After US Army reservist Mr Card was accused of killing 18 people on Wednesday night — and while a manhunt for the Bowdoin resident remains underway — Karen Card spoke out about her brother-in-law toThe Daily Beast.
Ms Card, who is married to the suspect’s brother, said that she has known the suspect her “whole life”.
“He is quiet but the most loving, hardworking, and kind person that I know,” she said on Thursday.
“But in the past year, he had an acute episode of mental health, and it’s been a struggle.”
Ms Card shed some light on previously reported details about his mental health struggles.
Back in July, Mr Card showed some signs of erratic behaviour at West Point, prompting him to be taken by police for an evaluation, military officials told The Associated Press.
He then stayed at a mental health facility in the summer, and since then, “things have kind of gone downhill recently,” Ms Card told The Daily Beast.
The suspect had recently started wearing hearing aids for his hearing loss, and ever since, he has claimed that he has heard others speaking ill of him – including at the bowling alley and restaurant where he is accused of shooting 18 dead.
“This all just happened within the last few months,” she said.
When others would try to convince him that the voices were in his head, he would “get mad,” Ms Card continued.
When the news broke of the shootings, Ms Card suggested that her brother-in-law sprung to mind.
“We prayed that Rob had nothing to do with this. But when we heard the two places where the shooting happened, my husband rushed home,” she said.
Since learning that he is a suspect in the shootings, she said that relatives have been pleading with Mr Card to surrender to authorities.
The manhunt for Mr Card is now in its second day. According to police, just before 7pm on Wednesday, a 911 call reported an active shooter at Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley. About 15 minutes later, more 911 calls poured in about an active shooter at Schemengees Bar and Grill. The two locations are just four miles apart, or a 10-minute drive.
A vehicle — a white Subaru —registered under Mr Card’s name was found late on Wednesday. Still, there is no trace of the suspected shooter.
“This is a dark day for Maine,” Maine Gov Janet Mills said at a Thursday press conference.
Speaking about Lewiston, she added: “This city did not deserve this terrible assault on its citizens, on its peace of mind, on its sense of security. No city does. No state. No people.”