A young father whose wife is expecting their third child. A sign language interpreter who helped the deaf community navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. A high school sophomore who planned to be an auto mechanic like his dad. And a computer whiz who loved Christmas.

These were some of the victims of Wednesday’s deadly shootings in Lewiston.

Authorities on Friday identified the victims publicly for the first time. They include 15 men, two women and a 14-year-old boy.

Seven of the victims were killed at Just-In-Time Recreation, a bowling alley on Mollison Way that used to be called Sparetime Recreation, and eight were killed at Schemengees Bar & Grille on Lincoln Street. Three died after being transferred to a local hospital.

Another 13 people were injured in the shootings at the two sites.

“The victims of this tragedy are our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors,” said Gov. Janet Mills in a statement. “It is often said that our state is ‘one big, small town’ because Maine is such a close-knit community. … Tonight, I ask Maine people to join me in reading their stories, learning who they were, celebrating them as beloved people and mourning them as irreplaceable.”


Tricia Asselin gave the best hugs.

“She hugged everybody and they hugged her,” said Tricia’s older sister, Bobbi Nichols. “If they didn’t come to her, she would go to them.”

Tricia Asselin Courtesy of Bobbi Nichols

Tricia, 53, was killed at Just-in-Time Recreation, where she worked part time, though she was at the bowling alley just for fun that night. Her sister was with her and said she died trying to call 911 as others ran for their lives.

“She was a good person. It’s like, why her?” said Nichols, of Auburn.

Tricia grew up in Auburn and Bowdoin, the second youngest of four children. She had two brothers, Jason and Mark Johnson, and is also survived by her mother, Alicia Lachance, and her son, Brandon Asselin. She saw her son as her greatest life achievement, her family wrote in her obituary.

Tricia grew up playing basketball, softball and baseball and always loved sports. She golfed and fished competitively. She enjoyed watching the Boston Bruins and Red Sox and playing trivia at sports bars, her sister said.

“She always was a sports girl, even from a young age,” Nichols said. “She loved sports and watched sports all the time.”

She was also a workaholic who held three jobs: a full-time one with Modula, Inc. in Lewiston and part-time gigs at the Apple Valley Golf Course and the bowling alley.

“She would often tell you `sleep is overrated,’ and would rather spend her time doing the hobbies she enjoyed or working one of her many jobs,” the family said in her obituary.

Chad Hopkins, a friend and Asselin’s boss for the past eight years at the golf course, said she was “a helper first and foremost,” always willing to work. “She just never stood still,” Hopkins said.

Tricia was always doing for others, her family said in the obituary.

“While we could go on and on about the type of person Trish was, she would tell us to keep it short and sweet as she never wanted the attention on her, so that is what we will do,” they wrote.

At the bowling alley and golf course, her sister said, Tricia loved to organize leagues and tournaments. The night she was killed, Nichols said, Tricia had called her up and asked her to sub for a player in the bowling league.

“It was a long night,” said Nichols, who was able to escape the bowling alley alive.

“My sister was the rock of the family. She was always a zero-drama girl,” she said. “Whenever my brothers and I weren’t getting along, she was the person who would say, ‘It’s not worth it,’ and everything will be fine. She was always that way. Zero drama.”

Sarah Proulx, a friend, described Asselin as “not like your average girl,” and said she raised thousands of dollars for research on breast cancer.

“She had the biggest heart I’ve ever met,” Proulx said.

– Rachel Ohm (Press Herald) and Steve Collins (Sun Journal) 

Billy Brackett with his daughter, Sandra, and wife, Kristina Courtesy of Brackett family


William Frank Brackett was an avid dart and cornhole competitor who deeply loved his wife, Kristina, and the family they had created in just the past three years, said Brian Smith, Brackett’s brother-in-law.

“He was a very kind, gentle soul,” Smith said. “He didn’t speak very well because of his hearing loss, so he didn’t say much. A lot of people called him a silent giant.”

Brackett, 48, was at Schemengees Bar & Grille when a shooter opened fire Wednesday night, killing eight people at the Lincoln Street restaurant.

Brackett was at the restaurant, as he often was, for a cornhole tournament, Smith said. He declined to say more about what happened there for fear it would compromise the investigation and search for the shooter.

Brackett, who lived in Brunswick, was one of four people killed Wednesday who were members of Maine’s tight-knit Deaf community, said Karen Hopkins, executive director of the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf/Governor Baxter School for the Deaf in Falmouth.

“Our community is grieving deeply,” Hopkins wrote on Facebook. “We lost four of our cherished community members in (the) Lewiston shootings.”

Billy and Kristina Brackett met through mutual friends in the Deaf community and she quickly became his biggest supporter at tournaments, Smith said. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing, and he worked part time for UPS and FedEx.

The couple married in August 2020 and had a daughter, Sandra, who is 2½.

Brackett’s wife and child are devastated, Smith said.

“Sandra doesn’t fully understand what has happened because she is also deaf,” he said.

Family members and friends in the Deaf community are supporting Brackett’s wife and daughter during this difficult time, Smith said. A fundraiser has been set up on gofundme.com to help with funeral expenses, hearing aids and other equipment for Sandra and future educational costs.

