LEWISTON — Lying beneath a pool table during Wednesday night’s shooting spree at Schemengees Bar & Grille, Ryan Dalessandro only saw the gunman’s feet and a green laser flashing around as he pointed his semi-automatic rifle this way and that.

At Dalessandro’s side, a badly wounded Joseph Walker struggled to breathe, moaning each time he drew in air.

Dalessandro held his friend’s wrist, the most he could do, and waited.

Authorities say it was the second venue Robert Card of Bowdoin, a 40-year-old Army reservist, had entered that evening. He had already shot up a crowded bowling alley across town before entering the Lincoln Avenue bar just after 7 p.m. while carrying an assault rifle.

Diane Bowie, of Poland, lays a bouquet of roses at a memorial outside Schemengees Bar & Grille on Sunday. Bowie, who grew up in Lewiston, said she knew two people who were killed in the mass shootings: Tricia Asselin and Joe Walker. “Lewiston will never be the same,” she said. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

When Card arrived, Dalessandro had no idea. He was facing the other way, toward the cornhole boards, and looking at his phone.

Then he heard what sounded like an explosion, so he looked toward the kitchen because he thought that’s where the sound had come from.


“What was that?” Walker yelled.

And then the shooter “started unloading,” Dalessandro said.

“I never saw him,” he said. “I didn’t take a second to look.”

He said he hit the ground as fast as he could “and scrambled under the pool table” — trying to stay alive as the killer kept firing at his friends and acquaintances while walking the length of the building toward the arcade exit.

Walker, who had turned to face the shooter, wound up on the floor beside him.

He said that when Card emptied his clip, people tried to race for the door, but the gunman “reloaded and started shooting at them.”


Dalessandro said when the shooter stopped to reload, he thought the guy “was going to do another sweep through the building.”

“All I could think about and hear,” he said, was Walker’s pained moans beside him.

Dalessandro said that as he held Walker’s wrist, he whispered his name a couple of times, but his friend never responded.

“I had just started thinking about what I would do,” Dalessandro said, if the gunman started to come his way again when the interior lights of the bar suddenly went out.

The darkness gave him hope because it became hard to see. There was some light, he said, maybe as much as a full moon produces at night, probably from an outside sign shining through windows.

But it helped.


“I got my first flicker of hope” at that point, he said, and decided he should try to get out.

He waited, though.

“I saw the green laser point shining around as he was moving the gun around,” Dalessandro said.

Then the gunman paused.

“You could tell he was trying to decide what to do next,” he said, and then the man slipped out the arcade exit.

“I knew to wait a bit to make sure he was actually gone,” Dalessandro said.


When he was sure, he realized he would survive, but did not feel anything much because he was so busy trying to process everything he had seen.

“I stayed still and silent for a minute or too, not sure how long,” he said, then tried calling 911 from his Samsung watch because his cellphone remained on the table where he had been sitting.

Nobody answered.

As he looked around, Dalessandro could see victims lying on the floor, some crying for help, some beyond help.

When he tried to call 911 again, he reached a rattled dispatcher and could hear phones “ringing off the hook in background.”

Dalessandro had not yet heard about the shooting a little earlier at the Just-In-Time Recreation’s alley on Mollison Way.


The dispatcher asked him if he was hurt. He said no, but that Walker, lying beside him, was “struggling to breathe.”

She told him to apply pressure to the wound so he grabbed a cornhole bag of his to use, noticing bullet holes in the carpet behind the chair where he had been sitting earlier.

Then police arrived.

Dalessandro raised his hands and told them Walker, who was breathing with less vigor, needed help. One officer rushed to try to assist.

More officers swarmed in, he said, and he noticed blood everywhere.

The officer beside Walker asked if he or another patron, Kelly Sylvia, could find a knife. So they headed to the kitchen using their cellphone flashlights to see.


They each grabbed a different knife and Sylvia got one to the officer first.

At 7:15 p.m., he called his wife Becky to tell her what had happened.

Then he heard someone calling for assistance from a corner of the restaurant, a woman hiding under a tipped-over chair. He grabbed her and gave her a hand in getting out of the building, passing someone lying dead in an interior doorway.

As she clung to him, Dalessandro said, the woman he was assisting asked: “Who are you? Are you an angel?”

Outside, there were flashing blue lights and ambulances everywhere.

He said he found himself hugging people he knew.


Along with other witnesses, Dalessandro was taken to the Lewiston Armory, where officers took down his statement about what he witnessed.

His wife picked him up at the reunification center established at the Auburn Middle School at 12:45 a.m. Thursday, he said, when he was free to go home.

Dalessandro said he is not important in this whole sad saga, which ended late Friday with the discovery of Card’s body in a Lisbon recycling trailer.

“I’m just someone unlucky enough to be there, but extremely lucky to have made it out unscathed,” Dalessandro said. “I did nothing. I scrambled for my life. That’s it.”

He urged people to “please focus your love and support on the ones who lost so much more than I did. A kind word, a meal. A donation of money or blood. It all helps in different ways.”

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