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What we know about the victims in the Lewiston, Maine, mass shooting

The state of Maine on Friday released photos of the 18 victims killed Wednesday in the mass shooting in Lewiston.
Maine Department of Public Safety
The state of Maine on Friday released photos of the 18 victims killed Wednesday in the mass shooting in Lewiston.

Updated October 28, 2023 at 10:03 PM ET

This week's mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, was the nation's deadliest of the year.

Eighteen people were killed in the attacks on a local bowling alley and bar, and 13 others were injured.

Law enforcement announced on Friday that suspect Robert Card had been found dead.

The 40-year-old was the only person suspected in the deadly assault at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar & Grille on Wednesday.

This announcement, made late Friday night, marked the conclusion of a pursuit that left residents seeking shelter and led to the temporary closure of businesses and government offices. State and federal law enforcement agencies conducted an extensive search across multiple towns for Card.

Law enforcement officers carry rifles near an emergency department entrance at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, on Thursday. This week's mass shooting in Lewiston left 18 people dead.
Steven Senne / AP
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AP
Law enforcement officers carry rifles near an emergency department entrance at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, on Thursday. This week's mass shooting in Lewiston left 18 people dead.

The Maine Department of Public Safety released the names, ages and photos of the victims at a press conference Friday.

Before then, some families had publicly shared the news they had been given, taking to social media to update their friends and neighbors on an unimaginable reality now settling in.

Here is what we know about the victims:

Michael Deslauriers Jr., 51

Michael Deslauriers Jr. was killed at the bowling alley while trying to rush the gunman, according to a Facebook post shared by his father, who goes by the same name. "I have the hardest news for a father to ever have to share," he wrote in the post.

Jason Walker, 51

Jason Walker, a close friend of Deslauriers Jr., was also killed at the bowling alley, according to the same Facebook post. "They made sure their wives and several young children were under cover then they charged the shooter," Michael Deslauriers Sr. wrote in the post about Walker and his son.

Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40

Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40, worked as a pipefitter at Bath Iron Works, a local machinists' union shared in a statement. He loved cornhole, wrestling, comic book heroes and helping others, his colleagues said.

Tricia Asselin, 53

Tricia Asselin, 53, was an accomplished athlete, a volunteer, and on the day of her death, a hero, her mother, Alicia Lachance, told NPR.

Lachance, 75, said her two daughters, Tricia and Bobbi-Lynn Nichols, 57, went bowling at Just-In-Time Recreation, where Asselin worked.

Asselin and Nichols were talking near a center lane in the bowling alley when the shots first rang out, though due to the noise in the venue, the sisters didn't realize they were shots until they rang out a second time. As Nichols began running toward the exit, she thought Asselin was behind her, but Asselin stopped to call for help and was shot.

Lachance, who lives in Florida, said she was watching Celebrity Wheel of Fortune when she saw the news break on the screen. She said she recognized the bowling alley immediately, as it is the only one in Lewiston and was started by a family friend.

"I know Tricia is there, and Bobbi, as they were going bowling. I call both their phones – nothing and no answer," she said.

Nichols tried to go back into the bowling alley, but was denied.

In high school, Asselin played baseball and softball, and was offered a softball college scholarship, but turned it down because she was getting married.

She also was skilled in golf and fishing, which she did often with her son Brandon, 25.

In her free time, she went on cruises with her son and volunteered with several charitable organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She had raised $900 for the upcoming Susan G. Komen breast cancer walk in her area, Lachance said.

"She was just a great person," Lachance said. "Anybody that knows Tricia is devastated today."

In addition to her son and mother, Asselin is survived by two brothers, Mark Johnson, 54, and Jason Johnson, 51.

The family has not yet been able to see Asselin's body.

"We just don't know what to do," Lachance said. "There's nothing we can do. As soon as I find out when they're going to release the body, I want to fly home and I want to hold my daughter in my arms and my heart. I'll hold her in my heart forever, but I want her in my arms one more time."

