In the wake of a mass shooting that left 18 dead and 13 injured in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday evening, many are speaking out on the event’s devastating toll on their family, friends and community.
Here are some:
‘Why do people do this?’ 10-year-old victim asks
When Zoey Levesque felt a bullet graze her leg she wasn’t worried about the injury, the 10-year-old told ABC News on Thursday, she was too busy running for her life.
Her mom Meghan Hutchinson was watching the kid practice with her youth bowling league when she heard a “loud pop,” turned around and saw the shooter right behind her.
Zoey was shot — a shallow graze to her leg — as the pair ran to barricade themselves in a back room with other families. Another young boy came into the room had a “massive hole” in his arm bleeding badly, Hutchinson told ABC, and a second mom called 911.
The police arrived 20 minutes later, the mother said, but the group was too scared to let them in. The cops eventually pushed their way in.
The mother and daughter said they’re still in shock.
“Why do people do this?” Zoey asked. “I don’t really know what to say.”
Father of Schemengees manager calls son a ‘hero’ for confronting gunman
Joey Walker, a manager at Schemengees Bar & Grille, died a hero Wednesday, as he picked up a knife trying to confront gunman Robert Card, his father Leroy Walker told Lester Holt of NBC News.
“Joey Walker was shot to death at Schemengees,” the father said. “He died as a hero because he picked up a butcher knife … and he tried to go at the gunman to stop him from shooting anybody else.”
Leroy Walker, a member of the City Council in next door Auburn, received the tragic news Thursday that his son was shot and killed at the restaurant Wednesday night. The elder Walker stopped by a hospital and reunification center at Auburn Middle School but did not find his son earlier in the day.
“I want you to know that Joe was a great, great son, a loving husband,” Walker told MSNBC. “He had two grandchildren and a stepson living at home with him. … He loved thousands of people. Thousands of people loved him.”
Just-In-Time Recreation manager ‘risked his life’ for getting kids to safety
The manager of Just-In-Time Recreation, Thomas Gilberti, “risked his life leading countless kids to safety, while under fire from the gunman,” according to a post in the “NE Bowling Community” Facebook group.
Sarah Marie, owner of the bowling alley, wrote in a separate Facebook post that Gilberti was shot while letting children into a pin-setter area.
“He took many bullets to his legs while children ran towards him to hide,” she wrote.
“This is a man who exemplifies what it means to be a hero,” the post in the NE Bowling Community group states. “No words can properly encapsulate the bravery and courage he exhibited as this ordeal played out. Stay strong Thomas.”
Running down the bowling lanes
A man — who identified himself to the Associated Press only as Brandon — was at the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley when he said he heard what sounded like a balloon popping. Then about 10 pops.
“I had my back turned to the door,” he told the AP. “And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon — he was holding a weapon — I just booked it.”
Brandon darted down the bowling lane, through the end and up into the machinery. After the shooting, he was put on a bus with other survivors to the family reunification point at Auburn Middle School.
Many across New England expressed support for the Lewiston community through a Lewiston Strong message, including the Boston Bruins.
“Maine is a special part of the Bruins family and our hearts are with those affected by this terrible tragedy,” the Bruins wrote on a Lewiston Strong fundraising page. “In that spirit, the Boston Bruins Foundation is pledging a minimum of $100,000 to those affected by these horrific events in Lewiston.”
More information on how to contribute is available on the community fund page.
“I am confident that our city, our community, and people across our great state of Maine will come together to support one another,” wrote Lewiston High School basketball captain Natalie Beaudoin in a statement. “We are one. #LEWISTONSTRONG.”
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Passionate bowler calls 911 after being shot at alley
Tricia Asselin stopped by Just-In-Time Recreation Wednesday evening to bowl, an activity she had a passion for, her brother told ABC News.
Some nights, Asselin worked at the bowling alley, but this time she was there to play.
But then tragedy struck. She was shot by the alleged gunman Robert Card. She ran to the counter frantically and called 911, her brother said. She died from the gunshot.
His other sister, also at the alley at the time of the shooting, escaped, he said.
“(Tricia) was the rock of the family,” her brother told ABC.
Stephen King: ‘It’s the rapid-fire killing machines, people.’
Maine-native Stephen King called out the “madness” that led to Wednesday’s mass shooting in a Tweet on Thursday.
“The shootings occurred less than 50 miles from where I live,” wrote King, an outspoken advocate against gun violence. “I went to high school in Lisbon. It’s the rapid-fire killing machines, people.
“This is madness in the name of freedom,” he continued. “Stop electing apologists for murder.”
Wire sources were used in this story.