of public safety.
And so there will be a lot of questions here about how this individual actually got this weapon based on the reporting that we've been doing about some of his prior mental health issues.
COATES: I don't know if we know this but oftentimes when you have a state that has say a red flag law, which we know is not the case, I believe, in Maine, even if there's a mandatory reporting about the mental health concerns you're talking about involuntarily commitment, it doesn't often lead to or necessarily lead to confiscation of one's weapons, right?
CAMPBELL: No, that's right. And the timeline is going to be so important. When did he obtain this weapon? You know, as we've been reporting, he was in the military. That gun itself not inherently illegal. But there is that question about if he had these mental episodes and he went under some type of mental health assessment, as our reporting, you know, was that ever reported to state officials and what would the ramifications have been?
Now, it will be interesting to watch moving forward because we hear a lot after these mass shootings, particularly on the right, saying, well, no, this isn't a gun issue, it's a mental health issue. But that really raises the question, well, what's being done to make more strict the mental health aspects of some of these laws?
So, a lot of questions, and, obviously, you know, are focused on the victims here and this incident, certainly this manhunt and, you know, law enforcement getting this person off the street. But each of these incidents is something that law enforcement studies because they want to learn in the end how to prevent the next one.
COATES: Right. And you looked at that gun and you mentioned the idea of having to pull the trigger. Some weapons could obviously be modified in some way to be able to make it easier to fire. We don't know, looking at this perhaps right now, whether that has happened in that case. So, we'll have to wait and see.
But how will law enforcement -- I know we have a limited time, but how will law enforcement use that gun and the shells to track down a shooter?
CAMPBELL: Yes. So, each of those weapons, when you fire, that gun will eject a shell. That can be analyzed by the ATF, by their analysts. Each gun leaves an independent, kind of like a fingerprint, its own unique signature on a shell casing. And so that's been used a lot to try to track weapons back.
So, there are a lot of questions about the firearm itself. And, again, as you mentioned, which is a really great point, Laura, that even if this was a semi-automatic weapon, there are all kinds of devices that people can buy aftermarket in order to increase the rapidity, how fast that gun actually fires. And, of course, we're talking about lives here.
COATES: Josh Campbell, thank you so much, so important to think about all that is at stake. We're continuing to learn a lot more.
We're going to be right back with more of our breaking news coverage. At least 22 people killed in two mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, and police are hunting for the person of interest.
COATES: Before we leave you tonight, I want you to listen to what an eyewitness told me, who saw the events that unfolded outside of the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley tonight.
Nichoel Wyman Arel was on her way home with her daughter from a Girl Scout meeting when she saw police lights and people running.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COATES: What were the age of people that you were seeing coming out? We heard a report earlier today, potentially of children. You saw little children coming out?
NICHOEL WYMAN AREL, EYEWITNESS: Yes, there were kids. That's like looking back, like that was probably the hardest part, seeing just families, families pouring out of there and knowing that 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?
AREL: Oh, no, it was more than that. It was definitely more than a dozen. I'm so bad with something like this. But, I mean, 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 pan 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?
AREL: 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 looked like 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?
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 in Lewiston the way it has.
COATES: Nichoel, 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.
AREL: I mean, we have open dialogue, so we talked about it. She was definitely scared. She started crying. She's like, this is a scary world we live in, mom. And I'm like, I know. And my older kids were talking about getting backpacks for -- the bulletproof backpacks, because it seems like there's always some sort of threat at the school.
She's starting to be -- something like that gets real when something so big happens, like, okay, yes, it really could be our school next. So, we came home, and she wanted to lock up right away. We locked up, locked up 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. She was scared somebody was going to come into our home. And 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: It's really unbelievable what we are seeing tonight. Thank you all for watching. Our live coverage continues after this short break.