“Both Billy and Kristina are low income and their daughter has significant needs,” Smith said. “Nobody expects to lose their spouse like this.”

– Kelley Bouchard (Press Herald)


Last July, Peyton Brewer-Ross texted a video to his friends. He was walking down the street in sunglasses, a long-sleeved shirt and shorts, his long hair tied back in a ponytail. His daughter, Elle, was strapped to his chest, facing outward, her floppy sun hat and tiny legs bouncing with each of his steps.

“I love being a dad,” he told them.

Peyton Brewer-Ross Courtesy of KaveMann Toys & Collectibles

Peyton, 40, was killed while playing in a cornhole tournament at Schemengees Bar & Grille in Lewiston.

Friends and family said he was the life of the party, in his Randy “Macho Man” Savage jacket, complete with cheetah print, red and yellow fringe, with “Slim Jim” emblazoned on the back.
He’s pictured wearing the jacket while playing cornhole, boating and cradling a newborn baby, still in the hospital.

“He likes everybody. He gets along with everybody, and everybody likes him. He doesn’t have an enemy in the world,” his brother Ralph Wellman Brewer said. “He’s there to have a good time.”

Wayne Benwell Jr., a close childhood friend, said Peyton could be a “ballbuster” but was also sincere, always ready to lend a helping hand. “If this happened to any one of us, he’d be beside himself with grief. He was sensitive like that,” he said.

Peyton’s sister, Nancy Lowell-Cunningham of Boothbay, said her brother was full of life and had a big heart. “He and I talked every day,” she said. “My world is going to be very dark without him in it.”

His fiancé, Rachael, and their now two-year-old daughter were his world.

Their daughter “is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, a total daddy’s girl,” his brother said. “How do you tell a two-year old that he’s not coming back? It’s not something we should have to do.”

Peyton was born and raised in Rangeley. The family moved to Auburn when he was four. Later they moved to Westbrook, where he graduated from high school.

As a young adult he worked in different jobs, driving a bread truck, moving furniture, “you name it, he’s probably done it,” his brother said.

At 19, he moved to Bath. He met Rachael at a Sea Dogs game in 2008.

His brother said that all Peyton wanted to do “was be a good dad, be a good husband and have fun.” And he seemed to bring the fun wherever he went.

“He loved to make other people laugh,” his family wrote in his obituary. “There was a twinkle in his eye if he was up to mischief.”

He loved Star Wars and comic books, especially Superman. He had a full arm sleeve of Superman tattoos. He loved baseball and football. His family recently discovered that he went skydiving seven years ago.

And Peyton loved playing cornhole. He had his own bags and boards and was teaching his daughter to play.

Five years ago, Peyton started a Bath Iron Works apprentice program through the Maine Maritime Academy.

While he was in that program, his sister said, their mother died. “He made a promise to mom that he would finish,” she said. “He graduated with exceptional grades.”

For the past year, Peyton worked as a pipefitter at BIW.

Devin Ragnar, spokesperson for Local S6, said he was an upstanding union member and citizen and an excellent human being.

Ragnar and Peyton went through the rigorous four-year apprenticeship program together, studying together and supporting each other through the difficult classes.

“When you were talking to Peyton, he was listening,” Ragnar said. “He was caring, compassionate and really funny.”

He was excited about what was to come, his sister said.

He planned to continue his education. He and Rachel were planning to buy a home. “He was making all the right steps for their future,” she said.

On Wednesday, hours before the mass shootings, Peyton picked up his car from an auto shop, where it was being repaired after an accident. He was excited that he had the car back and could get to the cornhole games that night in Lewiston. His brother wonders how life would be different now if his car hadn’t been ready.  “It gives me chills,” Brewer said.

The days following the mass shooting seemed like weeks, Brewer said.

“I was talking to one of his buddies on Friday. This gunman had been to that place (Schemengees).” His brother probably threw bags with the gunman playing cornhole.

“And the thing is, why? What is it that drives somebody to just blow up 18 families’ lives, 13 people wounded and all these poor people” who were wounded.

They may not have suffered physical injuries, he said, “but they’re scarred on the inside.”

One of Peyton’s friends was with him when he was killed.

“His buddy was holding him, and there was nothing he could do.” The friend let go only when the first responders arrived. “It’s heartbreaking,” Brewer said.

His friends recently got together to honor and remember Peyton. They held a cornhole tournament in Gorham.

His sister said Peyton had few dislikes, but he did worry about the way the world was headed, with so much destruction and cruelty.

“He was concerned about raising his daughter in this world. We had conversations about that.”

– Hannah LaClaire and Bonnie Washuk (Press Herald)


Thomas Ryan Conrad, who was hired as a manager at Just-In-Time Recreation earlier this year, was remembered by bowling friends as a kind, serious person who was devoted to his job, his game and his young daughter, Caroline.

His friends were told by the bowling alley’s owners that he was gunned down while trying to take out a man who walked into the business shooting. Conrad had served in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said friend Adam Stoddard.

