‘Wanted dead or alive situation’: Bradford County colonel describes manhunt for Maine shooter as highly dangerous

A colonel with the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office says more innocent people and the units who are doing the search can be at risk during the massive manhunt for the Maine shootings’ suspect.

The suspect, Robert Card, 40, is a U.S. Army reservist with a history of mental health issues.

Card is still on the loose — prompting a multi-agency operation for the manhunt in Maine.

“The weight that’s on these officers and all this law enforcement presence that’s in the area, I mean, this, let’s face it, this is a wanted dead or alive situation,” said Bradford County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Brad Smith.

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This is a moment of reflection for law enforcement agencies in Northeast Florida.

In Nassau County, there was a manhunt for a man with military experience, Patrick McDowell. He had just killed a deputy during a traffic stop.

Then in Bradford County, an inmate led the sheriff’s office on an hours-long manhunt.

“And by the time we located him, he was ready to give up because the pressure was so consistent on him, he couldn’t stop and rest and catch his breath, eat anything,” Smith said.

Reports said Card had recently reported mental health issues including hearing voices and threats to shoot up a National Guard base.

“Just because he had some mental illness issues doesn’t mean that he wasn’t rational enough to be able to plan this attack,” Criminologist Alex Del Carmen said.

Del Carmen said these elements make this situation extremely dangerous.

According to Del Carmen, the tactics and strategies change when law enforcement is dealing with a suspect with a background like Card’s.

“Understand that this person is highly sophisticated, will likely use the cover of the night to move will likely have technical equipment that will guide him from one place to another,” Del Carmen said.

MORE | Deadly mass shootings in Maine highlight importance of mental health for those with military background

Del Carmen said it’s likely the shooter has moved out of state, so this could become a nationwide search.

The priority in this manhunt is finding him and keeping everyone safe.

But also if this suspect responds in an aggressive or inappropriate manner — the colonel says — those units won’t hesitate to use lethal force.

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