PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — In 2023, Maine experienced its deadliest mass shooting in history, resulting in a record-breaking high of homicides for the state. The tragic events in Lewiston on Oct. 25 left 18 people dead and 13 injured, shocking a community that prides itself on low crime rates. These deaths contributed to a total of 51 homicides by the end of the year, surpassing the previous record of 40 killings in 1989.
Following the mass shooting, November also proved to be a deadly month, with at least 10 homicides. The strain on investigators led to the need for reinforcements from state police detectives in other parts of the state. State police spokesperson Shannon Moss described the workload as “exceptionally painstaking and time consuming,” leaving authorities “buried under a mountain of work.”
The homicides in Maine included another mass shooting and the killing of four people in Bowdoin by a recently released inmate from the Maine State Prison. The deadly events cast a dark shadow over the state, prompting questions about gun access and mental health concerns.
In response to the shootings, an independent commission established by Maine Gov. Janet Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey is investigating the incident, seeking subpoena power to obtain the military service records of the shooter. Additionally, the Army is conducting its own investigation into the reservist responsible for the mass shooting, particularly focusing on his mental health and hospitalization history.
The tragedy in Lewiston led to a massive manhunt and forced residents to seek shelter for several days. As the state grapples with the aftermath of these events, questions still linger about how the shooter was able to access firearms and the signs of concerning behavior that were potentially overlooked.
The year 2023 will be remembered as a challenging time for Maine, as the state copes with the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in its history and grapples with the complex issues surrounding gun violence and mental health.