Robert Violette, 76, and Lucille Violette, 73

Bob Violette, 76, was a dedicated volunteer coach for a youth bowling league. He was killed at Just-in-Time while trying to save those around him, his daughter-in-law told Maine Public on Thursday. Violette's wife, Lucy, 73, was also shot at the bowling alley.

Bill Young, 44, and Aaron Young, 14

Bill Young, 44, and his 14-year-old son, Aaron, were at Just-in-Time for the youth league night, a family member confirmed to The Associated Press. Bill was a "man dedicated to his family" who was "always trying to be a funny guy." Aaron was an avid bowler, the AP reported.

Ronald Morin, 55

Ron Morin was a dedicated husband and father of two, and a gregarious man who was well-known for having jokes at the ready, several family members have said in remembrances on social media.

Case in point, just one day before the mass shooting in Lewison, the 55-year-old posted a funny quip on Facebook — apparently a near daily habit, according to his friends.

"Why do men go to bars to meet women. Go to Target. The female to male ratio is 10 to 1. And they're already looking for things they don't need," Morin wrote.

Morin was among the eight men killed at Schemengees Bar and Grille. His death has left his family "torn and shattered."

In a GoFundMe post, Morin's younger sister Tanya Morissette described him as having "an infectious personality."

She added: "He was an incredible husband, father, brother, uncle, son, and friend. To know Ron, was to instantly love him. He was a man who always put others before himself and looked for the humor and positivity in even the most tragic circumstances."

In a poston Facebook added after the shooting, Morin's son Eric called him his "best friend."

In an interview with the Bangor Daily News, another family member, Cecile Francoeur Martin, described Morin as an upbeat and happy person.

Martin told the outlet Morin was "just one of those people that if you are having a bad day, he was going to make your day better just by his presence."

Joshua Seal, 36

Joshua Seal, 36, was among several members of the deaf and hard of hearing community in Lewiston who regularly went to Schemengees Bar & Grille to play cornhole. On Wednesday, the father of four was participating in a cornhole tournament for the deaf, along with Steve Vozzella, Bryan MacFarlane, and Billy Brackett, who were also killed.

In many ways, Seal was the conduit for the deaf community, especially during times of crisis.

"For so many in the deaf community in Maine, Josh was the voice of COVID and the face of COVID," said former Maine Center for Disease Control director Dr. Nirav Shah, who is now the deputy director at the U.S. CDC.

Shah worked alongside Seal for almost two full years during the pandemic. Seal, an American Sign Language interpreter, had been brought in to communicate the latest updates on the virus and vaccines to people who needed to know about them, but often can't.

His translations of mRNA, monoclonal antibodies and other pandemic vernacular were high energy and helped make him a star among the deaf and hard of hearing.

The killing of Seal, Vozzella, MacFarlane, and Brackett appears to be the deadliest mass shooting of deaf people in U.S. history.

At approximately 7:08 p.m., Seal and his three friends were hit by the bullets of the gunman who had entered the billiards hall after first attacking the bowling alley. All four of them were killed. Three of them — MacFarlane, Brackett and Seal — had been students at the Maine Education Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, according to director Karen Hopkins.

Seal was also the director of interpreting services and coordinated summer camps for deaf and hard of hearing kids to keep them engaged and not feel isolated.

"We will miss him. I will miss him," said Regan Thibodeau, who spoke to Maine Public through interpreter Stacey Bsullak. "He was a wonderful colleague. I was so proud to work with him in so many different areas of my life."

"It is a tragic, tragic loss for our community," Thibodeau added. "Many deaf people are impacted by this event. All over America. This is the first time in history that we have lost that many deaf people at once in a mass shooting."

Family members could not be reached for this story, but have posted remembrances on social media.

Elizabeth Seal, Joshua's wife, wrote, "He was the world's BEST father to our four pups."

Seal pups — that's how she describes the four young children who lost their father Wednesday night.

