HomeTop StoriesState police leader talks about information leaks during 48-hour manhunt for gunman

State police leader talks about information leaks during 48-hour manhunt for gunman

May 24—LEWISTON — The chief of the Maine State Police on Friday morning guided members of the commission investigating the Lewiston mass shooting through his frustrations over information leaks in the early hours of the search for the shooter.

Col. William Ross told the committee about two leaks: one of a law enforcement bulletin about gunman Robert Card and another of a note found in Card’s home the day after the shooting.

Ross said the leaks were unfortunate and could have compromised the investigation by providing Card, or people who could have helped him, with information about what police knew. But he said it would be “like finding a needle in a haystack” to try to find out who was responsible.

The leak of sensitive information is not something the agency deals with in a typical investigation, but the demand for information about the mass shooting and the number of law enforcement officers and officers involved made it possible, he said.

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“We don’t have leaks and these problems when we come to Lewiston to work a murder case. … I think it’s just the amount of people that come in,” Ross said. “It happens.”

Ross, one of six state police members who spoke to the committee at Lewiston City Hall, also outlined the agency’s communications with the public and how it coordinated with other law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of the tragedy. He presented a timeline of social media posts, describing what information they contained and what their purpose was.

“Communication is a broad topic and can always be improved, regardless of the situation,” he said.

Commission members can also hear Friday from Maj. Scott Gosselin, Sgt. Greg Mitchell, Sgt. Greg Roy and Lieutenant Lucas Hare.

The meeting, the latest in a series of public hearings by the commission, can be watched live on the city’s YouTube page.

This is the second time the commission has had a public meeting with the Maine State Police. In February, members of the agency described their search for gunman Robert Card in the two days after the shooting. Card’s body was found in a trailer at a recycling plant in Lisbon on the evening of October 27.

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Police told the commission in February that they were inundated with tips and leads, and had to rush to set up a command center and coordinate hundreds of officers from different agencies. They described chaotic scenes and defended decisions made during the search for the suspect, including an order not to immediately approach his car because it was a trap.

The commission, appointed by Governor Janet Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey, is tasked with investigating the events leading up to the shooting that left 18 people dead and 13 others injured, law enforcement’s response to it, and whether more could have happened. done to stop Card.

An interim report on the commission’s work was released in March, which focused largely on the actions of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office and its response to reported concerns about Card’s mental health in the months leading up to the shooting.

The interim report found that local law enforcement authorities had sufficient information to take Card into protective custody and trigger the yellow flag law to take away his weapons prior to the tragedy.

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Since the release of the interim report, the committee has heard from members of the U.S. Army Reserves, of which Card was a member, Maine’s former chief medical examiner, victims and members of Card’s family.

This story will be updated.

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