Executive Order 4: An Order Establishing the Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston

Executive Order

FY 23/24

WHEREAS, on October 25, 2023, Robert Card shot and killed 18 people and wounded 13 more in Lewiston, Maine; and

WHEREAS, on October 27, 2023, nearly 48 hours after these horrendous acts and a massive manhunt by law enforcement, the perpetrator of the violence was found deceased of a self-inflicted gunshot wound; and

WHEREAS, from what is known thus far, on multiple occasions over the last ten months, concerns about Mr. Card’s mental health and his behavior were brought to the attention of his Army Reserve Unit, as well as law enforcement agencies in Maine and in New York, raising crucial questions about actions taken and what more could have been done to prevent this tragedy from occurring; and

WHEREAS, the Maine State Police are conducting a criminal investigation of the shooting, but the gravity of the attack on Maine people – an attack that strikes at the core of who we are and the values we hold dear – demands a higher level of scrutiny; and

WHEREAS, a cornerstone of the ability to heal is to know the truth – in this case, the facts of what happened on that tragic night, of the months that led up to it, and of the police response to it; and

WHEREAS, this – the complete facts and circumstances, including any failures and omissions – must be brought to light and known by all because the families of the victims, those who were injured and the people of Maine and the nation deserve nothing less.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Janet T. Mills, Governor of the State of Maine, pursuant to authority conferred by Me. Const. Art. V, Pt. 1, § 1 and § 12, do hereby Order the following. 

    1. The Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston (“Independent Commission”) is hereby established;
    2. The purpose of the Independent Commission is to determine the facts surrounding the tragedy in Lewiston on October 25th, including relevant facts and circumstances leading up to it and the police response to it. The Independent Commission should determine the full scope of its work, and should ask any question necessary of any person that is relevant to the charge of gathering the facts regarding Robert Card’s mental health history, contact with State, Federal, or military authorities, access to firearms, the initial law enforcement response to the Lewiston shootings and the manhunt that ensued, and any other matters the Independent Commission determines are relevant to its purpose.
    The Independent Commission shall consist of seven members, as follows:
    1. A. Chair
      1. The Honorable Daniel E. Wathen
    2. Members
      1. Dr. Deborah Baeder
      2. George T. (Toby) Dilworth, Esq.
      3. The Honorable Ellen A. Gorman
      4. The Honorable Geoffrey A. Rushlau
      5. The Honorable Paula D. Silsby
      6. Dr. Anthony Ng
    3. Funding and Staffing
      1. The Office of the Attorney General is hereby requested to provide such funding to the Independent Commission as the Chair determines is necessary to hire sufficient staff or consultants on a contract basis to fulfill the Independent Commission’s charge. The terms of such contracts must make clear that those hired will report directly to the Independent Commission;
      2. The Chair and the members of the Commission shall serve without compensation.
    1. PROCEEDINGS AND RECORDS: The Chair will preside at, set the agenda for, and schedule Independent Commission meetings. The Commission shall meet as often as it deems necessary to complete its work. Records, proceedings and deliberations of the Independent Commission are not subject to the requirements of 1 M.R.S. c. 13, in accordance with sections 402(2)(F), (3)(J) and § 403(6) of that Chapter. To the extent practical, and to the extent that its fact-finding mission is not hindered, the Independent Commission should conduct its work in a manner that is open and accessible to the public. The Independent Commission may conduct its work through subcommittees.
    2. REPORT: The Independent Commission shall issue a public report of its findings. As it conducts its investigation and prepares its report, the Commission shall balance the need for an appropriately thorough inquiry with the public’s interest in timely answers.


The effective date of this Order is November 9, 2023.

Signature of Janet Mills

Janet T. Mills