December 2, 2023

By Chris Van Buskirk, Boston Herald

LEWISTON, Maine — Miia Zellner and Hunter Kissam realized one thing was flawed of their hometown once they heard sirens blaring outdoors their condominium.

As they investigated what was occurring, they stated a cop got here as much as their automotive Wednesday night time and informed them to point out their arms, after which “transfer on.”

Zellner, 22, and Kissam, 27, had been solely a brief distance away from Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant, one in every of two websites concerned in a mass taking pictures that left 18 folks lifeless and 13 wounded, in line with police.

“We didn’t suppose it was practically as unhealthy because it was,” Kissam informed the Herald Thursday whereas he was strolling down Lisbon Avenue, a primary thoroughfare in downtown Lewiston. “We thought like, okay, anyone obtained mad at a bar and shot anyone or no matter. After which we heard a shooter. Then we noticed headlines with lively shooter, and we weren’t anticipating it to be what it was.”


The taking pictures is the thirty sixth mass killing in america this 12 months, in line with a database run by Northeastern College in Boston at the side of media retailers.

The horrific occasions that unfolded Wednesday rocked residents in Lewiston and throughout Maine, as different mass shootings have achieved with the seemingly unending record of cities and cities nationwide.

An artist by commerce and initially from Central Massachusetts, Zellner determined Thursday to make heart-shaped cutouts from poster board adorned with phrases like “to my neighborhood” or “to my mates” to position on gentle posts all through downtown Lewiston.

“I used to be feeling a number of feelings about the entire thing this morning and it form of manifested bodily into this. I simply needed to point out my help and love for the neighborhood and provides folks a visible illustration of the kind of help that individuals really feel,” Zellner stated in-between putting the center cutouts onto avenue lights and bushes.

Areas round Lewiston had been practically abandoned Thursday as regulation enforcement maintained a shelter-in-place order for the town in addition to the neighboring communities of Lisbon and Bowdoin.

Occasional canine walkers interspersed with folks experiencing homelessness slowly meandered by means of a primary park simply throughout the road from Metropolis Corridor. However the media practically outnumbered the locals who had been venturing into public areas.

Companies had been largely shut down in Lewiston, with most gasoline stations, eating places, and retailers shuttered as regulation enforcement continued a large manhunt for 40-year-old Robert Card, who they stated is a suspect related to the shootings.

Lisbon Avenue, the place Zellner hung the heart-shaped posters, was practically empty.

“It’s normally a lot busier than proper now,” she stated, hoping her posters would assist promote “some kind of optimistic from this.”

At a press convention earlier Thursday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills stated the taking pictures tore by means of the “peace of thoughts” of all residents within the state, however particularly in Lewiston.

“This can be a darkish day for Maine. I do know it’s exhausting for us to consider therapeutic when our hearts are damaged,” Mills stated. “However I would like each individual in Maine to know that we’ll heal collectively. We’re sturdy. We’re resilient. We’re a really caring folks.”