dothe kids were playing games at a party in a bowling alley.
The locals drank and dined at a restaurant.
It was by all accounts a normal Wednesday night – until America was rocked by the latest horrific act of gun violence.
A gunman walked into two locations in the town of Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night and opened fire, killing 18 people and injuring 13 others.
Now, a manhunt is underway to capture Robert Card – the “armed and dangerous” suspect wanted in connection with the shootings.
Residents across Maine are huddled in their homes and businesses as the search continues for a U.S. Army firearms instructor who allegedly threatened to shoot up a National Guard post and recently complained of hearing voices.
Maine police say seven killed at bowling alley, eight at restaurant in mass shooting
Here's what we know so far:
The horror shooting unfolded around 6:56 p.m. Wednesday night when a gunman broke into two locations in Lewiston and opened fire on the people inside.
The first location targeted was Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley popular with families and children.
Lewiston Councilman Robert McCarthy said a children's party was taking place there at the time.
The second shooting took place about four miles away at the Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant – a large restaurant with 10 pool tables and televisions to play major sporting events – with multiple 911 calls coming in around 7:08 p.m.
The restaurant had posted on Facebook that it was hosting an “industry night” that night.
“INDUSTRY NIGHT TONIGHT!! Do you work in the bar/restaurant industry? You get 25% of your bill!!!!” he said.
Police received reports of shots fired and responded to find multiple victims.
In all, 18 people were killed and 13 others were injured in the attacks, Maine Governor Janet Mills confirmed at a news conference Thursday.
Among the victims, seven people, including one woman and six men, were found shot dead in the bowling alley.
Seven men were killed inside Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and one man was killed outside.
Three other victims died after being taken to a local hospital.
The condition of the injured remains unclear.
Ms. Mill said Maine is “one of the safest states in the nation” as she pledged to hold whoever was responsible accountable.
“I hold these families and this city in my heart,” he said.
“I wish I could take this pain from your hearts, from your shoulders, but I promise you – we will all help you bear this sorrow.”
A city councilor previously told CNN that 22 people were believed to have been killed and 60 others were injured.
Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck declined to give a specific death toll Wednesday night, saying, “It's a very fluid situation. I don't have firm numbers, and when I do, I'll be happy to share it with you… I don't think it's helpful.”
Initial reports also indicated that a shooting may have taken place at a third location at a Walmart distribution center, but that was later proven to be false.
Walmart released a statement late Wednesday saying, “There was no shooting on Walmart property. The distribution center was locked down and police searched the facility. They found nothing and no one was injured.”
An intensive manhunt is now underway for Robert Card, who has now been named as a suspect in the shooting.
Police identified Mr Card as a person of interest after he posted chilling surveillance footage on Facebook of the attacker entering the bowling alley armed with a rifle.
Lewiston police also shared a photo of a white SUV wanted in connection with the shooting and asked the public to contact authorities if they see it.
At around 11.30pm, police confirmed that Mr Card's car had been found in Lisbon – about eight miles from Lewiston – but that he remained missing.
At Thursday's press conference, police confirmed that the vehicle was found near a boat landing site in Lisbon.
It is not clear where Mr Card went next.
Residents in Auburn, Lewiston and Lisbon are all being asked to evacuate and businesses are being asked to close as the manhunt continues.
Bowdoin – where Mr. Card lives – was also placed in a shelter in a row as of Thursday morning.
Mr Card has been described as “armed and dangerous” and members of the public have been warned not to approach him if they see him.
Due to Mr. Card's experience as a certified firearms instructor, he is well trained in the use of firearms.
On Thursday afternoon – about 24 hours after the first incidents – a major FBI search was conducted at a property owned by Mr. Card in nearby Bowdoin.
A spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety told CNN that law enforcement was “not positive” that Mr. Card was at the home and that police did their “due diligence.”
On Thursday afternoon local time, several police vehicles were seen near Card's Bowdoin-area home, with CNN reporting a series of loud bangs.
There was speculation that the noise could have been flash bangs used by police in confrontations with armed suspects. A short time later, a video emerged of law enforcement outside a property with an announcer announcing, “FBI! Open the door!”
