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Army reservist sent texts before Maine attack warning gunman would ‘do a mass shooting’

Warning signs missed before Maine mass shooting
WATCH: Reporter Hanna Krueger explains the red flags that the shooter's family members and colleagues gave before the rampage.

See the Globe’s complete coverage of the Maine shootings.

A set of desperate texts and a letter from a US Army Reserve training supervisor to a Maine sheriff in September reveal the high level of concern Robert R. Card II’s fellow reservists had about the severity of his mental illness and their fears he would commit a mass shooting.

In a text sent at 2:04 a.m. in September to Army Reserve training supervisor Kelvin L. Mote, one of Card’s fellow reservists urged the supervisor to change the passcode to the unit gate, where weapons were being stored.

His fellow reservist, identified in the text only as Hodgson, wrote of Card: “I believe he’s going to snap and do a mass shooting.”

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“Please,” the reservist wrote in the text to Mote. “I believe he’s messed up in the head . . . I’m afraid he’s going to [expletive] up his life from hearing things he thinks he heard.”

The reservist ultimately sent four separate texts, begging Mote to help. He wrote that Card was still in possession of weapons.

“I love [him] to death but i do not know how to help him and he refuses to get help or to continue help,” Hodgson wrote of Card. “And yes he still has all of his weapons.”

Ssg Hodgson

2:04

  1. You up i have something to report.

    Change the passcode to the unit gate and be armed if sfc card does arrive. Please. I believe he's messed up in the head. And threaten the unit other and other places. I love to death but i do not know how to help him and he refuses to get help or to continue help. I'm afraid he's going to [expletive] up his life from hearing things he thinks he heard. When i dropped him off he was concerned his weapons were still in the car. I beleive they were at the unit. And no one searched his vehicle on federal property.

    And yes he still has all of his weapons. I'm not there I'm at my own place.

    I believe he's going to snap and do a mass shooting.

The new documents show the gravity of the concerns relayed to the sheriff’s department in the months before Card perpetrated the worst mass shooting in New England in more than a decade. At a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, Card killed 18 people and wounded at least a dozen more on Oct. 25, before dying of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot.

Mote works for the Ellsworth Police Department, about 100 miles northeast of Lewiston. Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier told the Globe that when he heard about “threats of violence” against his officer, he also contacted the Sagadahoc sheriff’s office on Sept. 15 and then followed up the following day.

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“We were concerned based on the fact that this was a military-trained individual who had access to weapons,” Moshier said.

The letter and text message, referenced in a report from the Sagahadoc County Sheriff sent to reporters earlier this week, describe Card’s paranoia in detail.

Card, a sergeant first class, had been “hearing voices calling him a pedophile . . . and other insults,” according to the letter.

On July 15, Card accused his fellow reservists of making those insults and shoved one of them while they were picking up beer at a convenience store. After that incident, he locked himself in his motel room and refused to answer the door. Soon after, the Army Reserve involuntarily committed Card for treatment at Four Winds Psychiatric Hospital in New York, where he spent 14 days, according to the letter. He did not seek further treatment since being released, Mote said.

Mote said during a four-hour visit with Card at the hospital, Card didn’t say a word.

“He just stared through me without blinking,” he recalled.

In a separate incident in September on the way home from a casino, Card punched the fellow reservist referred to as Hodgson, after accusing Hodgson of calling him a pedophile, the letter said. Card then told Hodgson that he had “guns and is going to shoot up the drill center at Saco and other places,” according to the letter.

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Mote wrote: “I would rather err on the side of caution with regards to Card since he is a capable marksman and, if he should set his mind to carry out the threats made to Hodgson, he would be able to do it.”

Sean Cotter of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


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Samantha J. Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her @samanthajgross.