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Army Reservists Grilled by Lewiston Shooting Panel Regarding Maine Gunman

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A commission investigating the tragic mass shooting that occurred in Lewiston, Maine, in October focused on Army Reserve colleagues of the gunman, Robert R. Card Jr., during a hearing held on Thursday. The panel pressed the reservists for answers regarding their actions, or lack thereof, in preventing Card from carrying out the rampage that resulted in the loss of 18 lives. The hearing brought some of the most detailed accounts to light, shedding new information on the events leading up to the devastating shooting.

The commission delved deep into moments where military supervisors failed to act on the concerning behavior and threats displayed by Card, despite being aware of his access to weapons. The aim was to hold those responsible accountable among the various law enforcement agencies and military personnel who had expressed concerns about Card’s deteriorating mental state in the months prior to the shooting.

One of the key issues raised during the hearing was the reliance on Card’s family to secure his firearms, following a failed attempt by the local sheriff’s office to check on his well-being in September. Army Reserve Capt. Jeremy Reamer, who was involved in responding to Card’s worrisome behavior, defended the plan, stating that it was a viable solution based on his experience.

The night of October 25th marked the tragic events where Card, a 40-year-old Army Reserve grenade instructor, carried out the shooting at two popular locations in Lewiston. A two-day manhunt ensued, culminating in Card being found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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The hearing did not touch upon an autopsy report released recently, which detailed significant brain damage found in Card. Researchers from Boston University discovered trauma similar to that seen in veterans exposed to blasts, shedding light on the impact of Card’s military training on his mental health.

Card’s family released the autopsy findings to the public, alongside an apology to the victims’ families. His sister, Nicole Herling, expressed forgiveness towards her brother, attributing his actions partially to the blast exposure and resulting trauma.

Throughout previous sessions, the commission heard testimonies from various law enforcement agencies and family members of the victims, all grappling with the question of how Card managed to retain possession of his weapons despite being identified as a threat.

The commission, which has been meeting since January and plans to release an interim report later this month, focused on the witnesses’ failures to follow up on Card’s mental health post his release from a psychiatric hospital. The panel also scrutinized missed opportunities and lapses in intervention in dealing with Card’s escalating behavior.

One witness, Army Reserve First Sgt. Kelvin Mote, recounted an unnerving encounter with Card, describing a moment where Card had a distant stare that raised alarms. Mote successfully advocated for Card’s admission to a psychiatric hospital in New York in July but struggled to follow up post his release.

The questioning during the hearing highlighted the gaps in communication and follow-up procedures within the Army Reserves, underscoring the need for a more robust system to address mental health concerns among its members.

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The commission’s efforts seek to bring closure to the families of the victims and shed light on the series of events that led to the tragic shooting in Lewiston. Through meticulous investigation and testimonies, the panel aims to prevent such incidents in the future while holding accountable those responsible for the oversights that allowed the shooting to occur.

In conclusion, the Lewiston shooting panel’s relentless pursuit of the truth and accountability is crucial in understanding the circumstances surrounding the tragic event and ensuring that necessary measures are in place to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

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Black couple overcomes racism to rent to Chinese family, who show gratitude by paying rent.

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Decades ago, in the early 1900s, racism and discriminatory housing practices plagued the town of Coronado, barring many individuals from living in certain neighborhoods based on their race. In the midst of this oppressive era, an inspiring story of resilience and generosity unfolded between two families — the Thompsons, a Black couple, and the Dongs, a Chinese family.

Gus and Emma Thompson, who were among the few Black families to own property in Coronado before racial restrictions took hold, defied the norms of the time by renting their house to the Dong family. Lloyd Dong Sr., a Chinese immigrant, and his wife found solace in the Thompsons’ willingness to offer them a place to call home despite the racist barriers they faced.

Fast forward 85 years later, the sons of Lloyd Dong Sr., Ron Dong, and Lloyd Dong Jr., have decided to pay forward the kindness shown to their family by donating $5 million from the sale of the house they eventually owned to San Diego State University’s Black Resource Center. This generous gift will help expand scholarships for Black students and fund renovations at the center, creating a lasting impact on the community.

Exterior view of a single-story home

The Dongs’ family house in Coronado, originally the home of the Thompsons.

(Courtesy of Janice Dong)

This heartwarming tale of intergenerational gratitude highlights the resilience and spirit of unity that transcends racial boundaries. Brandon Gamble, the director of the Black Resource Center, expressed the profound impact of this donation on the community, emphasizing the importance of stories that challenge racism and foster a sense of camaraderie.

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Reflecting on the legacy of his father and the Thompsons, Ron Dong shared, “That was the big plus for our family, because it has made all the difference for us.” The intertwined histories of the Thompson and Dong families serve as a testament to the power of empathy and solidarity in the face of adversity.

Gus Thompson’s journey from slavery to becoming a respected community leader in Coronado, coupled with Emma Thompson’s advocacy for civil rights, exemplifies the resilience and determination of marginalized communities to thrive in the face of oppression.

Gus Thompson in 1947.

Gus Thompson in 1947.

(Norman Baynard Collection / San Diego History Center)

The legacy of allyship and support exemplified by the Thompsons extends to their willingness to assist Asian Americans facing similar discriminatory practices. This act of solidarity echoes the sentiment that in times of oppression, helping others regardless of race is not just a gesture but a necessity.

As the Dong family embraced their new home in Coronado, overcoming discrimination and forging their path to homeownership, they carried forward the spirit of resilience and unity shown to them by the Thompsons. The bond between these two families serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration in a society marred with division and prejudice.

The Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-style beach resort outside San Diego, and tent city on the beach, 1908.

The Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-style beach resort outside San Diego, and a tent city on the beach, 1908.

(Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images)

The resilience and determination displayed by the Dong family in the face of discrimination, coupled with their unwavering commitment to education and community upliftment, exemplify the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The decision to give back to the community through education underscores the transformative power of generosity and empathy in creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

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As the Dongs’ generous donation paves the way for future generations to access educational opportunities and resources, their story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who strive to overcome adversity and champion unity in the face of division.

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