People hold candles and make the “I love you” sign at the end of a vigil on Nov. 1, at Winthrop High School for victims of the Lewiston mass shootings. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The independent commission tasked with reviewing the events surrounding the deadliest mass shooting in Maine history is set to resume its work with a series of public meetings beginning later this month.

Dan Wathen, the commission chair and former chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, announced four meeting dates – Jan. 25, Feb. 1, Feb. 15 and March 7 – when members will hear from police agencies that interacted with shooter Robert Card in the months before the rampage in which he killed 18 people, and from some of the 13 people injured in the attacks at two locations in Lewiston.

Gov. Janet Mills convened the commission one week after the Oct. 25 shootings with the goal of learning what led to the tragedy and what might be learned from it.

“A cornerstone of the ability to heal is to know the truth – in this case, the facts of what happened on that tragic night, of the months that led up to it, and of the police response to it,” Mills said in a statement announcing the commission.

The commission has met just once so far, a mostly organizational meeting during which it pledged to move forward quickly and with maximum transparency.

At its initial meeting, the commission asked the Legislature to grant it subpoena power as soon as possible. Mills and legislative leaders said at the time that they planned to seek approval when lawmakers reconvened this month. Although it hasn’t happened yet, the governor’s office said Thursday that it’s still on track to meet that goal.


“The governor and attorney general will do all they can to ensure the commission has the resources and powers it needs to discharge its fact-finding responsibilities fully and properly and in a timely manner,” spokesman Ben Goodman said in an email.

The first public meeting, set for Jan. 25, will include testimony from the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, which was contacted last September after family members and Army reservists who served with Card expressed concerns about his mental health and feared he might commit acts of violence. A deputy from that department tried to contact Card twice at his home in Bowdoin but was unsuccessful. Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry has defended his agency and commissioned his own independent review that found officers acted appropriately.

The Feb. 1 meeting will be an opportunity for victims to testify publicly. So far, four have signed up to speak, according to information provided by Wathen. In addition to the 18 people who died, 13 were wounded by Card – some critically – in the shootings at Just-in-Time Recreation and Schmengees Bar & Grille.

Members of the Maine State Police, which led the investigation into the shooting and the 48-hour manhunt for Card, will speak to the commission on Feb. 15.

And the March 7 meeting will provide a chance for personnel from the U.S. Army to testify.

Card was a longtime member of an Army Reserve unit based in Saco that regularly conducted training exercises at U.S. Military Academy West Point in New York. Last summer, a few months before the shootings, Card was hospitalized for 14 days after supervisors became concerned about his behavior. Card was released from the hospital and his military issue weapons were taken, officials have said, but he still had several firearms at his home.

The commission does not have a firm deadline for releasing its findings and may scheduled additional meetings this spring. Another investigation, by the Army Inspector General, also is underway.

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