Maine broke its three-decade-old homicide record in 2023, due to a mass shooting that took place in Lewiston in October. The shooting left eighteen people dead and thirteen injured, contributing to the year’s total of 51 homicides, surpassing the previous record of 40 killings set in 1989. The lowest year on record was 2000, with 11 homicides, while 2022 saw 29 murders. The rise in homicides has prompted officials to take action in addressing the issue.
Robert Card’s killing spree at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston significantly added to the homicide total for the year. The 40-year-old army reservist took his own life two days later, raising questions about why the warning signs around his mental health were ignored.
In response to the tragic events, Maine’s governor and Attorney General established an independent commission to investigate the case in November, aiming to learn from Card’s case. The state also saw other mass murders in 2023, including the deaths of four elderly people in Bowdoin in April. Two of the victims were parents of the suspect, Joseph Eaton. Additionally, November saw 10 homicides, prompting a State Police spokesperson to acknowledge the need for more resources to cope with the case load.
The increase in mass shooting deaths in 2023 has extended beyond Maine, with more than 200 people killed in 40 mass murder events across the United States. The rise in homicides and mass shootings has raised concerns and prompted authorities to reevaluate current policies and allocate additional resources to address the issue on a national scale. As the investigation into the mass shooting in Lewiston continues, the state and local authorities are looking to implement measures to prevent similar tragic events in the future.