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Officials have sent a tissue sample from the brain of Robert Card, the gunman who killed 18 and injured 13 in Maine, to a Massachusetts lab to investigate any links between his military service and the shootings.
The state’s chief medical examiner is probing whether a brain injury from Card’s time in the Army Reserves might have influenced his behavior before the October 25 incident at a Lewiston bowling alley and bar.
The medical examiner’s office is taking this additional step to examine Card’s military background and actions thoroughly. Lindsey Chasteen, the office administrator, emphasized the importance of this investigation in an email, stating, “In an event such as this, people are left with more questions than answers. It is our belief that if we can conduct testing (in-house or outsourced) that may shed light on some of those answers, we have a responsibility to do that.”
Card was ultimately found deceased two days after the shooting, with the medical examiner ruling his death a suicide.
The brain tissue samples, now at Boston University’s laboratory specializing in brain trauma, could provide insights into conditions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), often associated with repeated head injuries in athletes. Due to confidentiality, the CTE Center can’t comment without family approval.
Card’s military experience included exposure to blasts while training cadets at West Point, New York, on weaponry, raising questions about its potential impact on his mental state. Before the shootings, he exhibited paranoid and delusional behavior, leading to a hospitalization last summer.
Card’s behavior, including his paranoid delusion of being accused of pedophilia, prompted restrictions on his access to weapons after his hospital stay. Despite these concerns and the existence of laws in New York and Maine to remove weapons during mental health crises, these measures were not utilized. Law enforcement in Maine had also been alerted by Card’s fellow reservists but failed to make contact with him during a welfare check weeks before the shooting.