In the wake of the tragic mass shooting that claimed the lives of 18 people and left 13 others injured, chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) have arrived in Lewiston, Maine to offer emotional and spiritual support to a grieving community.
The devastating incident, which occurred across two locations in the tight-knit town, left residents in lockdown for nearly 48 hours as authorities conducted a manhunt for the suspected gunman, 40-year-old Robert Card. His lifeless body was later discovered near a river, reportedly with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Robert Card’s family, deeply rooted in the area for generations, had even donated land for the construction of a local church. As the community struggled to come to terms with the senseless tragedy, prayer vigils were held over the weekend, providing a space for healing and solace.
Chaplains with the BG-RRT, including several with backgrounds in law enforcement, have traveled to Lewiston to provide their services. Franklin Graham, President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, issued a call to prayer on social media, expressing the urgent need to support the victims’ loved ones and the injured. He wrote, “Join me in praying for the loved ones of those killed in the senseless shootings in Lewiston, Maine. Dozens more were injured and also need our prayers.”
Join me in praying for the loved ones of those killed in the senseless shootings in Lewiston, Maine, tonight. Dozens more were injured and also need our prayers.
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) October 26, 2023
Reports indicated that the suspected shooter was later found dead, having taken his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Josh Holland, International Director of the BG-RRT, shared the organization’s deep sorrow in response to the tragic events. He stated, “We are devastated to hear of the tragic news coming out of Lewiston, Maine. We are praying for the families of the victims, survivors, law enforcement, and the community. We are sending our crisis-trained chaplains to comfort, pray, and share God’s love with those who have been impacted by this horrific tragedy.”
The BG-RRT has urged people to pray for those who are grieving and for the tireless first responders working throughout the area. They also requested prayers for the strength and resilience of their chaplains as they provide care and support to the affected community. In a Facebook post late on Saturday, it was reported that the group’s crisis-trained chaplains had the opportunity to offer comfort, prayers, and attend a community vigil held in honor of the victims.
In the aftermath of the mass shooting, Democrat Jared Golden, who represents the Lewiston area in the US government, publicly acknowledged a change of heart regarding his stance on banning assault rifles. He asked for forgiveness from his constituents for having previously voted against gun control legislation.
An ongoing investigation is underway to uncover the sequence of events leading up to the tragedy. The state’s Safety Commissioner, Mike Sauschuck, spoke with reporters, explaining that detectives are meticulously sifting through a significant amount of information to piece together the events surrounding the incident.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has called on its supporters to continue praying for the people of Lewiston, Maine as they navigate the painful aftermath of this tragedy. In these trying times, the support and compassion from the BG-RRT chaplains are offering a source of strength and comfort to a community in need.