When a gunman opened fire inside a Maine bowling alley on Wednesday night, plainclothes police officers who were training nearby were the first to respond to the pleas for help.
Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck stated on Friday evening that four plainclothes cops were the first to arrive at the shooting rampage at Sparetime Recreation bowling in Lewiston, Maine “about a minute-and-a-half” after receiving screams for help.
Following the first panicked 911 call at 6:56 p.m. Wednesday, Sauschuck said plainclothes cops responded to the bowling facility before on-duty officers arrived.
“That initial 911 call occurred at 6:56 p.m. and by the CAD system, or the computer-aided dispatch system, Sauschuck said. “The first officer, the first Lewiston officer, arrived based on that system at 7 p.m., so 4 minutes later.”
“The reality there, however, is that there were four plainclothes police officers that were shooting on the range in that general area, they hear that call come in, and they’re walking into the bowling alley in about a minute and a half,” Sauschuck said.
Sauschuck explained that the four plainclothes police were not in uniform and did not have their radios at the time of the shooting.
According to Sauschuck, when they arrived, they “addressed the threat and cleared the building.”
“They hear it as they’re at the range. They respond to the threat and address it immediately and clear the building,” Sauschuck said.
According to the Maine commissioner, eight more police arrived at Sparetime at 7:01 p.m., and the first Maine State Police trooper arrived at 7:08 p.m.
“So 11 minutes later, our first trooper arrives, which is not uncommon, actually,” Sauschuck said. “And that’s a pretty good response time considering it’s an urban atmosphere and troopers aren’t here.”
The initial 911 call came in at 7:08 p.m. from Schemengees Bar and Grill, and officers arrived five minutes later.
“Now we’re saying that everybody starting to roll in about the same time. And about 10 officers are responding to the bar and grill,“Sauschuck said. “Immediately thereafter, you got the first folks and then people are just showing up from the police department and other locations.”