Robert Card would not come to the door.

Months before a Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office deputy tried and failed to perform a wellness check on the man who went on to kill 18 people in Lewiston, Card’s Army Reserve commanders in New York had faced the same problem – how could they get Card the help he clearly needed when he refused to let them in his room?

Their answer was to call the New York State Police. Extended body camera video from three troopers released this week provides new context to their July 16 visit to West Point, where Card had reported for annual training.

The footage, obtained by the Press Herald through a public records request, suggests that Card’s erratic behavior already had isolated him from his family and raised the concerns of his Army Reserve colleagues. And it reveals that both his commanding officers and New York troopers were concerned that he might not voluntarily accept help – and they feared he could become violent if they tried to force the issue.

The result of New York state troopers’ visit to the barracks already has been detailed in reports from the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office and earlier body camera footage the New York State Police released last week. Card eventually opened his door to police, and after a brief conversation in which he repeatedly claimed that people were calling him a pedophile behind his back everywhere he went, he agreed to let his squadmates escort him to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

“He’s a strong dude,” said one reservist, whose face and name is redacted in the video. “I’m worried about the nurses.”



Body camera recordings from three troopers, each covering approximately the same 70-minute period, show Card’s squadmates explaining their concerns and devising a strategy for getting the 40-year-old to a hospital.

One reservist said Card was acting strangely from the moment he arrived at the barracks the prior afternoon. While on a run for pizza and beer that evening, Card kept repeating his claim that people were insulting him behind his back and moved like he was going to throw a punch at one friend who asked him what was wrong. He never actually got violent, the soldiers told police, but he repeated what they took to be a threat: “I’ll take care of it.”

Warning: This video contains profanity. The interview with Robert Card begins around minute 55. 

The concerns about Card weren’t new, multiple reservists told the troopers. Though friends in the unit had known him for a decade as a “great guy,” something had shifted in the six months before the training. One unit member told police Card had become estranged from his family after a failed intervention. He’d always been quiet, but at the previous month’s drill weekend Card seemed different – like he was focused on trying to catch people talking about him.

“He’s lost so much weight since six months ago,” one unit member said. “His face is sunken. He’s all skin and bones.”

That timeline matches what Card’s son and ex-wife told a Sagadahoc deputy in May, according to reports released by the department after the Lewiston shooting. After the deputy reported those concerns to the Army Reserve unit, Card’s commanders promised they’d keep an eye on him and try to get him help.


It’s unclear whether the unit took any steps regarding Card’s mental health until they called New York state troopers in July.


For nearly an hour on July 16, troopers talked with members of the unit outside the barracks. They asked several times whether drug or alcohol abuse might be contributing to Card’s erratic behavior, but multiple soldiers said they didn’t think substances were involved. They weren’t sure if he had started taking any new medication. Instead, they suggested the voices Card said he was hearing might be linked to his new hearing aids.

“It’s just the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” one reservist said.

Both the police and the reservists agreed that Card’s behavior was worrying and warranted an evaluation. One soldier said he would be uncomfortable giving Card a ride home to Maine given his behavior. Another mentioned the “$20,000 to $30,000 worth of guns” Card had at home. It would be unsafe, they said, for Card to be around cadets at the shooting range that week.

“He just spent 14 grand on a scope,” one soldier said. “I don’t know what he’s capable of, and I’m not insinuating anything, but I’m just saying he does have a ton of guns.”


But the group struggled to work out a plan. As an active reservist, Card could be ordered to submit to an evaluation. But his commanders feared they were unequipped to safely force their way into Card’s room if he continued to refuse to open the door. Police agreed Card needed to go to the hospital, but they said they could only bring him into protective custody if they themselves could evaluate him and he said something that gave them probable cause that he was a threat to himself or others – the same reasoning a Sagadahoc deputy later gave to explain why he did not take Card into custody in September.

Card did end up letting police in his room, and while he remained adamant that the voices he was hearing were real, he said he would obey his commander’s order to go to the hospital.

After an evaluation at Keller Army Community Hospital, Card spent two weeks at Four Winds Psychiatric Hospital, according to documents released by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s office in October. It’s unclear whether that stay was voluntary – in the footage released this week, one officer said a civilian hospital would “just let (Card) walk right out – I guarantee that.”

Two months after New York troopers took him to the hospital, Card refused to open the door of his home for a Sagadahoc deputy who had received a report that he had threatened to shoot up his Army base. The deputy worked out a plan with Card’s brother to have him take away Card’s access to guns, but the deputy never confronted Card in person. His decision not to follow up, he told the commission investigating the shooting last month, was based partly on the fact Card had eventually calmed down and agreed to talk to police after initially hiding in his room in July.

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