20231026 mass shooting
People run from the scene of a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. Image Credit: Reuters

LEWISTON: The suspect in a mass shooting in the US state of Maine has been found dead after a two-day manhunt that mobilized hundreds of law enforcement agents to find the culprit in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States this year.

Robert Card, a 40-year-old Army reservist, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his body was found at 7:45 pm (2345 GMT), Maine public safety commissioner Mike Sauschuck said.

Card is believed to be the perpetrator of a rampage on Wednesday evening that left 18 people dead and 13 others wounded in a bowling alley and a bar-restaurant in this hard-scrabble city in the northeastern state of Maine.

Sauschuck said he could not immediately say when Card shot himself.

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"I'm breathing a sigh of relief tonight knowing that Robert Card is no longer a threat to anyone," governor Janet Mills told a hastily called news conference.

The sentiment was echoed by US Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who said on X, formerly Twitter, that President Joe Biden called her "to tell me the perpetrator of the heinous attacks in Lewiston had been found."

She, too, said "Mainers can breathe a collective sigh of relief" that first responders succeeded in efforts "to find this killer."

Authorities on Friday identified the victims, ranging from a husband and wife in their 70s, to a 14-year-old boy killed alongside his father.

US media said Card's body, found in Lisbon Falls, southeast of Lewiston, was in a wooded area near a recycling center that was his place of employment before he lost his job there.

The shooting - and Card's fugitive status - had brought dread to southern Maine over the past two days.

Earlier Friday, authorities said they were chasing down more than 530 tips and leads on Card's possible whereabouts.

Card is an army reservist, but had not been deployed in any combat zone. US media reported that he had recently been sent for psychiatric treatment after he said he was hearing voices.

This latest shooting is one of the deadliest in the United States since 2017, when a gunman opened fire on a crowded music festival in Las Vegas, killing 60 people.

Earlier Friday, law enforcement agents deployed along the Androscoggin River in nearby Lisbon, seven miles (11 km) southeast of Lewiston, and divers used sonar to look for evidence - or a body.

Card's white SUV was found nearby, Maine public safety commissioner Mike Sauschuck said.

Hours before the break in the case, Sauschuck announced the lifting of a lockdown in the area around Lewiston that had shuttered schools and businesses.