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Hundreds of mourners gather to remember victims of Maine mass shooting at candlelit vigil which included prayer for family of gunman Robert Card who opened fire on sleepy town slaughtering 18


Hundreds of mourners gathered tonight to remember victims of the Maine mass shooting at a candlelit vigil which also included a prayer for the family of gunman Robert Card.

The highly-emotional service was held in Lisbon, Maine, on a lawn beside the banks of the Androscoggin River – less than a kilometer from where Card’s body was found just 24 hours earlier.

Mourners packed close together as the sun set and clutched candles in a powerful show of solidarity after 18 victims were murdered on Wednesday night by Card.

 Many of those present, including families with babies and small children, hugged and wept during a service led by Jonathan Jones, the pastor at Lisbon Falls Baptist Church.

Speaking into a microphone, Jones delivered a brief, religiously charged service in memory of the victims which also included a prayer for the Card family. ‘We want to remember all those that are hurting tonight,’ he told the crowd.

The highly emotional service featured words by Jonathan Jones, the pastor at Lisbon Falls Baptist Church, who said he wanted to remember ‘all those hurting tonight’

Families brought their young children to join the service for the  18 people killed by Card and for his other victims in hospital

The religious service also included a prayer for the family of mass shooter Robert Card

All 18 victims of the Maine mass shooting have been identified

All 18 victims of the Maine mass shooting have been identified

‘My heart is, as your hearts this past week, broken for the community of Lewiston and the community of Lisbon as well, in my opinion the two best cities in the country,’ said Jones, who concluded by reading aloud the names of each victim.

Jones delivered his remarks almost exactly 72 hours after Card opened fire at a bowling alley in nearby Lewiston, killing six men and one woman. 

Card then drove about four miles to a bar and grill, where eight more men were shot dead. Three more victims died in hospital and at least 13 more were injured, some critically.

Card’s body was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday night in a container at a recycling plant just a few hundred meters along the river from where mourners gathered for the vigil. The discovery followed a massive manhunt.

Speaking before the service, Francine Hicks, 60, who has lived in Lisbon for 30 years, recalled the harrowing moment on Wednesday that she learned of the massacre.

She told DailyMail.com: ‘It was incredibly sad. I still think about the people in hospital fighting for their lives. It’s just a really overwhelming sadness.’

Hicks, who joined the vigil with her husband Michael, added: ‘People need to be hugged. I think they need hugs and to know that someone’s there.’

She said Lisbon was a tight-knit community where many people either knew or were familiar with the victims.

Wayne Ackley, the cub master of the local Boy Scouts of America group, attended in uniform with his 11-year-old son.

‘It could have been any one of us – we frequent that bowling alley,’ Ackley told DailyMail.com. ‘We were going to have my son’s twelfth birthday party there. It’s important to show respect to those we lost.’

He said the community was left ‘horrified’ by the shooting and added: ‘Words can’t describe how you feel.’

Street life had slowly returned to Lewiston on Saturday after a dayslong lockdown in the city of 37,000 during the hunt for Card. 

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Lisbon, Maine for remembrance service following slaying of 18 locals by gunman Robert Card

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Lisbon, Maine for remembrance service following slaying of 18 locals by gunman Robert Card

Card killed 18 men, women and children during his rampage on Wednesday night before disappearing and sparking a massive manhunt. He eventually turned the gun on himself and his body was discovered 72 hours later.

Card killed 18 men, women and children during his rampage on Wednesday night before disappearing and sparking a massive manhunt. He eventually turned the gun on himself and his body was discovered 72 hours later.

The vigil was held 24 hours after Robert Card turned the gun on himself

Mourners clutched candles as they gathered beside the banks of the Androscoggin River less than a kilometer from where Card's body was found

Mourners clutched candles as they gathered beside the banks of the Androscoggin River less than a kilometer from where Card’s body was found

Distraught locals set up a makeshift memorial to Card's victims bearing the names of the slain

Distraught locals set up a makeshift memorial to Card’s victims bearing the names of the slain

The service concluded with Pastor Jones reading aloud the names of all of Card's victims

The service concluded with Pastor Jones reading aloud the names of all of Card’s victims

The Rev. Daniel Greenleaf of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston said parishioners had been sharing stories about the victims as they come to terms with the deaths

Joggers took advantage of the warm weather, people walked dogs through downtown, picked up coffee and visited other shops that had been closed since the shooting.

For many residents, the day before the vigil was used as time to reflect, mourn and, for some, take the first tentative steps toward normalcy.

Some went hunting on the opening day of firearm season for deer, and one family handed out buckets of flowers in downtown.

Others gathered at a makeshift memorial to the victims down the street from the bar targeted by Card.

William Brackett, whose namesake son was among those killed, visited the memorial Saturday and said he could feel pent up tension leave his body when he learned Card was dead.

‘I’m telling you, if I had a bottle of champagne, I would´ve popped it and celebrated,’ he said.

Army reservist Robert card, 40, killed 18 people and injured 13 others in a horrific mass shooting on Wednesday evening

Army reservist Robert card, 40, killed 18 people and injured 13 others in a horrific mass shooting on Wednesday evening 

Billy Brackett was shot multiple times and died on the way to the hospital, his father said. He said his son didn’t let his deafness stop him from doing anything in life, including playing multiple sports.

‘He was just a gentle person. He was big and rugged, and I guess maybe that´s why all the little kids loved him. They swarmed to a bigger person,’ Brackett said. ‘Maybe they thought, ‘He’ll be our protector’.’

The Rev. Daniel Greenleaf of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston said parishioners had been sharing stories about people killed in the shootings and also looking to help each other in the aftermath of the tragedy.

‘To see people hurt – that’s always hard for me. I can’t fix this. As much as I want to, I can’t fix this,’ Greenleaf said. ‘Together we can pray, and I hope it at least alleviates some of the heaviness that our own parishioners feel.’



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