Oct. 29—Three survivors of the Wednesday night shootings in Lewiston remained in critical condition in a hospital Sunday as Mainers gathered for vigils to support the families of those who didn't survive.
"In the coming days/weeks Kyle now faces new challenges and will have many mountains to climb before he is out of the woods," family members of Kyle "Ricky" Secor posted to Facebook on Sunday. "But God is good and Kyle is alive and awake. Two things we weren't sure would even been a possibility 4 days ago."
Another survivor, Justin Karcher, was facing the possibility of more surgery Sunday, said his sister, Haley Breton.
"I think it's just more the anxiety of not knowing what's going to happen. Anything could happen in a second," she said.
The shootings were Maine's deadliest, with 18 people killed and 13 injured. After more than two days of searching, police announced late Friday that they found Robert Card, the shooter, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot inside a box trailer at Maine Recycling Corp., about a mile from where his car was found.
As the families of the victims planned funerals or gathered in the hospital, many others around the state came together Sunday for public vigils and religious services, including a two-hour remembrance ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston. The service will be livestreamed at pressherald.com.
Schoolchildren in some communities will return to school Monday with added counseling services, while other districts, including Lewiston, will wait another day before reopening classrooms.
The White House, meanwhile, dispatched an official to Lewiston on Sunday to help coordinate federal support for the community and the state. Gregory Jackson, deputy director of the recently created White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, was expected arrive Sunday night and remain for an undetermined period.
As some injured survivors face uncertainty and long roads of recovery, many survivors who weren't physically injured are still struggling to process what they experienced.
Tammy Asselin, who escaped the gunfire at Just-In-Time bowling alley with her 10-year-old daughter, said Sunday they no longer feel at risk now that they know where Card is — but they have questions for him that will never be answered.
"I'm glad it's over. But I'm so desperate to learn," Asselin said. "I'm sick and tired of watching these things on TV."
Central Maine Medical Center received 14 of the victims who were shot but initially survived at Schemengees Bar & Grille and Just-In-Time bowling alley. Of those 14, three died after they got to CMMC. Three more remain there, and one patient was sent to Massachusetts General Hospital.
CMMC is not identifying the survivors still in its care, but family members have shared updates of their own.
Secor, a father of two who played hockey for the Maine Nordiques, was taken off his ventilator after spending days in critical condition, according to a family member's post on Facebook.
Secor was shot at Schemengees and had serious injuries to his leg and abdomen. He had emergency surgery Wednesday night and needed an additional procedure Thursday. He had another lengthy surgery Friday to repair his abdomen and leg injuries, his family said.
"Due to the success of the surgery and Kyle's progress. The doctors felt confident to take him off the ventilator and wean the sedation," the family wrote. "This process took quite some time, but as of last night Kyle is breathing on his own and slowly becoming aware of his surroundings."
The family thanked the community for the support they've received.
Karcher, another survivor who was shot at Schemengees, was also still in critical condition Sunday, according to family.
His sister said earlier in the day that hospital staff were considering more surgery Sunday night. She and Karcher's mother, girlfriend and grandmother have been at the hospital as much as they can, Breton said, handling the uncertainty "update by update, minute by minute."
Karcher was still on a ventilator Sunday. Breton hasn't been able to communicate with her brother for days, even though she and other close family have been by his side as much as they can.
Breton said she noticed Karcher's eyelids flutter once this weekend. She said she's hopeful it might've been an attempt to communicate, although a doctor told her it could've also just been a reaction to sedatives or other medication.
Other developments have been scarier. After CMMC began allowing more visitors Saturday, Breton said Karcher's heart rate dropped, and staff had to ask five people in his room to step out.
Breton said her family is grateful to all the support they've received.
"Just the prayers and the support," Breton said. "Just knowing that there are people who care who we don't even know, giving support."
Asselin, who escaped the bowling alley, said she and her daughter are slowly working toward restoring some sense of normalcy in their lives.
This weekend, that's been as simple as reestablishing a bedtime routine. Eventually, it'll mean going to the grocery store and returning to school.
Lewiston has announced a gradual reintroduction to school, with classes scheduled to begin again Tuesday.
Asselin said her daughter's principal and others from the school have checked in this week, and she thinks the school district has worked carefully on their reopening plans.
But even with a plan, the prospect of public appearances and large gatherings is still scary. Asselin said she wants to walk her daughter into the classroom Tuesday, for herself more than anyone.
"It's so heavy," Asselin said Sunday afternoon. "Even though we know what we need to do next, it's all so much. It just feels like it's a big weight on you."
This story will be updated.