President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will fly Friday to Lewiston, Maine, to meet with families of the 18 people who were killed in an October 25 shooting spree.
“President Biden is committed doing everything in his power to stop the epidemic of gun violence tearing our communities apart and urging Congress to act on commonsense gun safety legislation,” said Stefanie Feldman, the head of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, in a statement.
While in Lewiston, the president and first lady will meet privately with victims’ families as well as ambulance teams, nurses, and others on the front lines of the response. The Bidens will also visit memorials at Schemengees Bar & Grille and Just-in-Time Recreation, where the shootings took place just over a week ago.
Maine Governor Janet Mills invited the Bidens and praised the president for his “unwavering support of us in the wake of last week’s horrific tragedy.”
“By visiting us in our time of need,” Mills added, “the president and first lady are making clear that the entire nation stands with Lewiston and with Maine, and for that I am profoundly grateful.”
Many Lewiston residents have raised questions about how and why the alleged shooter was able to obtain a gun.
Investigators say Robert Card, a U.S. Army reservist who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound two days after the killings, spent time in a psychiatric facility this summer. The Army had directed that while on duty, Card “should not have a weapon, handle ammunition, and not participate in live fire activity.”
In September, a deputy from the local sherrif’s office was sent to check on Card twice after a soldier expressed concerns the reservist would “snap and commit a mass shooting.” The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department put out a statewide alert warning that Card was “armed and dangerous.”