Mass Shooter’s Brain Injury Linked to Deadly Maine Attack

Robert Card, the Army reservist responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in Maine history, had significant evidence of traumatic brain injuries, according to a brain tissue analysis released Wednesday by researchers from Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center.

The analysis, released by Card’s family, revealed degeneration in nerve fibers that allow for communication between different brain areas, inflammation, and small blood vessel injury. Dr. Ann McKee of the CTE Center stated, “While I cannot say with certainty that these pathological findings underlie Mr. Card’s behavioral changes in the last 10 months of life, based on our previous work, brain injury likely played a role in his symptoms.”

Card, 40, had been an instructor at an Army hand grenade training range, where he was believed to have been exposed to thousands of low-level blasts. On October 25 last year, he shot and killed 18 people in a bowling alley and at a restaurant and bar in Lewiston, Maine, before taking his own life.

The shooter’s family members apologized for the attack in the statement, expressing their heartbreak for the victims, survivors, and their loved ones. They also noted that they had warned police about Card’s deteriorating mental health and paranoid behavior in the months leading up to the shootings.

A special commission established by Governor Janet Mills is investigating the mass shooting, reviewing the facts surrounding the incident and the police response. Army officials are set to testify before the commission on Thursday.

In previous hearings, law enforcement officials defended their approach to Card in the months before the shootings, citing the state’s yellow flag law, which makes it difficult to remove guns from a potentially dangerous person.

Democrats in Maine are now pushing for changes to the state’s gun laws, with Governor Mills seeking to allow law enforcement to directly petition a judge for a protective custody warrant to remove weapons from dangerous individuals. Other Democrats have proposed a 72-hour waiting period for most gun purchases.

The tragic incident has highlighted the need for meaningful gun safety reform and public health investment to keep communities safe, according to Nacole Palmer, executive director of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition.

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