Thomas Ryan Conrad Courtesy Department of Public Safety

Stoddard said Conrad’s love for kids in the bowling community led him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

“He was great with all of the bowling community kids,” Stoddard said. “They all loved him. He loved them so much he put his life in harm’s way to charge the gunman and save the children who were there. He died a hero.”

Conrad had moved around a lot during his military service but moved back to Maine so that he could be near his daughter, Caroline, Stoddard said. He had extended family in Maine, too, Stoddard said.

Several relatives posted Facebook memorials of Conrad of Thursday but didn’t respond to interview requests.

Stoddard remembered Conrad buying him a beer on his 21st birthday and the times that Conrad would invite him to stay after closing time to swap service stories, listen to Eminem and bowl a few after-hours frames. Sometimes Caroline would be there, playing Minecraft.

“He’d say, ‘Yo, I’m kicking everyone out because of hours but we are good to stay and shut the place down,” Stoddard said. “We’d all be having a good time listening to music. Thomas really knew how to make you feel like one of the boys.”

– Penelope Overton (Press Herald)


Michael Deslauriers II was relentlessly sarcastic.

He never missed the opportunity to crack a joke, often at another’s expense, and he could make a whole room roar with laughter.

Michael Deslauriers Courtesy of Department of Public Safety

“If Mike was in the room, you were laughing,” friends and family wrote in his obituary.

Mike, 51, was known by loved ones as Mikey. He kept a close circle.

He often called his partner, Stacy Cyr (Moyer) his “person,” “mostly because she was one of the few people who could tolerate his relentless sarcasm,” his obituary said.

His two children, Keagan and Abriana, were his “proudest accomplishments,” his obituary said: “You could always find Mike at a hockey arena, archery range or soccer field, supporting and cheering on his kids.”

Mike, who according to the obituary had a brain full of “useless knowledge,” had many interests including trivia, cribbage and cornhole. He loved golf, fishing and all of Boston’s sports teams. He had recently taken up bowling.

He often joked that he only had one friend – a lifelong one, Jason Walker. He and Jason both were killed Oct. 25 at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley.

Mike and Jason made sure their wives and the young children at the bowling alley were safe and then charged the shooter, Michael’s father, Michael Deslauriers Sr., said in a Facebook post.

His son’s death, Mike’s father said, is “the hardest news for a father to ever have to share.”

Facebook tributes flooded in.

Alan Johnson, a friend and colleague of Mike’s, said the two men made the ultimate sacrifice and were the embodiment of heroes.

Vicki Deslauriers Roy, Mike’s sister, said her brother’s loss leaves a gaping hole in their family.

“I was not the least bit surprised to hear that he and his best friend since kindergarten lost their lives trying to protect others. I take comfort in knowing that they went together,” she wrote. “We’ve all seen the posts during times like these to tell us to keep our loved ones close — please make sure you do. What I wouldn’t give to turn back time and leave work early to make a tee time with him when he asked me last week.”

Another sister, Amy Deslauriers, said wrote of keeping her brother’s memory alive as an amazing partner, father, son and brother.

Mike, 51, lived in Sabattus, and worked as a network engineer at St. Mary’s Hospital/Covenant Health for 30 years. Most recently, he was a network engineer for W.G. Tech in Westbrook.

Adrienne Decoteau, a former co-worker at St. Mary’s, wrote that “he had a dry sense of humor that made you scratch your head after, wondering if he just told you off and how to get there.”

Madi Herr, Mike’s niece, said her uncle was the best dad and the best person anyone could be lucky enough to meet.

“He would do anything for anyone, and he did,” she said. “It isn’t fair that life took one of the most genuine humans so soon.”

His family asked that friends and loved ones, in honor of Mike, “share a beer with someone you haven’t seen in a while, perform a random act of kindness or make someone laugh or smile. Mike would like that.”

– Hannah LaClaire (Press Herald)

Maxx Hathaway Courtesy of Department of Public Safety


Maxx Hathaway had two daughters, one 11, one 19 months old. His wife is pregnant with their third, due in December.

She and their youngest were at Schemengees Bar & Grille with him on Oct. 25, but Brenda went home with their toddler while he stayed behind to play pool.

Pool was a passion of Maxx’s. He also loved anime and gaming, sister Kelsay Hathaway wrote in a GoFundMe to help support his wife and children.

“He was a goofy, down to earth person, loved to joke around and always had an uplifting attitude no matter what was going on,” his sister wrote.

Nichole Crowley grew up across the street from a young Maxx, she posted on Facebook.

“You lived across the street from us and you practically lived in our home,” she wrote. “I remember play fighting with swords, jumping on the trampoline, playing hide and seek in the dark, and the list goes on and on.”

She said her father had become an ordained minister to marry Maxx and his wife.

“He was so proud of  you and the man you turned out to be, Crowley wrote. “He told me how much he loved watching you grow into your role as a father and loving husband. He spoke about you and your beautiful family often.”

Maxx, who was 35, had recently been a stay-at-home dad while he worked to earn his bachelor’s degree in business administration, his family said in a statement. He got his diploma from the University of Southern Maine on the day of the shooting, they said.