Arthur Strout, 42

On Wednesday night, Arthur Strout was playing pool at Schemengees Bar and Grill with his father. The pair were planning on leaving together because the 42-year-old hadn't driven that night, his father, Arthur Barnard told CBS News. But instead, Strout decided to stay behind.

"I said, 'OK,' and he said 'I love you,' because all my kids tell me that every time we see each other," Barnard told the news outlet. "Ten minutes later, I get a phone call."

Strout's wife, Kristy, described the 42-year-old as a Christmas person, who sometimes started preparing for the holiday as early as Halloween. Taken by the spirit of the holiday, she told the Lewiston Sun Journal, he'd gather their large blended family of five children, to decorate the tree just so.

"If it wasn't perfect, he'd go back to make sure it was perfect and looked like one of those pictures out of a magazine," Kristy said.

The pair had been married for nearly seven years, but they began dating 16 years ago. Together, they share a 13-year-old daughter, Brianna, whose birthday is on Halloween. Both Arthur and Kristy also had two children from a previous relationships.

Maria Wilson, a close friend, told the newspaper that Strout had an infectious, silly laugh. She also described him as a generous person, who was willing to share all he had with others.

"He looked out for anyone and everyone. It was a 'here you don't have a shirt, take mine,' kind of mentality," Wilson said.

Maxx Hathaway

Maxx Hathaway spent Wednesday night playing pool at Schemengees Bar & Grille with his pregnant wife Brenda. But by the time the shooter burst into the restaurant Hathaway was there alone, friends told the Lewiston Sun Journal.

In a GoFundMe post, Hathaway's sister, Kelsay Hathaway, said that the couple was expecting their third child in a little over a month. She described the father as a full-time stay-at-home dad and "a goofy, down to earth person" who "loved to joke around and always had an uplifting attitude no matter what was going on."

She added: "Growing up he would always play dolls with my younger sister Courtney and always loved to get into trouble."

In a Facebook post, Hathaway's other sister, Courtney Hathaway, wrote about her own devastation. "I'm feeling a lot of things right now but I'm mostly heartbroken that he's gone," she wrote. "Nothing really prepares you for the sudden and shocking loss of a loved one, especially when it happens in such a tragedy."

Stephen Vozzella, 45

On Wednesday night, Steve Vozzella was playing in Schemengees Bar & Grille's cornhole tournament for the deaf, Maine Public reported.

The sport was a big part of Vozzella's life — he was an active member of the New England Deaf Cornhole — and he was quite good at it, with several victories to prove it.

"With sadly and heavy hearts, NEDC has lost a member of our community," the group wrote in a Facebook post, adding that the 45-year-old had won several games and was eager to play more. "He will be missed on and off the courts."

Away from the cornhole boards, Vozzella was a father of two who was preparing to celebrate his one year anniversary with his wife Megan next month. He also worked as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and was a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

NALC President Brian Renfroe said in a statementthat he was heartbroken to learn that Vozzella had been killed in the mass shooting.

"He had much more life to live before it was stolen from him in an all-too-common senseless act of gun violence," Renfroe said. "We mourn the loss of Stephen and all the innocent victims of this tragedy. Our hearts are with Stephen's loved ones, all of those affected and the entire town of Lewiston."

Vozzella, as well as Billy Brackett and Bryan MacFarlane, who were also killed on Wednesday night, were stalwart members of Maine's community of deaf people who died in the shootings, according to the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Thomas Conrad, 34

When the gunman entered Just-In-Time Recreation, several men attempted to take him down. Thomas Ryan Conrad, a manager at the bowling alley, was one of them.

Conrad, who'd served in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, made the ultimate sacrifice, friend Adam Stoddard told the Lewiston Sun Journal.

"He was great with all of the bowling community kids," Stoddard told the newspaper. "They all loved him. He loved them so much he put his life in harm's way to charge the gunman and save the children who were there. He died a hero."

