At least 22 people were killed and numerous others wounded in a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine on on Wednesday night, according to local media outlets.
The devastating event unfolded at various locations, including Sparetime Recreation, Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, and a Walmart distribution centre.
Local authorities acted swiftly in response to the unfolding critical situation. Maine State Police and the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office confirmed the presence of an active shooter and issued urgent safety instructions. They urged residents to stay indoors, lock their doors, and remain vigilant.
The Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office also posted images of a suspect believed to be connected to the shootings. They sought the public's help in identifying the individual, described as a bearded man in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans, holding a rifle.
The Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston declared the incident a "mass casualty, mass shooter event" and is working closely with neighbouring hospitals to provide care to the injured.
Maine Governor Janet Mills expressed her condolences to the victims and their families and confirmed she had been briefed on the situation.
The tragic incident marks the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since May 2022 when a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, resulting in the loss of 19 children and two teachers, according to the Gun Violence Archive.