– Penelope Overton (Portland Press Herald)


Bryan MacFarlane was playing in a cornhole tournament at Schemengees Bar & Grille when he and three members of his team, American Deaf Cornhole, were shot and killed Wednesday, said his older sister, Keri Brooks, of Florida.

She was receiving condolence texts Thursday from people all over the country who knew her brother, either from cornhole tournaments, tractor racing or the small, tight Deaf community with whom he loved to socialize.

Bryan M. MacFarlane Courtesy of Keri Brooks

Nine Deaf people were playing cornhole at the weekly tournament, Brooks said. She knew two of her brother’s slain teammates, too. Several other teammates were injured. Like many of the community, they knew each other through Governor Baxter School for the Deaf.

Brooks learned from her best friend, who lives in Maine, that her brother was likely dead. A few hours later, police showed up at her mother’s house and confirmed it, said Brooks, a yoga instructor.

MacFarlane, 41, had only recently returned to Maine after stints in Vermont, Ohio and North Carolina. He wanted be near their mother, who lives in Lewiston. But they grew up in the greater Portland area, Brooks said.

MacFarlane loved riding his motorcycle, camping, fishing, hanging out with deaf friends and his dog, M&M (named after his favorite candy), who regularly joined him on his travel as a commercial trucker, Brooks said.

“His greatest life achievement is obtaining his Class D trucking license,” she said by text. “He was the first Deaf person to do so in Vermont, one of the very few Deaf people nationwide to obtain such a license.”

– Penelope Overton (Press Herald)


Keith Macneir was just a few years into retirement and enjoying life – boating, fishing and biking in his home state of Florida and spending time with his son, Breslin, whenever he got the chance.

Keith had just turned 64 and had come to Maine at the end of October to visit Breslin.

Keith Macneir with his son, Breslin Macneir Courtesy of Brian Macneir

“He grabbed a big bag of fresh stone crabs off the boat from the west coast of Florida, got on a plane and flew up to Maine and they had a nice birthday,” said Keith’s brother, Brian Macneir.

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Breslin and Keith headed to Schemengees Bar & Grill. Breslin had to go to a union meeting for work, so he left his dad at the restaurant and planned to come back.

“He was like, ‘We’ll go here and I’ll go to my meeting and come back. You can meet some of the guys I’m working with,’” Brian Macneir said. “That’s when the episode happened. And then Breslin sat in the hospital for numerous hours before they would tell him anything.”

Keith grew up in the Rio Vista area of Fort Lauderdale, the oldest of three boys. He followed in his father’s footsteps, working as an architect before taking a job with the National Park Service in the U.S. Virgin Islands and moving to St. John.

Keith worked for the U.S. National Park Service Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument for about 10 years, retiring in the fall of 2020 as a supervisory facilities and operations specialist, a spokesperson for the park confirmed.

Kelly Larkin, a friend in St. John, said that when she first moved there, Keith “welcomed me into his home with open arms, before he even knew anything about me.”

“Keith was just one of those special people that let everyone in & always made you feel welcome, no matter what,” Larkin said in a Facebook message.

Brian Macneir said Keith and Breslin, who lives in the Lewiston area, were very close and typically spent birthdays and holidays together.

“They would spend quality time doing a lot of different stuff,” Brian Macneir said. “Breslin would take him around and show him the area up there – the beautiful rivers and streams, the wooded areas. They just had a great time.”

“He’s going to be missed by hundreds of people,” Keith’s brother said. “He had a great personality and smile. He was open with everybody.”

Rachel Ohm (Press Herald)


Ronald G. Morin, 55, was remembered by friends as a sweet, funny man who enjoyed sports and loved to tell jokes.

Chad Hopkins, owner of the Apple Valley Golf Course in Lewiston, said Ron had been a good friend for three decades. He described Morin as a “jack of all trades” who was always smiling. Ron played hockey and softball and was a great father, Hopkins said.

Ronald Morin Courtesy of Department of Public Safety

Janet Cassidy, another friend, said she was one of many people who enjoyed Ron’s “bad dad jokes.”

“If you were a friend of his on Facebook, you woke up every morning wondering what bad dad jokes he was going to be posting,” she said. “He wanted to pick people up if they were down. He was supportive.”

Ron was born in Lewiston, graduated from Lewiston High School in 1986 and had worked for Coca-Cola since 1989. He was a sales merchandiser in South Portland, according to a Facebook post by Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast.

Ron and his wife, Lynn Morin, had two children, Amy and Eric, who are grown and live in Charleston, South Carolina. Ron was looking forward to retirement so he could relocate and be closer to them, according to an obituary in the Portland Press Herald.

“Those who knew Ron would acknowledge his keen sense of humor and ability to make everyone feel loved and seen,” the obituary said. “He had a passion for making others laugh.”

Outside of work and spending time with his family, Ron liked to play ice and floor hockey, softball and cornhole, and to umpire softball games.

