Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced Wednesday she plans to establish an independent commission of experts to probe the Lewiston mass shooting, the “months preceding the shooting and the police response to it.”
“I know that the Maine State Police are working hard to conduct a thorough and comprehensive criminal investigation of the shooting, but I also believe that the gravity of this attack on our people – an attack that strikes at the core of who we are and the values we hold dear – demands a higher level of scrutiny,” Mills said in a statement.
There were previous warnings about Robert Card – the US Army reservist who authorities say killed 18 people and wounded 13 others – from both the Army and his family, CNN has reported, and there were two attempts by law enforcement to check on him just weeks before the killings.
One of those warnings came after a soldier became concerned Card would “snap and commit a mass shooting.” Before that, Card’s family contacted authorities and reported they were concerned for his well-being and shared he had access to firearms.
When CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz and other reporters confronted the governor on Monday about how law enforcement handled the warnings, Mills repeatedly pointed to the ongoing investigation by state police, saying, “Determining and understanding all the facts surrounding this event is crucial.” She declined to comment on the warnings or what law enforcement knew.
In her Wednesday statement, the governor said it was important to recognize there were multiple occasions in the last 10 months in which “concerns about Mr. Card’s mental health and his behavior were brought to the attention of his Army National Reserve Unit, as well as law enforcement agencies here in Maine and in New York.”
“This raises crucial questions about actions taken and what more could have been done to prevent this tragedy from occurring,” the governor said.
“In the coming days, I will work with the Attorney General to formally establish a fully independent commission, whose charge will be to determine the facts surrounding the tragedy on October 25th, including the time that led up to it and the police response to it,” Mills said.
The governor said she wants the commission to be made up of “independent experts with legal, investigative and mental health backgrounds.”
“I hope to formally announce this commission and its membership next week so that it may conduct itself with a due sense of urgency, and above all else, follow the facts wherever they may lead,” she added.
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