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CT officials react to deadly mass shooting as state police continue to monitor situation in Maine

Police presence at Schemengees Bar on October 26, 2023 where a mass shooting occurred yesterday in Lewiston, Maine.
JOSEPH PREZIOSO
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Police presence at Schemengees Bar on Oct. 26, 2023 where a mass shooting occurred yesterday in Lewiston, Maine.

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Connecticut State Police say they are monitoring the situation in Maine following Wednesday night's mass shooting that left several people dead. But Connecticut authorities note that they have not received specific threats in the state.

“In the interest of public safety we are closely monitoring the situation and remain in close communication with our regional law enforcement partners,” Col. Stavros Mellekas with the Connecticut State Police said in a statement.

If requested, state police will assist law enforcement in Maine, Mellekas said.

“This assault on innocent citizens is deeply disturbing and heartbreaking,” he said.

Middletown police said that while they had no information that their city was in danger, they would be conducting "frequent property checks" at schools and businesses.

Maine’s governor says at least 18 people were killed and 13 were injured in the shootings in Lewiston. Gov. Janet Mills made the remarks Thursday at a press conference.

A police bulletin identified Robert Card, 40, as a person of interest in the attack in Lewiston. Card was described as a firearms instructor believed to be in the U.S. Army Reserve and assigned to a training facility in Saco, Maine.

Senator: Another mass shooting is 'maddening'

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, who represented Newtown in Congress during the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, said he's been in touch with Maine Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to advise them on how to respond to Wednesday night's shooting.

Americans support stronger gun control laws, but Murphy says Congress has failed to act.

"Having gone through this in Connecticut, it is maddening to watch Maine now have to go through this when we know what works. We know how to solve this," Murphy told Connecticut Public.

Murphy isn't optimistic federal gun reform will happen anytime soon in the wake of weeks of chaos in the House of Representatives, which culminated in the GOP's election of Rep. Mike Johnson as speaker.

"It’s hard to imagine that with this radical guy in charge of the House that there is going to be any appetite over there to do anything about mass shootings," Murphy said.

Murphy implored states not to wait for federal regulation to curb gun violence. While Connecticut bans rifles like the one allegedly used Wednesday night, Murphy said Maine does not.

Flags at half-staff in CT

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont ordered Thursday that in accordance with a proclamation from President Joe Biden, he's directing flags to fly at half-staff until sunset on Monday.

“The growing number of mass shootings in our country is infuriating, and we cannot become complacent to this epidemic of gun violence," Lamont said in a statement. "The Connecticut State Police is prepared to address any threats to our local communities should they arise."

In a statement, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz described gun violence as "an epidemic and a clear call to action."

"Connecticut has led the way in adopting strong and comprehensive gun safety legislation," she said. "But it’s time that other states and our federal government join us to truly put an end to this crisis."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, issued a statement saying “horror and shock mark another gun violence tragedy” in America.

"The Lewiston mass shooting is gut wrenching and heartbreaking – almost incomprehensible in its magnitude. I hope for swift and safe apprehension of the shooter, and thank first responders for their heroic action,” Blumenthal said.

Lewiston, Maine, is about 200 miles from the Connecticut border.

Connecticut Public’s Patrick Skahill, John Henry Smith, Abigail Brone, Jennifer Ahrens and The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story, which will be updated.

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