Cassidy, who got to know Ron through the cornhole league at Schemengees, said he mentored kids there who wanted to learn the game.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him angry,” Cassidy said. “Maybe one time, and it was just someone being derogatory towards someone else. … He had an infectious smile and laugh. It’s going to be missed.”

Tanya Morissette, Ron’s sister, wrote on a GoFundMe page for his family that the mass shooting has been devastating for them. “Ron (Ronnie) Morin had such an infectious personality,” Morissette wrote.

“He was an incredible husband, father, brother, uncle, son and friend. To know Ron was to instantly love him. He was a man who always put others before himself and looked for the humor and positivity in even the most tragic circumstances.”

– Rachel Ohm (Press Herald) and Steve Collins (Sun Journal)


Joshua A. Seal, the director of interpreting services at a nonprofit devoted to helping Mainers with disabilities, was shot and killed while participating in a cornhole tournament with deaf friends at Schemengees Bar & Grille in Lewiston on Wednesday.

His boss, Pine Tree Society president Noel Sullivan, said Seal’s death left an enormous hole in Maine’s Deaf community. He created the Pine Tree Society’s Dirigo Experience, a life-changing summer camp experience for Deaf youth, Sullivan said.

Joshua A. Seal

“He made communication and understanding possible in countless situations as an interpreter, mentor and tireless advocate,” Sullivan said Thursday. “He was committed to breaking the cycle of isolation and creating safe space for Deaf people.”

Seal was well known across Maine for his interpreting work during the daily pandemic briefings of former Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah, Sullivan said. He was one of two interpreters on screen with Shah. He had also worked for Gov. Janet Mills.

Seal gave interviews about his CDC briefing work. He relied on a hearing teammate to listen to Shah and then relay that to him in sign language. Joshua signed that information to viewers as a native speaker, making it easier for others like him in the Deaf community to understand.

Seal’s wife, Elizabeth, who works for a nonprofit that supports deaf families, told the Portland Press Herald in May that she and Seal had attended preschool at Governor Baxter School for the Deaf on Falmouth’s Mackworth Island before going to separate public schools. She talked about their family for a story about a deaf students’ basketball league

The couple were raising their four children in Lisbon Falls. Elizabeth posted a loving online tribute to her husband, but couldn’t be reached for comment. Sullivan said it was times like these, when Maine was experiencing a scale of violence without precedent, that the state’s small but tight-knit Deaf community needed somebody like Seal the most.

“The ripple effects of his loss are truly unfathomable,” Sullivan said.

Nirav Shah posted about the shootings and his friend on Friday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Here’s the thing about Maine,” Shah wrote. “It’s a small town with ‘very’ long driveways. As a result, many Mainers will know someone impacted by Wednesday night’s horrific events, either directly or indirectly. One of the victims was my friend and colleague, Josh Seal.”

Shah described Seal as a fixture at the state’s daily COVID-19 briefings and the “literal voice and face of the COVID response for the Deaf community in Maine and beyond.”

He said Seal helped Maine navigate that tough period. “I marveled at his ability interpret what we were saying at light speed – even my (awful) attempts at humor during dark days,” Shah tweeted. “He never missed a beat. He will be forever issued and always remembered as a part of Maine’s history. Rest in peace, Josh.”

– Penelope Overton (Press Herald)


Arthur Fred Strout was a Christmas person. Sometimes as early as Halloween he would get all his kids together, clean the house, put on Christmas music and put up a tree in his living room. He’d fix the branches so they sat just right. Then his wife, Kristy Strout, and their blended family of five kids, would wrap the tree in tinsel and lights.

“If it wasn’t perfect, he’d go back to make sure it was perfect and looked like one of those pictures out of a magazine,” Kristy said.

Arthur Strout with his wife, Kristy. Courtesy of Maria Wilson

Arthur, 42, was born to Rena Strout and Arthur Barnard in Lewiston, where he lived all his life. He was a whiz at computers and worked part time around town, fixing computers and cars.

He was married to his wife, Kristy for nearly seven years, but the two started dating 16 years ago. Together, they share a 13-year-old daughter, Brianna, whose birthday is on Halloween. She had planned to stay home with her parents and pass out candy this year.

Arthur also has two children from a previous relationship, Marcus, 23, and Milo, 19. His wife, Kristy, has two children from a previous relationship too, Summer, 18 and Logan, 17. The Stroud’s lived together with all their children and were raising them as a blended family. Arthur had planned to adopt Logan when he turned 18.

“Now, he won’t get that chance, it really hurt Logan to know he won’t have him to guide him and be a role model anymore,” said Kristy.

Arthur’s friends and family describe him as a family man who always took care of his children.

“He always took care of me and the kids, he was home with them a lot because I worked, and he just spoiled the kids rotten,” said Kristy.

His close friend, Maria Wilson, said his generosity and thoughtfulness extended beyond his family. “He looked out for anyone and everyone. It was a ‘here you don’t have a shirt, take mine,’ kind of mentality,” said Wilson.

Arthur loved arcade games and he could often be silly with his loved ones. “He had the dorkiest laugh that got everyone laughing,” said Wilson. “Like even if you didn’t want to laugh you would laugh when he did.”