The 34-year-old had returned to Maine to live near his daughter, Caroline.

"My nephew loved his daughter more than words can say.. We love and will miss You Tommy.. We will all help take care of Caroline," Conrad's aunt, Holly Mireault, wrote on Facebook.

Bryan MacFarlane, 40

Bryan MacFarlane was playing in the cornhole tournament for the deaf at Schemengees Bar & Grille when he was killed, his sister Keri Brooks told CNN.

Brooks later told The Daily Moth, an online news outlet featuring news for the Deaf community, that there were nine deaf people at the bar that night.

MacFarlane, who was 40 and would have turned 41 in December, was on the same team as Billy Brackett, Steve Vozzella, and Joshua Seale, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported. Brooks said the men all knew each other through the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf.

She told the paper that MacFarlane grew up in Portland, Maine, but had only recently moved back to the state to be near his mother. She described him as an outdoorsy man, who lived camping, fishing and riding his motorcycle.

Brooks added that MacFarlane also loved spending time with deaf friends and his dog, M&M, who was named after his favorite candy and regularly joined him on the road as a commercial trucker.

She told CNNthat MacFarlane was one of the first deaf people in the state of Vermont to get his commercial trucking driver's license.

"Many states don't let deaf drive trucks so I'm very proud of him for achieving that. He worked as a truck driver for several years," she said.

Joseph Walker, 57

Joseph Walker's family was frantically trying to track him down after news of the mass shooting spread.

His father, Leroy Walker, a city councilor in Auburn, Maine, told WGMEnews that he was unaware of his son's condition for almost 14 hours. He eventually learned that his son, who was a manager at Schemengees Bar and Grille, had died at the scene of the horrific shooting.

"My son was a great son," the elder Walker told the news outlet. "Never got in any trouble, and he did a lot of good things for a lot of good people."

According to police, the final moments of Joseph Walker's life were some of his most heroic.

"Picked up a butcher knife and went after the gunman to try and stop him from killing other people," Leroy Walker recounted. "And that's when he shot my son to death. He tried to save some more lives, and he ended up losing his life."

He added: "I know if my son were here with me, he would say that he's sorry for all the others that were lost."

William Brackett, 48

William "Billy" Bracket was an avid sports fan with a natural athletic ability, according to close friends and family.

He was killed at Schemengees Bar and Grille, playing in the cornhole tournament alongside Joshua Seal, Steve Vozzella, and Bryan MacFarlane.

Karen Hopkins, executive director of the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, where Brackett attended classes, said that the deaf community is devastated by the tragic losses.

"Our staff is struggling because they are our friends," she said, according to The Associated Press.

Owen Horr, a close childhood friend, posted a tribute to Brackett on Facebook. In it he described him as a kind and shy friend who was an avid Longhorns fan and obsessed with nearly all sports from a very young age.

"He had natural-born athletic skills," Horr recalled, adding that Brackett was usually picked first. "He was the best soccer goalie, playing baseball and basketball. He made more than 1,000 points during his senior high school years. Also, he was the outstanding baseball player in the league in Auburn/Lewiston, ME."

The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that Brackett met his wife Kristina through mutual friends in the Deaf community. They celebrated their third wedding anniversary in August, and share a 2 1/2-year-old daughter named Sandra.

Keith Macneir, 64

Unlike the other victims killed by the gunman, Keith Macneir was not a local. He had traveled from his home in Florida to Maine last week, to celebrate his 64th birthday with his son, The Boston Globe reported.

In a Facebookpost, Macneir's niece, Grace Chilton, said he had been visiting his son Breslin Macneir.

"Keith was at Schemengees (making new friends, I'm sure) at the time of the shooting," Chilton wrote. "Keith was the friendliest & kindest guy in any room - his loss will leave a huge hole in the lives of many, many people."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.
Journalist Steve Mistler is MPBN's chief political correspondent and statehouse bureau chief, specializing in the coverage of politics and state government.