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Residents, lawmakers react to Maine mass shooting

The mass shooting deeply affected this tight-knit community, drawing reactions from residents, lawmakers, and notable figures like Stephen King.
Residents, lawmakers react to Maine mass shooting
Posted at 10:57 AM, Oct 26, 2023

With a population of fewer than 40,000 residents, Lewiston, Maine, is a small city. The impact of Wednesday's mass shooting that left 18 dead and 13 injured sent shockwaves through this close-knit community.

One of the shooting locations was Schmenges Bar and Restaurant.

A resident living half a mile from the scene shared a video with Scripps News. She mentioned that she was unaware of the situation at the time but managed to capture audio that seemed to be the sound of rapid gunfire coming from the bar.

The owner of that bar and restaurant took to Facebook, saying, “My heart is crushed. I am at a loss for words. In a split second your world gets turn upside down for no good reason. We loss great people in this community. How can we make any sense of this. Sending out prayers to everyone."

The second shooting location was a bowling alley situated approximately four miles away from the restaurant and bar.

The alley also shared their sentiments on social media, saying, “None of this seems real, but unfortunately it is. We are devastated for our community and our staff. We lost some amazing and wholehearted people from our bowling family and community last night. There are no words to fix this or make it better. We are praying for everyone who has been affected by this horrific tragedy. We love you all and hold you close in our hearts.”

Reactions are also pouring in from across the state.

SEE MORE: Witness describes hiding as gunman opened fire at Maine bowling alley

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said, “As our state mourns this horrific mass shooting, we appreciate the support we’ve received from across the country, including the call I received from President Biden."Collins has faced criticism for her position on gun control and her voting record.

In 2013, Collins voted against gun control amendments, but in 2022, she backed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first federal gun legislation in 30 years.

Democratic congressman Jared Golden also took to social media to share his feelings about the situation, "Like all Mainers, I'm horrified by the events in Lewiston tonight. This is my hometown. Right now, all of us are looking to local law enforcement as they gain control of the situation and gather information. Our hearts break for those who are affected and we encourage everyone to follow the directions of the authorities as they conduct their work."

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills called the incident a tragedy and urged residents to follow the instructions of local law enforcement.

"Lewiston is a special place. It is a close-knit community with a long history of hard work, of persistence, of faith, and of opening its big heart to people everywhere,” said Mills.

But it’s not just lawmakers; one of Maine's most famous residents, author Stephen King, spoke out against gun violence."The shootings occurred less than 50 miles from where I live. I went to high school in Lisbon. It’s the rapid-fire killing machines, people. This is madness in the name of freedom. Stop electing apologists for murder," King shared on X. "THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN OTHER COUNTRIES. It's the guns AND the culture."

In a statement on Thursday, President Joe Biden referred to the tragedy as "another senseless and tragic mass shooting." He also urged Republican lawmakers to fulfill their duty to protect the American people by addressing gun laws. 

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