In his obituary, his family wrote, “Those who knew him remember his kindness, his relentless hugs and his contagious recognizable ridiculously goofy giggle.”

Arthur was playing pool at Schemengees Bar & Grill on Wednesday night. He died on the scene.

Grace Benninghoff (Press Herald)


Robert E. Violette a retired Sears mechanic and avid bowler, was born and raised in Lewiston. He grew up speaking French and attending Catholic church. He married Lucy Violette almost 50 years ago and has three sons, Andrew, Tom and John, and six grandchildren.

Bob bowled most weekday mornings and played in a couple’s bowling league with his wife. Many years ago, he started running a youth bowling league at Sparetime Recreation, for which he recently was inducted into the Maine Bowling Hall of Fame.

Bob Violette Courtesy of Violette family

A lifelong Lewiston resident, Bob had deep ties to the community and was the kind of person who made everyone feel comfortable and cared for, said Cassandra Violette, his daughter-in-law.

“He wouldn’t let you walk out the door without giving him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. He was just there for everything,” she said.

He loved kids and had a special bond with his grandkids. His eldest grandsons regularly joined him on Wednesdays for youth bowling nights, and he and his oldest grandson both loved Chinese food. His youngest grandchild is not yet 5.

Lucy and Bob met through work long ago, and on their first date Lucy made him spaghetti. “He said it was the worst spaghetti he had ever had,” said Cassandra, laughing. Not long after, Lucy proposed to Bob.

“That was always the story. She knew how special he was and couldn’t let him go,” Cassandra said.

Bob was equally smitten with Lucy. He was a doting husband who set timers on his phone to make sure his wife never missed her medication. “His first thought every day was her,” his daughter-in-law said.

When his son’s family had a hard time finding housing, he and Lucy opened their home to them – welcoming the family of six in for months last year. Bob was a thoughtful and fun grandfather.

“He always made everyone laugh, even if it was a terrible situation,” Cassandra said.

Bob was the kind of guy who thought deeply about things. No decision was too small to weigh carefully – even what brand of kitchenware to buy.

“He would research until you couldn’t research anymore,” his daughter-in-law said. “We used to make fun of him because he would go online and research a crockpot for like three weeks before he’d buy it.”

He also carefully researched the iPads and iPhones he bought to bring to his youth bowling league. He wanted to get good videos of the kids’ form to help them improve.

“He loved those kids, all of them,” Cassandra said.

Although he grew up Catholic, he drifted from the church as an adult, but in recent years he had developed a renewed interest in religion and joined the Baptist church. It meant a lot to him that his grandkids attended local Christian schools in Lewiston. As he grew more connected to religion, he also started thinking about the end of his life.

“It’s almost like he knew something was going to happen because he was making his own arrangements,” his daughter-in-law said. Bob’s birthday was coming up in November. He was about to turn 77.

His daughter-in-law said she first caught wind of the shooting on Facebook. When she realized there was a shooter at the bowling alley, she immediately panicked, knowing Lucy and Bob went there every Wednesday night.

“I called him, and he never, ever not answered his phone. He could be in the middle of something or in a bad mood and he would still answer the phone,” she said. “We just kept calling and calling and calling.”

Bob was reportedly killed trying to protect the kids for whom he was responsible. Witnesses said he stood between the shooter and the children in his bowling league, shielding the children from bullets.

“I was told that he got the worst of it, and that’s what really kills me – because he was trying to protect someone else,” his daughter-in-law said.

Lucy was reportedly injured and carried out of the bowling alley by survivors. She was taken to an area hospital. Her family posted on Friday that she had died.

Grace Benninghoff (Press Herald)


Lucy Violette loved animals. She had a calm and steady presence that put even the most anxious creatures at ease.

When her son’s family adopted Ruger, an Australian shepherd who didn’t like people. Lucy was determined to bond with him. At first, Ruger would flinch at her touch, but after a few months he was napping on her lap and the two were going for regular walks together.

Lucy Violette Courtesy of the Violette family

“She was so kindhearted and gentle, she was able to win him over,” said her daughter-in-law Cassandra Violette.

Lucy also had a way with children and tried hard wherever she was to make others feel comfortable and safe in her presence. She never missed a chance to sit down and talk with her grandkids one on one, whether it be about their ordinary days or about something more serious. She was there.

For more than 50 years, Lucy worked as a secretary in the business office of the Lewiston School Department. She talked about retiring sometimes, but never did. She loved her job too much.

Ever since she proposed to him 50 years ago, Lucy and her husband, Bob, were inseparable. Her office was just a few miles from home, but Bob drove her to work each morning. He set timers on his phone to make sure she always took her medications on time. She regularly went with Bob to Just-in-Time Recreation to watch him coach his beloved youth bowling league.

Lucy also loved to bowl. She bowled with Bob in couples’ leagues and on her own in women’s leagues.

She was a devoted mother and grandmother, who never missed an opportunity to speak proudly about her three sons, Andrew, Tom, and John, and six grandchildren.

On Facebook, a friend wrote that Lucy was “one of the most caring women I’ve ever known.”

