One of the locations a gunman opened fire at in the US was a bowling alley hosting a children’s league in Lewiston, Maine.
Around 100 people were in the bowling alley Just-In-Time Recreation when the shooter entered just before 7pm on Wednesday (local time). Dressed in a brown hoodie and jeans, the shooter appeared to be armed with a semi-automatic rifle.
CBS reporter Bradley Blackburn told AM families who were gathered at the bowling alley for a “fun evening” were forced to find cover as the man opened fire.
“When the shooting started, they ran for cover wherever they could find it, covering their children. Some families say they ran down the length of the bowling alley and ducked into where the pins go at the end of the lane,” Blackburn said.
A 10-year-old girl who was at the bowling alley told local media she was grazed by a bullet.
“It’s scary,” she told WMTW-TV. “I had never thought I’d grow up and get a bullet in my leg. And it’s just like, why? Why do people do this?”
A woman who had come to the alley to watch her 11-year-old daughter compete in a children’s league said her family used tables and a bench to try to protect themselves.
“I was lying on top of my daughter. My mother was lying on top of me. It felt like it lasted a lifetime,” she told ABC News.
Meanwhile, a bowler told reporters he was putting his bowling shoes on when the shooting started and ran to climb up to hide in the machinery in the pin area.
One woman and six men were shot dead at the bowling alley. Police have not yet released the victims’ ages.
Just-In-Time said in a Facebook post that its staff were “devastated for our community.”
“None of this seems real, but unfortunately it is,” it said in the post. “We lost some amazing and wholehearted people from our bowling family and community last night. There are no words to fix this or make it better.”
The shooter then went on to target a bar called Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, about 5km away. Seven men were shot dead there, police said. Three victims who were taken to hospitals later died of their injuries.
So far, 18 people have been reported dead and 13 others injured.
A search is underway for the gunman suspected to be US Army reservist Robert Card who authorities said had mental health problems and had recently spent two weeks in a mental health facility. He had reportedly been hearing voices and made threats to a National Guard base in Saco, Maine.
Parts of Maine are in lockdown as police urge residents to stay inside and lock their doors.
Canada’s Border Services Agency has issued an “armed and dangerous” alert to officers to be on the lookout for Card. Canada shares a border with Maine.