Desperate pleas for help including a request for emergency services to “hurry” are among some of the frantic calls made to 911 during a mass shooting in Maine least year.
Authorities in the US state on Tuesday released transcripts of emergency calls that were made when military reservist Robert Card stormed Just In Time bowling alley (formerly known as Sparetime Recreation) and Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant in October, fatally shooting 18 people.
The calls, which were published online, were released in response to a Freedom of Access Act request by media, according to the Associated Press, and reveal the chaos that unfolded during the deadliest shooting in Maine’s history.
In one call, made at 6.56pm, one caller with a child explained there was a shooter at the bowling alley, where seven people were eventually found dead.
“Shooter. There’s a shooter,” the caller said.
“I have a kid. He’s bleeding. He’s been shot in the arm.”
Another person calling from the bowling alley claimed they heard shots and ran with their young child.
“I saw the gun and was next to the office so I grabbed my four-year-old and ran,” they said.
Another asked the dispatcher to “please hurry” explaining they were “locked in the office” at the bowling alley, while someone else pleaded to “please send help”.
Others described hiding in a field, behind trees and in a back room.
In a seperate call, someone appeared to be helping another person while on the phone, telling them: “Pray, pray. You’re ok. You’re ok.”
“Trying to look for something clean,” they continued. “My coat is the only thing.”
Caller expressed concern for shooter’s mental health
The transcripts also show a call was made later that night at 8.27pm, where a person correctly identified the shooter as Robert Card after seeing a picture of him online.
The caller, whose name is not identified, said they had “been really concerned about his mental health lately”.
An alert published by the Maine Information and Analysis Centre last year read stated that Mr Card “recently reported mental health issues to include hearing voices and (made) threats to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco, ME.”
“Card was also reported to have been committed to mental health facility for two weeks during summer 2023 and subsequently released,” the alert read.
‘Blood all over them’
One eyewitness, Nichoel Wyman Arel, recalled seeing “definitely more than a dozen” people leaving the bowling alley following the deadly incident.
“Like, looking back, like that was probably the hardest part, seeing … families pouring out of there and knowing that that happened in there while they were probably just trying to have a family night,” she told CNN.
One person, she said, looked like they had “blood all over them”.
Another woman, Riley Dumont, told ABC News her 11-year-old daughter was taking part in a children’s bowling league when she heard gunshots.
Ms Dumont said her father, a retired police officer, quickly gathered their family into a corner.
“I was laying on top of my daughter. My mother was laying on top of me,” she told the publication, adding there was at least three apparent victims.
Police confirmed 18 people died across two locations and 13 were injured during the shooting.
Seven people were found in the bowling alley, including six men and one woman who all died of gunshot wounds.
Eight people were found at the bar, seven men inside and one outside.
Three further people died in hospital.
A manhunt was launched to track down Mr Card after the shooting, extending as far as Canada.
His body was found two days later in Lisbon. An autopsy found he died by suicide.
An independent commission appointed by Governor Janet Mills is currently investigating the shooting.