Around 8.45 p.m. local time, police tactical vehicles were pictured moving in a motorcade away from the property.
A few hours after the shootings, Robert Card was named a person of interest by police.
On Thursday morning, officials confirmed that he was now a suspect in the murders and that a warrant had been issued for his arrest on eight counts of murder (as 10 victims have yet to be identified).
Mr Card, 40, is a US Army Reserve and certified firearms instructor, meaning he is well trained in the use of firearms.
The US military confirmed it joined in 2002 and had no combat deployment. He is currently a Sgt 1st class and an oil supply specialist.
Law enforcement officials said Mr. Card had recently threatened to shoot up a National Guard installation in Saco and had reported mental health problems, including hearing voices.
He spent two weeks in a mental health facility this summer.
Members of Mr Card's family have revealed their shock, with the 40-year-old's sister-in-law saying The Daily Beast that they are “shaken” by the news.
“I'm with the police right now and my kids [are] horrified and distraught, so I have no comment on anything at this time,” she said.
Only a few people involved in the attacks have been identified – among them, a 10-year-old girl.
Zoey Levesque was watching practice with her youth league at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley. One of the bullets grazed the little girl as she and her mother Megan Hutchinson ran for cover and desperately barricaded themselves in a back room.
Speaking to ABC News on Thursday, Ms Hutchinson recalled another child in the room bleeding heavily from a bullet in his arm. Police later arrived and freed them from the building.
Another man, named Brandon, revealed how he hid in a bowling alley in a desperate bid to escape the gunman.
he said The Associated Press that he had initially mistaken the sound of the gunshots for balloons popping before seeing Card brandishing his gun in the alley. Fearing for his safety, he said he ran down the lane and slid into the machine.
“And once I turned around and saw that it wasn't a balloon, he was holding a gun, I just closed it on the lane and basically slid down to where the pins are and got on the machine,” he said.
Brandon said he heard about 10 gunshots and that the shooter got within about 15 meters of him. The gunman appeared not to see him in his hiding place and remained there until police arrived minutes later.
Others were not so lucky.
Maine State Police reveal identity of gunman discovered in nearby vehicle
Bob Violette, a 76-year-old retired Sears engineer and avid bowler was identified as one of the victims killed by his daughter-in-law, Cassandra.
Mr Violette, who started the youth bowling league with his wife Lucy, was reportedly killed trying to protect the children he was responsible for.
“He wouldn't let you out the door without giving him a hug and a kiss on the check. He was there for everything,” Cassandra said The Portland Press Herald.
He said he had a special bond with his grandchildren and was a loving husband to his wife Lucy, who was injured in the shooting. However, her condition is unknown. “His first thought every day was that,” she added.
Also bowling was 53-year-old Tricia Asselin, who worked part-time at Just-In-Time Recreation. Her brother DJ Johnson told CNN that she had run to the counter in an attempt to call 911 before she was killed.
“It was just her. He wasn't going to run (far). She would try to help,” he said, adding that his sister was a “hero.”
CNN also reported that 34-year-old Tommy Conrad, who worked as a bowling alley manager, was killed in the attack. Mr. Conrad leaves behind a nine-year-old daughter.
Another confirmed victim was Bryan MacFarlane. Mr McFarlane was one of the participants in a deaf cornhole tournament being held at Schemengees Bar & Grille when the second shooting incident occurred.
His sister told CNN that Mr. McFarlane usually went to the bar on Wednesdays for weekly sessions and to hang out with his friends.
He was one of the first people in the state of Maine to get his commercial truck license. He worked as a truck driver, enjoyed riding his motorcycle and playing with his dog, his sister said.
Joseph Walker, the bar manager at Schemengees, was also identified as dead by his father, Leroy Walker.
The Maine AFL-CIO – a state federation of more than 160 local labor unions – later announced that one of its members, Peyton Brewer Ross, was among the dead.
Mr. Ross was a new father and “loved by his community,” the federation wrote to X, sharing a photo of Mr. Ross smiling and holding a small child. Mr. Ross was a member of the Machinists Local S6 union.