PEEKSKILL, NY (PIX11) — Maine shooting suspect Robert Card had connections to the New York area that played key roles in his history of mental illness, according to the U.S. Army Reserve, in which he serves as a sergeant.
Because of that connection, law enforcement in our region said they are taking every precaution while Card is still at large.
At the main entrance to Camp Smith, just north of Peekskill, N.Y. on Thursday, New York State troopers joined military police to ensure safe entry. However, all morning long, there was no police presence at the shuttered back gate of the military post.
A sign posted on that gate bolstered law enforcement officers’ explanations of why Card is dangerous. “Live firing,” it read, and echoing through the woods surrounding the gate was evidence that live firing was well underway.
A loud, automatic weapons fire reverberated outside of the facility operated by the Army Reserve and National Guard. It was confirmed on Thursday morning that shooting suspect Robert Card had been at Camp Smith with his unit this past summer.
“On July 16, 2023,” began a statement released by the Army, leaders of Card’s battalion “informed garrison staff that Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Class Robert Card was behaving erratically. Out of concern for his safety, the unit requested that law enforcement be contacted.”
Police transported Card to an Army hospital at nearby West Point “for medical evaluation,” according to the National Guard.
While the manhunt that is now extended from Maine to New York is underway, a variety of law enforcement agencies are taking extra precautions. In addition to New York State Police patrols, Westchester County officers were visible near the military facility on Thursday.
Also, NYPD top brass said that they were offering assistance and being extra vigilant in the case involving Card, who police say shot and killed 18 people and wounded 13 in Lewiston, Maine.
NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban, at a Thursday morning briefing, listed some of the measures his department is taking regarding Card.
“We took that person’s image and sent out an alert to every smartphone in our department,” said Caban. “We also made the decision to dispatch investigators to Lewiston.”
“We also had appropriate resources at the ready, in case the suspect could end up here,” Caban said.
His deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, Rebecca Ulam Weiner, said that the NYPD’s actions include increased security at places of entry to the city.
Meanwhile, back in Westchester County, near Camp Smith, most residents know people connected to the army post.
One business owner in Peekskill, N.Y., who is licensed to sell guns, called the situation involving the man who had trained at Camp Smith tragic. He added, though, that to him, it is about more than firearms.
“We need to do something in this country to help people with mental issues,” said Greg Grimaldi, who owns a variety of businesses, including a firearms store.
“That ends up being the root cause of all of these problems,” he continued. “That is where these mass shootings are coming from.”
The New York State Police indicated that it would continue having troopers deployed at Camp Smith “to increase force protection” until Card is found.