Maine Colleges, School Districts Reopen Following Discovery of Mass Shooter’s Body
Over a dozen colleges and local school districts closed for several days as police searched for a suspect they say killed at least 18 people.
ARTICLE UPDATE – 10/30/23
Nearly all school districts and colleges that closed for several days following a massive manhunt for a gunman who killed 18 people and injured 13 others have since reopened after his body was discovered Friday night.
The suspected shooter’s body was found near a recycling plant in Lisbon Falls, located approximately 10 miles from the town where the mass shootings occurred. Police said he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The victims, ranging in age from 14 to 76, have been identified as Tricia Asselin, William Bracket, Peyton Brewer-Ross, Tommy Conrad, Michael Deslauriers II, Maxx Hathaway, Bryan MacFarlane, Keith Macneir, Ron Morin, Joshua Seal, Arthur Strout, Bob Violette, Lucille Violette, Stephen Vozzella, Jason Walker, Joseph Walker, Aaron Young, and Bill Young.
Campuses as far as 100 miles away from the shooting sites closed as a precaution during the two-day manhunt. The youngest victim, 14-year-old Aaron Young, was a student at Winthrop High School.
Winthrop Public Schools Superintendent Jim Hodgkin wrote on the district’s website that he met with the district’s guidance counselors, social workers, and principals on how to move forward. The schools reopened Monday with a two-hour delay to allow time to meet with staff to discuss ways to process the event with students through counseling services and community resources, The Sun-Journal reports.
Regional School Unit (RSU) 38, located in Readfield, also scheduled a two-hour delay for Monday.
“Despite the trauma our community has endured, getting students back to their regular learning routine is an essential step in the process,” said RSU 38 Superintendent Jay Charette.
Regional School Unit (RSU) 2, which serves Dresden and Monmouth, said police will be present at its schools Monday. The Augusta School Department also said police would be present at schools Monday and that students are expected to remain indoors for activities and be offered counseling services.
Poland Regional High School, which is part of Regional School Unit 16, will be closed Monday with the school open from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. for students and families. Hot meals will be available and counselors will be on-site. Classes are expected to resume Tuesday.
Lewiston Public Schools will also remain closed Monday with classes scheduled to resume Tuesday with light instruction. Superintendent Jake Langlais said the district will adjust its instruction on a week-by-week basis and that counseling services are planned.
The Oct. 25 shooting is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States this year, and the worst since a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE – 10/27/23
LEWISTON, Maine — Classes are canceled and students are sheltering in place on campuses across Maine as the manhunt for a mass shooter enters its third day.
At least 18 people were killed Wednesday night when a man opened fire at Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley in Lewiston before driving four miles to Schemengees Bar and Grille and opening fire again, authorities said. An additional 13 people were wounded. More than 350 law enforcement agents from various agencies are involved in the search for the suspect, identified as 40-year-old Robert Card.
Bates College, which is also located in Lewiston and between the two locations targeted in the shooting, went into lockdown for hours. Student Anntonia Taylor told WBUR that she sheltered in place in a dance studio for 13 hours before being moved to her dorm by campus emergency management services. Jennifer Washburne, the mother of another student, said the campus went into lockdown around 8:20 p.m., approximately 90 minutes after the shootings began. Her son remained in a classroom with six classmates until campus police escorted them to their dorms around 6:40 a.m. Thursday morning.
Bates President Garry Jenkins said one campus employee was injured in the shootings but is “expected to make a full recovery.” Classes were canceled Thursday and Friday and the campus remains closed. Employees have been asked to stay home and students have been told they must remain inside their residence halls. As of Friday morning, a shelter-in-place order was still in effect across the cities of Lewiston, Bowdoin, and Lisbon.
Bowdoin College, which is located 20 miles from Lewiston, canceled classes Thursday and Friday and remained in lockout as of Friday morning, meaning all interior building doors are locked and students can only gain access using their student IDs.
“It is preferable that you stay indoors, however, we recommend that you remain alert and take reasonable safety precautions if you choose to move about campus,” the school wrote in one of its many emergency updates.
Several colleges remain closed on Friday, including all University of Maine at Augusta campuses, Kennebec Valley Community College, Central Maine Community College, Southern Maine Community College, and York County Community College.
Colby College, located 50 miles north of Lewiston, gave professors the option to teach in person or online or to cancel their classes on Thursday and Friday. If students do not feel comfortable attending an in-person class, they must notify their professors and it will count as an excused absence, the school wrote in an emergency update.
Classes were also canceled Thursday at the University of Maine’s Orono and Machias campuses, both of which are more than an hour’s drive from Lewiston. A message on the school’s website said only essential workers should report to work. The University of New England, which has campuses in Portland in Biddeford, was also closed on Thursday.
More than a dozen K-12 schools were closed Thursday and remain closed Friday, including Acton, Auburn, Biddeford, Brunswick, Dayton, Eustis, Gorham, Lewiston, Lisbon, Portland, Saco, Sanford, Scarborough, Sebago, South Portland, Vassalboro, Waterville, Wells-Ogunquit, Westbrook, Winslow, Winthrop, and Yarmouth.
Overall, there are nearly 200 closings across the state of Maine, including businesses, daycares, and town offices — some more than 100 miles from the shooting sites.
If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!
Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century
This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!