Amanda Allen, right, of the FBI’s Victim Services Division speaks to the press Sunday morning about the system for meeting with victims and their families at the Family Assistance Center set up at the Lewiston Armory at at 65 Central Ave. Regan Thibodeau, right, translates Allen’s message into American Sign Language. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Police expect to begin the process Monday of returning to family members some personal effects belonging to victims of Wednesday’s shootings at Just-In-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar & Grille.

Amanda Allen of the FBI’s Victim Services Division said the effects could include bowling balls, wallets, cellphones, backpacks, keys. Anything that those fleeing the bowling alley and bar might have left behind, along with items that belong to the 18 people who died are considered non-evidentiary to the ongoing investigation.

Allen, who led a brief press conference Sunday morning at the Family Assistance Center set up at the Lewiston Armory at 65 Central Ave., said the personal effects will be at the armory for families to come in to identify and collect. If a family member identifies an item that needs to be cleaned of biohazards, the FBI will take care of that and make sure the family receives the item.

The assistance center has been set up by the Maine State Police, the Office of the Maine Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the American Red Cross to provide support for victims and their families. Allen defined “victims” broadly, saying anyone who was at the bowling alley or bar who witnessed the shootings, even if not harmed physically, is encouraged to come to the armory to learn about services available to them, including counseling services and potential financial assistance through the state’s Victims’ Compensation Program.

Activity books and teddy bears await victims and their families Sunday morning at the Family Assistance Center set up at the Lewiston Armory at 65 Central Ave. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Allen said she strongly encourages victims to come to the armory for services, even if they do not feel like they need them right now. It is a place, she said, where the community can come together to begin the healing process. If people self-isolate right now, she said, their recovery from this trauma could take longer and the center offers a one-stop opportunity to receive local, state and national services.

“If you were present but not injured, you are still injured,” Allen said, and likely need help to navigate emotional damage.


Allen said advocates have been so public about making people know services are available because, while they know the names of those who were physically injured and required medical assistance, “we don’t know everyone who was there,” and the advocates want those people to seek help.

“People don’t know how to feel right now,” Allen said, “but every reaction you have is a normal reaction. You may not be able to identify what you need. We can help identify that need” through conversations with victim advocates.

The center is scheduled to be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through at least Tuesday but might remain open longer, depending on community needs.

For other community members who feel they need assistance but are not tied directly to the shootings, there are counseling and other support services available at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center at 490 Pleasant St. in Lewiston.

At the armory, victims and their families can meet with victim advocates from the attorney general’s office and local district attorney’s office, among other agencies. American Sign Language interpreters are available, as are foreign language interpreters and emotional health support specialists from the Red Cross trained in crisis intervention.

Harvard University’s community engagement dog, Sasha, is also available for emotional support if people just need to pet or hug this specially trained black Lab. Harvard uses Sasha to provide students and community members with pet therapy to help with anxiety, mental challenges, bereavement support and other stressors.


Tables are set up Sunday morning at the Lewiston Armory at 65 Central Ave. for counselors to meet with victims of Wednesday night’s shootings and their families. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

On Saturday, Allen said about 100 people came in seeking assistance, meeting with various service providers and some staying for meals provided by the Red Cross. The center is offering child care for those who are not able or do not want to leave their children at home.

There are also advocates available who are specially trained in assessing children, along with welcoming stuffed animals and activity books and crayons set up at the registration tables.

When the center closes, Allen said, the FBI and other crisis advocates are expected to “work with city officials and local agencies to make sure community needs are being met.” And down the road, if someone who did not seek immediate assistance feels he or she needs help, victim advocates at the attorney general’s office can help.

“We will find a way to get you help,” Allen said.

Since the Wednesday night shootings, some of the same victim advocates who are working at the armory have been meeting with families at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where nearly all of the victims were treated.

For more information about victim resources offered by the FBI, go to:

For information about a CMMC fund that has been set up to help pay for trauma care for patients without the ability to pay, and for emotional and behavioral support for trauma care providers, patients and families to receive ongoing care, go to:

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