[Note from BenIndy: We know that words can sometimes fail us, but numbers don’t always fare so well, either. Lewiston, Maine’s mass shooting, in which 18 people lost their lives horrifically, was the 36th mass shooting of 2023. This year alone, we have lost at least 190 people to mass shootings, defined by the FBI as incidents in which four or more people (not including the killer) have died within a 24-hour period. We live in a country where statistics have shown us time and time again how truly deadly our lax gun laws are, and how gun violence disproportionately impacts people of color, children and teens. Gun violence is an epidemic with roots so deep and tangled in American culture that even the slaughter of children doesn’t stir us to think boldly.]
A teen bowler, a shipbuilder and a sign language interpreter are among the Maine shooting victims
Assembled using NPR’s “What we know about the victims in the Lewiston, Maine, mass shooting,” by Vanessa Romo, Ayana Archie, Emily Olson, and Steve Mistler, October 28, 2023 and WMTW Maine’s “These are the victims of the Lewiston, Maine, mass shootings,” October 28, 2023
This week’s mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, was the nation’s deadliest of the year.
Eighteen people were killed in the attacks on a local bowling alley and bar, and 13 others were injured.
Law enforcement announced on Friday that suspect Robert Card had been found dead.
The 40-year-old was the only person suspected in the deadly assault at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar & Grille on Wednesday.
This announcement, made late Friday night, marked the conclusion of a pursuit that left residents seeking shelter and led to the temporary closure of businesses and government offices. State and federal law enforcement agencies conducted an extensive search across multiple towns for Card.
The Maine Department of Public Safety released the names, ages and photos of the victims at a press conference Friday.
Before then, some families had publicly shared the news they had been given, taking to social media to update their friends and neighbors on an unimaginable reality now settling in.
Here is what we know about the victims:
TRICIA ASSELIN, 53
Tricia Asselin was one of the victims of the mass shootings in Lewiston on Wednesday night, ABC News said. She was an accomplished athlete, a volunteer, and on the day of her death, a hero, her mother, Alicia Lachance, told NPR.
Lachance, 75, said her two daughters, Tricia and Bobbi-Lynn Nichols, 57, went bowling at Just-In-Time Recreation, where Asselin worked.
Asselin and Nichols were talking near a center lane in the bowling alley when the shots first rang out, though due to the noise in the venue, the sisters didn’t realize they were shots until they rang out a second time. As Nichols began running toward the exit, she thought Asselin was behind her, but Asselin stopped to call for help and was shot.
Lachance, who lives in Florida, said she was watching Celebrity Wheel of Fortune when she saw the news break on the screen. She said she recognized the bowling alley immediately, as it is the only one in Lewiston and was started by a family friend.
“I know Tricia is there, and Bobbi, as they were going bowling. I call both their phones – nothing and no answer,” she said.
Nichols tried to go back into the bowling alley, but was denied.
In high school, Asselin played baseball and softball, and was offered a softball college scholarship, but turned it down because she was getting married.
She also was skilled in golf and fishing, which she did often with her son Brandon, 25.
In her free time, she went on cruises with her son and volunteered with several charitable organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She had raised $900 for the upcoming Susan G. Komen breast cancer walk in her area, Lachance said.
“She was just a great person,” Lachance said. “Anybody that knows Tricia is devastated today.”
In addition to her son and mother, Asselin is survived by two brothers, Mark Johnson, 54, and Jason Johnson, 51.
The family has not yet been able to see Asselin’s body.
“We just don’t know what to do,” Lachance said. “There’s nothing we can do. As soon as I find out when they’re going to release the body, I want to fly home and I want to hold my daughter in my arms and my heart. I’ll hold her in my heart forever, but I want her in my arms one more time.”
Tricia was fatally shot at Just-in-Time Recreation as she ran to call 911.
BILL BRACKETT, 48
Bill was part of a gathering of deaf people playing cornhole at Schemengees Bar & Grill when he was fatally shot.
Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40, worked as a pipefitter at Bath Iron Works, a local machinists’ union shared in a statement. He loved cornhole, wrestling, comic book heroes and helping others, his colleagues said.
Peyton Brewer Ross, a new father, died in the shooting, according to the Maine AFL-CIO. They add he was loved by the community.
It is unclear what location Peyton was Wednesday when he was fatally shot.