The mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, began at 6:56 p.m., authorities have said
A man described how he escaped the mass murderer at Sparetime Recreation bowling alley during Wednesday night's mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine that claimed the lives of at least 16 people.
While speaking with The Associated Press, a man — who only identified himself as Brandon — said that he heard about 10 shots initially, but did not immediately realize it was gunfire.
“I had my back turned to the door. And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon — he was holding a weapon — I just booked it,” he told The Associated Press.
Brandon told the outlet that he ran down the bowling lane, ducked into the pin area and climbed into the machinery to hide from the gunman.
At a Wednesday night press conference, Mike Sauschuck, Public Safety Commissioner for the Governor's Office, said the violence began at about 6:56 p.m. Lewiston police had said that in addition to the shooting at Sparetime Recreation, the gunman also opened fire inside of Schemengees Bar and Grille.
In a Wednesday night Facebook post, the Lewiston Police Department identified a person of interest in the attacks as Robert Card, 40, who is at large and is considered "armed and dangerous."
The Associated Press, citing a state police bulletin, reports the person of interest is a military-trained firearms instructor who had recently been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this past summer.
According to the bulletin, the person of interest had threatened to perpetrate a shooting at a military base in Saco, Maine. The bulletin also says the person of interest had said he'd heard voices. PEOPLE has not been able to independently verify the information on the bulletin.
Sauschuck said authorities had located a “vehicle of interest” in Lisbon — a neighboring town to Lewiston. Residents of Lisbon, as well as residents of nearby Lewiston, Auburn and Bowdoin, Maine, have been advised to shelter in place.
Sauschuck said a reunification center has been set up at Auburn Middle School with counselors on hand.
Lewiston has a population of about 38,500, and is the second-most populous city in the state after Portland, which sits about 35 miles south. It's the home of Bates College and the Dempsey Center, founded by actor Patrick Dempsey.
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