A man suspected of killing 18 people in a shooting in Maine has been found dead after a three-day manhunt, police say.
“The suspect in Wednesday night’s shootings has been located and is deceased,” the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.
The news comes hours after police lifted a shelter in place order for the normally quiet community.
Among the dead are a grandfather, a talented young bowler, and four deaf locals, ranging in age from 14 to 76.
It is unclear where the body of Robert Card, 40, was found or how he died.
At a news conference at Lewiston City Hall, Maine Governor Janet Mills said the body was found in Lisbon, nearby where the shooting occurred.
“I’m breathing a sigh of relief tonight knowing that Robert Card will not be a threat to anyone,” she said.
Lewiston Police Chief David St Pierre added that he was “elated” by the news, but “our work is not done here”.
“We’re gonna grieve for the families that lost loved ones, were gonna continue to work, we’re gonna persevere and we’re gonna become better people for it,” he continued.
Maine Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Sauschuck said the body was found at 19:45 local time on Friday near a river in Lisbon Falls.
He said that many of the details are being withheld because authorities want to speak to the family of victims first.
Another news conference is scheduled for 10:00EDT (15:00GMT) on Saturday.
Police earlier on Friday released the names of all the 18 victims.
Maine Senator Susan Collins said the state now “can breathe a collective sigh of relief thanks to the brave first responders who worked night and day to find this killer”.
She added that President Joe Biden had called her earlier on Friday to tell her that the suspect had died.
The suspect’s sister-in-law had told NBC that the family is “doing everything we can to help law enforcement”.
“Our hearts are broken” said Katie Card, who is married to the gunman’s brother.
The attack happened on Wednesday night at a local bar and a bowling alley in the small town of Lewiston.
Police responded to reports of shooting at two locations, a restaurant called Schemengees, and Just-In-Time Recreation, a bowling alley, which are about four miles (6.5km) apart.
Seven people were killed at the bowling alley, eight at Schemengees Bar and Grille, and three were pronounced dead at local hospitals.
On Friday night, before the news that Card had been found, members of the local deaf community, who were deeply affected by the tragedy, gathered over Zoom for a virtual vigil.
Nearly 100 deaf and hard of hearing people from across the country joined.
“There are no words or signs to express what we are all experiencing,” said moderator Terry Morrell, opening the event.
“We lost four beloved deaf people”, he said, with two other deaf people injured.
“We are all grieving, we are all in shock, we’re angry, we’re numb,” he said.