New Scan Shows Robert Card, The Suspect In The Maine Mass Shooting, Suffered From Traumatic Brain Injuries

A new scan reveals the Army reservist had traumatic brain damage. He killed eighteen people in the bloodiest mass shooting in Maine history, which sparked a large manhunt before he was found dead last year.

New Scan Shows Robert Card, The Suspect In The Maine Mass Shooting, Suffered From Traumatic Brain Injuries

Researchers from Boston University released an analysis of brain tissue on Wednesday, which found that Robert Card had significant evidence of traumatic brain injuries, including inflammation, small blood vessel injury, and degeneration in the nerve fibres that allow for communication between different areas of the brain.

Dr. Ann McKee of the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center at Boston University performed the analysis, which Card’s family made public. This is before Army representatives’ Thursday appearance before a special commission looking into the shootings on October 25.

It is thought that while Card worked as a trainer at an Army hand grenade training range, he was exposed to thousands of low-level explosions.

“Robert Card had evidence of traumatic brain injury. In the white matter, the nerve fibres that allow for communication between different areas of the brain, there was significant degeneration, axonal and myelin loss, inflammation, and small blood vessel injury. There was no evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE),” McKee said in a statement released through the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

“These findings align with our previous studies on the effects of blast injury in humans and experimental models,” she added. “While I cannot say with certainty that these pathological findings underlie Mr. Card’s behavioural changes in the last 10 months of life, based on our previous work, brain injury likely played a role in his symptoms.”

Card’s family members also apologized for the attack in the statement, saying “How deeply sorry and heartbroken we are for all the victims, survivors, and their loved ones, and to everyone in Maine and beyond who was affected and traumatized by this tragedy.”

“We know it does not fully explain Robert’s actions, nor is it an excuse for the horrific suffering he caused, but we thank Dr McKee for helping us understand his brain damage and how it may have impacted his mental health and behaviour,” they wrote. “By releasing these findings, we hope to raise awareness of traumatic brain injury among military service members, and we encourage more research and support for military service members with traumatic brain injuries. Our hearts remain with the victims, survivors, and their families.”

The family expressed gratitude to the office of the Maine Chief Medical Examiner for their request for the brain analysis.

The panel was formed by Democratic Governor Janet Mills and is made up of retired judges and prosecutors who are investigating the circumstances surrounding the shootings on October 25 and the police reaction. In the months before the shootings, Card’s mental health was failing, and both the Army and the police were alerted about this.

A few family members of the 40-year-old Card alerted authorities to his suspicious behaviour and expressed worry about his easy access to firearms.

Before Card’s two-week hospital stay in upstate New York last summer, reservists were interviewed by police using body cameras. In this footage, other reservists expressed concern and fear about Card’s behaviour and weight loss. Card locked himself in a motel room during training and pushed a fellow reserve member, landing him in the hospital in July.

Later, in September, an Army superior was informed by another reservist that he feared Card would “snap and do a mass shooting.” Card was found dead following the largest search in state history from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The seventh and last hearing for the commission is scheduled for this Thursday in Augusta. Earlier this week, during a victim’s hearing, commission chair Daniel Wathen stated that an interim report might be available by April 1.

Following the shootings, Democrats in Maine are attempting to amend the state’s firearms regulations.

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