A shocked Lewiston resident has told the BBC News Channel that the whole city was put in lockdown after mass shootings that reportedly left at least 16 people dead and dozens injured.
Billie Jayne Cooke, who is running for the city council, said she was just leaving a public event on Wednesday evening when she first heard of the attack and that the shooter was on the run.
“The entire ride home was just solid sirens, one siren after another. Helicopters, sirens, I’ve never heard so much activity in my life in this city.
“We have police from all over the state, from out of the state, coming up,” said a visibly distressed Ms Cooke.
“It’s horrible. We always say it’s not a matter of when but if, and you just don’t think that’s ever going to happen – and it did.”
Ms Cooke added that she called one of her sons as she was driving home.
“I was talking to him on my car phone and the entire time it was just nothing but sirens and helicopters. And when I finally got back… [I] told him I was home safe.
“It just, it’s crazy. I can’t process this because it just seems so unimaginable.
“Everybody here is in the in the dark, as everybody else is in the world.”
Ms Cooke said fewer than 40,000 people lived in Lewiston, but added: “We’re very fortunate that we actually have two hospitals in our city, which is amazing, as small as we are.”
Riley Dumont told ABC News her 11-year-old daughter had been taking part in a children’s bowling league in Lewiston when she heard several gunshots.
She said her father, a retired police officer, had then corralled their family into a corner.
“I was laying on top of my daughter,” she said. “My mother was laying on top of me.”
She added that she saw three or four apparent victims.
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