Bob was gregarious and full of energy and he liked to crack jokes. Lucy was his foil.

She would laugh and say, “Oh, Bob.” Friends wrote on Facebook that sometimes Bob would make jokes just to see how she would react.

Witnesses said that both Lucy and Bob died trying to protect kids at the bowling alley.

– Grace Benninghoff (Press Herald)


Stephen Vozzella was a competitive bowler for well over a decade.

He had won tournaments and had several trophies to prove it.

Stephen Vozzella Courtesy of Department of Public Safety

But about six years ago, Steve retired from bowling.

When he and his wife, Megan, moved to Maine from Massachusetts, he decided to try something new. He thought cornhole sounded fun.

“He really enjoyed it because it was something different,” his wife told The Daily Moth, a news outlet reporting on the Deaf community in American Sign Language. “He had bowled for so many years that he got tired of it. He wanted something different. I told him to help himself. Enjoy things because life is short. He agreed that life is short.”

Steve, 45, was killed while playing in a cornhole tournament at Schemengee’s Bar and Grille on Oct. 25. He was one of four members of Maine’s Deaf community who died in the shooting.

Steve was preparing to celebrate his first wedding anniversary with his wife next month. They had been together for 14 years and lived in South Paris with their daughter, Bella.

“Now I’ve lost my soulmate, my husband. It really hurts,” Megan told The Daily Moth. “My husband was the best soul I ever had in my lifetime.”

Steve was an active member of New England Deaf Cornhole.

“With sadly and heavy hearts (sic), NEDC has lost a member of our community, Steve Vozzella,” the groups said in a Facebook post.

Steve had won several games and was eager to play more, the group said, mentioning his huge smile and excitement for the game.

“He will be missed on and off the courts! NEDC will not be the same without Steve Vozzella playing with us!”

Members of the Greater Boston Deaf Bowling League hosted a vigil at Town Line Luxury Lanes, where Steve used to bowl when he lived in the area.

Michael DuRoss, vice president of the bowling league, said in a social media post that Steve’s death was a loss to the Deaf communities in Boston, Maine and all of New England.

“Steve, when (it’s) thundering here in Boston, please bowl with friends in heaven,” he wrote. “Show them (you’re) a better bowler and get us a 300 perfect game, brother.”

Megan Vozzella said Steve was involved in many aspects of the Deaf community.

“Many in the Deaf community knew him and knew us,” she said. “They watched our humor because we would do pranks and egg each other on.”

The Vozzellas were close friends with Elizabeth and Joshua Seal. Josh, a well-known interpreter, was also killed at Schemengee’s.

Liz Seal recalled many happy outings she and her husband had with the Vozzellas. They would go to Patriots games, ride snowmobiles, or camp out.

They would even take cornhole boards with them on their camping trips, Liz said. While the sport could be pretty competitive, the Wednesday night game was about camaraderie.

“It was an excuse for the guys to hang out together, really,” Liz said. “They’d let off steam, take some time away from home and work just for themselves, with people like them. I’m sure they were having fun before everything went wrong.”

Now, the two women are grieving the hole left in their lives and the Deaf community.

“They took our lives away,” Steve’s wife said. “How much more do we have to suffer? How much more of this can we take? Why did it happen?”

Friends and a former coach said on Facebook that Steve was a “class act” and a former student athlete who enjoyed baseball and basketball. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 20 years.

Brian Renfroe, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said in a statement that he was heartbroken to learn that Steve, a member of the Lewiston branch, had died.

“He had much more life to live before it was stolen from him in an all-too-common senseless act of gun violence,” Renfroe said. “We mourn the loss of Stephen and all the innocent victims of this tragedy. Our hearts are with Stephen’s loved ones, all of those affected and the entire town of Lewiston.”

– Hannah LaClaire (Press Herald)


Jason Walker was a learner.

Walker, 51, worked in the building trades, but he dabbled in a little bit of everything.

Jason Walker Courtesy of Department of Public Safety

He enjoyed vegetable gardening, preserving seeds and harvest, sausage-making, baking bread and creating educational YouTube videos.

He researched religion, vehicle repair and building. He sang and played guitar. He helped the Sabattus Historical Society record and edit oral histories.

“Jason did some amazing work,” the historical society said in a post on its Facebook page. He helped the society capture the town’s history, lending his time and expertise.

And he loved bowling.

Jason, of Sabattus, was a league member at Just-in-Time Recreation, as was his lifelong best friend, Michael Deslauriers II.

Jason and Mike were both killed at the bowling alley last week.

Mike’s father, Michael Deslauriers Sr., who is also chair of historical society, said in a social media post that the two men made sure their wives and the children at the bowling alley were safe and then charged the shooter.

People who knew Jason and Michael said the act wasn’t surprising.

“Jason was a selfless and giving friend and helped out others whether physically, spiritually, or financially, whenever needed,” his obituary said.

On the day after he was killed, his wife, Kathleen, changed her Facebook profile picture to one that showed Walker looking out over a green, mountainous landscape with enormous clouds casting their shadow.

