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Police video shows Maine mass shooter's mental health troubles

Video shows New York State Police responding to an Army National Guard site where colleagues say Robert Card threatened them.
Police video shows Maine mass shooter's mental health troubles
Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 15, 2024

Newly-released police video is shedding light on a mental health crisis that led to the hospitalization of Maine mass shooter Robert Card months before police say he shot and killed 18 people.

The video, recorded by body-worn cameras, shows New York State Police responding to the Camp Smith Army National Guard training site in Cortland, New York in July 2023. Card, an Army reservist, was training there with colleagues who reported he had been threatening them and trying to start fights.

Colleagues are heard on video telling NYSP troopers that Card’s mental health seemed to have been deteriorating for months. He had lost weight and was paranoid. Some said the deterioration seemed to have begun around the same time Card began wearing hearing aids.  

“It’s like he’s hearing voices,” one colleague said.  

A colleague also described Card as a “gun nut” who spent $14,000 on a scope for a firearm, adding, “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.”  

The video then shows NYSP troopers interviewing Card in his room inside the training center about the concerns raised by his colleagues. Card, wearing an Army shirt and sporting a shaved head, explained that for months he heard many people in his life talking about him behind his back and accusing him of being a pedophile.

“It’s happening everywhere ... I’m hearing bits and pieces of all of it, and it’s just getting old. I confront people and it doesn’t stop,” Card told troopers.

Troopers told Card they had spoken with his colleagues, who denied talking about him behind his back, and only called authorities because they were concerned about his welfare. 

“Oh, because they’re scared, because I’m going to friggin’ do something. Because I am capable,” Card told troopers on camera. 

“What do you mean by that?” a trooper asked. “Nothing,” Card responded.

SEE MORE: Friend warned officials of Maine gunman: 'I literally spelled it out'

Scripps News Investigates obtained the video Thursday after filing a public records request for the recordings in the days after the Lewiston shootings. 

The video shows Card being taken to Keller Army Community Hospital after troopers told him there was a “command directive” that he seek treatment. Card complied, while noting that he didn’t have a choice since it was a command. 

“Is it going to help anything? No. I would rather have people stop talking and stop looking at me,” Card said.  

The July incident in New York was one of several red flags raised about Card’s mental health to law enforcement in the months leading up to the Lewiston massacres in October 2023. Family members reported their concerns to authorities in May, and a fellow Army reservist told a supervisor he was afraid Card would snap and “do a mass shooting” in September. 

Maine Gov. Janet Mills appointed an independent state commission last year to examine the events leading up to the shootings and the police investigation of the incidents. The commission’s work is ongoing. 

SEE MORE: Authorities: Maine shooter a threat, but felt unsafe confronting him

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