Several victims killed in a series of mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, last week had charged at suspected gunman Robert Card in the hours before their deaths, according to family relatives.
Michael Deslauriers Sr., chair of the Sabattus Historical Society, posted on Facebook that his son Michael Deslauriers II and “dearest friend” Jason Walker were among the seven persons slain at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley on Wednesday night.
“They made sure their wives and several young children were undercover then they charged the shooter,” he wrote, describing the announcement of the deaths as “the hardest news for a father to ever have to share.”
On Friday, Leroy Walker, the father of Schemengee’s Bar and Grille manager Joseph Walker, said on “Fox & Friends” that “my son went after the shooter, trying to defend everyone who was being shot at and just lost his life in trying.”
“I knew my son would do something if it was possible. He wouldn’t run away — I knew that. He would never run away from anything like this. People meant too much to him,” Walker said.
Walker, who described his son as the “greatest” in the world, said he loved his job and “got up breathing it, went to bed thinking about what he was going to do the next day.”
“I’m hoping he at least scared the man to take off, get out of there, not hurt anybody and not kill anyone else,” Walker said about his son’s interaction with Card.
Walker told NBC News separately that his son grabbed up a “butcher knife” before confronting Card and getting shot twice in the stomach.
The mass shootings killed eighteen persons. Card’s whereabouts were unclear as of Friday morning, despite the fact that a significant law enforcement presence had come to Maine to assist in the manhunt.
According to Maine State Police, in addition to the seven people killed at the bowling alley, eight people were killed at Schemengee’s Bar & Grille, and three more died after being brought to local hospitals.
Tricia Asselin, 53, was slain at the bowling alley as she reached for her phone to telephone 911, according to her sister Bobbi-Lynn Nichols.
Asselin worked part-time at the bowling alley, and Nichols told the website that she had requested her to come bowl on her day off.
According to Nichols, they heard a “loud pop” before a “stampede” of individuals began racing out of the facility.
“We were just running, and I kept saying: ‘I want my sister out of there,'” Nichols was quoted as saying. “And she called 911 and put herself in his way by trying to get help. She’s a hero. My sister is a hero.”