No, this is not the suspect in the Lewiston mass shooting

By: Ishita Goel
November 2 2023

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No, this is not the suspect in the Lewiston mass shooting

Screenshots of X, Facebook posts claiming that the images show the suspect in the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

A photo of a man held for alleged possession of child pornography in 2016 is being shared as the suspected gunman in the Maine mass shooting.

Claim ID b1c9a304

On October 25, 2023, the city of Lewiston, in Maine, U.S., witnessed a deadly mass shooting at a bowling alley and a bar several miles away. The incident left 18 dead, with at least 13 injured. Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office released a photo of the suspect in the shooting, identified as 40-year-old Robert Card, and a manhunt was announced. However, on October 27, The New York Times reported the suspect was found dead in an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound two days later.

What's the claim?

Following this, a mugshot of a man went viral that claimed to show the suspected gunman behind the shooting. 

The man in the viral photograph has glasses and a beard and is wearing a white t-shirt. The photo was shared on X (formerly Twitter) with the caption, "Lewiston Maine Mass Shooting Suspect Robert Card Has Been Previously Arrested For Child Pornography & Is A Registered Sex Offender Who CAN NOT LEGALLY POSSESS A FIREARM!" The same was shared on Facebook. Archives of these posts can be accessed here, here, here, and here

Screenshot of claims circulating online (Source: Facebook/X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

What we found

Through reverse image search, we found the photo available online since 2016. Maine’s local newspaper, Centralmaine, published the photo on September 12, 2016, and wrote, "Fairfield man arrested for alleged possession of child porn." The report identified the man in the photo as Robert W. Card, aged 32, who was arrested by Maine State Police on "two counts of possession of sexually explicit materials and two counts of dissemination of sexually explicit material, according to records from Skowhegan District Court."

Newspaper Centralmaine published the image in 2016. (Source: Centralmaine/Screenshots)

Similarly, we found another report by Conan Daily, a daily news provider that reported on the crime on September 12, 2016: “Fairfield, Maine’s Robert Card arrested, held on $2k cash bail.” The report also shared the viral image of the accused and captioned it “Robert William Card (©Somerset County Jail).” It added that Card was arrested on September 9 on a warrant from the Maine State Police, and his computer, which reportedly contained child pornography, was seized.

The suspect in the Lewiston mass shooting

USA Today reported that the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office released the suspected gunman's photo. They shared the image and wrote, "This photo released by the Lewiston Maine Police Department shows Robert Card, who police have identified as a person of interest in connection to mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023." The man, pictured with a mustache and a beard and wearing a red t-shirt, is distinctly different from the man in the viral photo.

Centralmaine also reported on the shooting and shared the image of the suspect. It reported that the police released two photos. In the second image, he carried a rifle. Due to this, the police announced the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.

From the above sources, it's clear that the viral mugshot doesn't show the 2023 Maine shooting suspect. Although there is a similarity in the names, the age, description, background, and charges are different. 

Comparison of both suspects. (Source: Centralmarine/Screenshots)

The verdict
A photo of a man held in 2016 for allegedly possession of child pornography is being erroneously shared as the suspected gunman behind the recent Lewiston, Maine, mass shooting. 

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We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before