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Army reservist who warned Maine killer would 'snap' before shooting to testify

Before Robert Card carried out Maine's deadliest mass shooting, his best friend had warned their superiors that Card might "snap and do as mass shooting."

A U.S. Army reservist who sounded the clearest warning ahead of Maine’s deadliest mass shooting is expected to answer questions Thursday from the commission investigating the tragedy.

Six weeks before Robert Card killed 18 people at a bar and bowling alley in Lewiston, his best friend and fellow reservist Sean Hodgson texted their supervisors, telling them to change the passcode to the gate at their Army Reserve training facility and arm themselves if Card showed up.

"I believe he’s going to snap and do a mass shooting," Hodgson wrote on Sept. 15.


That message came months after relatives had warned police that Card had grown paranoid and said they were concerned about his access to guns. The failure of authorities to remove guns from Card's possession in the weeks before the shooting has become the subject of a monthslong investigation in the state, which also has passed new gun safety laws since the tragedy.

Card also was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital for two weeks in July, and the Army barred him from having weapons while on duty. But aside from briefly staking out the reserve center and visiting Card’s home, authorities declined to confront him. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound two days after the shootings.

In an interim report released last month, the independent commission launched by Gov. Jane Mills concluded that the Sagadahoc County sheriff’s office had probable cause under Maine’s "yellow flag" law to take Card into custody and seize his guns. It also criticized police for not following up with Hodgson about his warning text.

On Thursday, the commission plans to hear from the state’s director of victim witnesses services. Hodgson told The Associated Press he is scheduled to be questioned Thursday morning.

In an exclusive series of interviews in January, Hodgson told The AP he met Card in the Army Reserve in 2006 and that they became close friends after both divorced their spouses around the same time. They lived together for about a month in 2022, and when Card was hospitalized in New York in July, Hodgson drove him back to Maine.

Growing increasingly worried about his friend’s mental health, Hodgson warned authorities after an incident in which Card started "flipping out" after a night of gambling, pounding the steering wheel and nearly crashing multiple times. After ignoring his pleas to pull over, Card punched him in the face, Hodgson said.

"It took me a lot to report somebody I love," he said. "But when the hair starts standing up on the back of your neck, you have to listen."

Some officials downplayed Hodgson’s warning, suggesting he might have been drunk because of the late hour of his text. Army Reserve Capt. Jeremy Reamer described him as "not the most credible of our soldiers" and said his message should be taken "with a grain of salt."

Hodgson said he struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol addiction but said he wasn’t drinking that night and was awake because he works nights and was waiting for his boss to call.

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