Long before Robert Card was the subject of a massive manhunt, he was a man in torment, according to his sister-in-law.
Card, 40, is suspected of killing 18 people and wounding 13 others in a Wednesday evening shooting spree at multiple locations in Lewiston, Maine, NBC News reported.
Katie Card, who is married to Card’s brother, said the past year has been anguish as the alleged gunman began hearing voices in his head.
“I have known Rob my whole life,” Katie Card said on Thursday, according to the Daily Beast. “He is quiet but the most loving, hardworking, and kind person that I know. But in the past year, he had an acute episode of mental health, and it’s been a struggle.”
After Robert Card started wearing hearing aids, he told family members he could hear people criticizing him, including patrons of the bowling alley and restaurant where the shootings erupted Wednesday.
“He truly believed he was hearing people say things. This all just happened within the last few months,” she said.
Katie Card said Robert Card grew angry when family members tried to tell him what he heard was not real.
“Things have kind of gone downhill recently,” Katie Card said. “We tried to listen to him and tell him that nobody was talking about him.”
“Yesterday, as the story was unfolding, we prayed that Rob had nothing to do with this. But when we heard the two places where the shooting happened, my husband rushed home,” she said.
Robert Card was a decorated petroleum supply specialist in the Army Reserve, having enlisted in 2002.
NBC reported that his commander sent him to receive in-patient psychiatric treatment this summer after he threatened his base.
Katie Card said wherever Robert Card is, he is “scared.”
“We know he is out there and he is a good person in his heart,” she said. “After all of this, when he has time to reflect, he will be disgusted. We all want him to know that we love him and that we can handle things as a family.”
A shelter-in-place order was issued for Lewiston and nearby Northern Sagadahoc County, NBC reported.
Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Koroknay of the U.S. Coast Guard said the Kennebec River was being searched because a vehicle linked to Robert Card was found at a boat ramp in Lisbon, according to The New York Times.
Investigators executing a search warrant at Robert Card’s home found a note, NBC reported, citing senior law enforcement officials. The contents of the note have not been released.