“I will always love you Jay!” she wrote.

– Kendra Caruso (Sun Journal) and Hannah LaClaire (Press Herald)


Joe Walker wasn’t just the manager of Schemengees Bar & Grille. The job was a passion.

“He loves it. That’s why he took the job,” said Walker’s father, Leroy Walker Sr. “He worked for another company and had a pretty good job but decided to go to work doing this because it’s what he liked to do. He’s into sports and knew he could make the place lively and bring in a lot of business.”

Joe Walker. Photo courtesy of Leroy Walker Sr.

Joe, 57, lived in nearby Auburn with his wife, Tracey. He had worked at Schemengees for five or six years, his father said.

The restaurant and billiard hall would have certainly been busy Wednesday night, when a cornhole league was playing.

“The place is packed Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday,” he said. “My son had something going all the time. He had the place busy as hell.”

Joe’s Facebook page includes photos of him skydiving, attending a Red Sox game at Fenway Park and on his wedding day.

“For those of you who knew us from the start of our relationship this man changed my life for the better and would do anything for me his kids and grandchildren,” Tracey Walker wrote in a post.

He’d been involved in the community since his teenage years, when he played in softball leagues, and he brought cornhole tournaments to the area.

“He’s a great kid,” said his father, a city councilor in Auburn. “He’s always been great to people. He takes care of people. There’s nothing he won’t do for anybody.”

Leroy Walker said Thursday morning that he had seen his son at breakfast earlier in the week at the Station Grill Restaurant, where Joe also worked. He said he tried calling his phone after getting word of the shooting Wednesday night, but had no luck getting through to him. “We’re all thinking the worst,” he said. And it was.

A police officer told the family that Joe died a hero, trying to take the shooter out with a butcher’s knife that was found next to his hand when first responders arrived.

“He’s just a great overall young man,” Leroy Walker said. “People love him. He loves people. If he was sitting here with me, he would just be so sorry about what has happened. A lot of his friends were killed in the same scene. Others were shot up. … It’s just a real tough thing. I know he would be just so sorry something like this happened.”

Rachel Ohm (Press Herald) and Joe Charpentier (Sun Journal)


Aaron Young Courtesy of Department of Public Safety


Bill Young was the type of dad who would do anything for his son, so when Aaron decided to take up bowling as a hobby, Bill was all in.

“Aaron wanted to bowl, and Bill said, ‘Get in the car,’ He was a damn good dad,” Rob Young, Bill’s brother, said. Three years later, Aaron had gotten really good, and Bill was so proud.

“He texted me a photo a couple weeks ago, on Oct. 6, of Aaron getting a 275 while bowling – his highest score ever,” Young said. “I bowl a 120 or something and a 14-year-old bowled a 275. That’s what he liked to do, and he excelled. It made him happy.”

Bill Young, 43, and Aaron Young, 14, were killed in the Lewison mass shooting on Wednesday night at Just-in-Time Recreation where Aaron was in a youth bowling league.

When Rob Young first heard about the shootings in Lewiston, he hopped the first flight out of Maryland, where he lives, and flew to Maine, anticipating bad news.

“I know my brother well enough that he’s going towards the target,” Young said.

Because that’s the kind of person Bill was – he was always going to protect his son, even though Aaron was now 6-foot-4 inches, a little taller than his father.

Aaron, 14, was a student at Winthrop High School and was the “nicest kid in the world,’ his uncle said.

His friends said he would sit with anyone at lunch, especially those who were sitting by themselves.

“He made school a more welcoming place,” 9th grader Sam Drown, a friend and classmate, said at Winthrop High School’s vigil on Wednesday.

Wendy Bell said Aaron was “everything” to his mother, Cindy.

Aaron talked to Cindy about everything and loved spending time with his family. He planned to be an auto mechanic like his father.

When he wasn’t bowling, Aaron liked to ride bikes with his friends and fish.

In the few times a year Rob Young got to spend time with Aaron, they watched “Family Guy” and “Beavis and Butt-head” together, “typical boy shows,” his uncle recalled.

“He was just a good kid,” said Young. “Taken way too early. Fourteen is way too early to lose your life. He had his whole future in front of him.”

At the vigil, Wendy Bell told those gathered about her brother Bill’s humor and his unique laugh that always made her smile. She said that Bill had always been there for his family, especially their father, Bob Young, who kept a garden and worked on cars with Bill.

Cindy Young, who lost both her son and her husband in the shootings, said she will “never be the same” without her “best friend” and her “baby.”

With Bill, she said, she laughed every day – often about silly things. They would have fights with gummy worms or Nerf wars with their family and friends. Cindy called Bill the “backbone” of the family.

But Aaron, she said, will always be her baby.

Together, they listened to the Stone Temple Pilots and other 90s music, and he told her whatever was on his mind, she said. She said Aaron was always tuned in with his friends and wanting the best for them.

But most of all, Cindy  Young spoke about the bond Aaron had with his father.

“Bill was Aaron’s idol – he wanted to do everything like his dad,” she said.

– Emily Duggan (Kennebec Journal) 


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