Army Reserve and Maine Sheriff’s Department Neglected Warning Signs of Reservist’s Deteriorating Mental Health
Warning Signs Ignored
The Army Reserve and a Maine sheriff’s department ignored clear warning signs of a reservist’s deteriorating mental health, according to newly released records. These warnings, received more than five months prior to the deadly shooting in Lewiston, Maine, indicated that the reservist, Robert R. Card II, had become increasingly paranoid and expressed intentions of carrying out a shooting spree.
Explicit Warnings Overlooked
The warnings about Card’s deteriorating mental health were far more explicit than previously acknowledged by Maine officials. They were reported by Card’s family members, who believed he was hearing voices, as well as his Army Reserve unit in Saco, Maine. The Sheriff’s Office in Sagadahoc County, where Card lived, also investigated the claims.
Failure to Make Contact
Despite the explicit warnings, there is no evidence that any law enforcement officials made contact with Card before he carried out the deadliest mass shooting in America this year. The lack of action by authorities raises concerns about the effectiveness of the system in preventing such tragic events.
Card’s family members reported his growing anger and paranoia to a sheriff’s deputy in May. They specifically mentioned his false belief that people were accusing him of being a pedophile. When the deputy reached out to Card’s base in Saco, he discovered that there was already significant concern for Card’s mental health among his colleagues.
In July, Card was treated at a psychiatric hospital in New York for two weeks following an incident at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point. During this incident, Card made veiled threats and accused fellow soldiers of calling him a pedophile. These actions should have raised further alarm about his mental state and potential for violence.
In mid-September, Card made explicit threats to a friend, stating that he had guns and planned to “shoot up” the drill center in Saco and other locations. The Sheriff’s Office was made aware of these threats, prompting the Army Reserve to contact them for assistance. A sergeant was assigned to check on Card at his home in Bowdoin, Maine.
Lack of Contact
The sergeant attempted to make contact with Card at his home but received no response. Despite hearing movement inside the house, no one answered the door. The sergeant later spoke with Card’s commanding officer, who suggested that Card should have some time to himself. The officer also mentioned the Reserve’s efforts to help Card retire and receive mental health treatment.
Concern for Safety
The Army Reserve stated that they reached out to the Sheriff’s Office regarding Card out of an abundance of caution due to concerns for his safety. This demonstrates that Card’s mental health had been recognized as a potential risk, yet appropriate actions were not taken to address the situation.
Card’s brother was contacted by the sergeant and assured that he would work with their father to secure Card’s weapons and prevent his access to guns. However, the tragic events that unfolded just weeks later suggest that the response was inadequate and failed to prevent the devastating loss of life.
The Need for Change
This case highlights the urgent need for improvements in the system to prevent individuals with deteriorating mental health from accessing firearms. It is essential that law enforcement agencies and military units collaborate effectively to identify and address potential threats before they escalate into acts of violence.
Read More of this Story at www.nytimes.com – 2023-10-31 03:04:34
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