Maine Mass Shooting Points to Mental Health Crisis in Army, Official Says 

An Army official testifying to a panel investigating a mass shooting by an Army reservist stated that limited healthcare is available to reservists compared to full-time military personnel. Furthermore, they do not qualify for care at Veterans Administration hospitals, meaning most must seek out private healthcare services that cannot communicate or share information with the Army without the patient’s consent. 

Col. Mark Ochoa, command surgeon from the US Army Reserve Command, said the lack of communication means commanders often miss warning signs about the health or well-being of those under their charge. 

Ochoa oversees the Psychological Health Program, which works with Army Reservists but cannot order them to undergo treatment. He noted that some military personnel are reluctant to seek assistance because they do not want a record that could harm their careers. 

The testimony formed part of an independent commission inquiry into the deaths of 18 people during a mass shooting in Maine last year. Army reservist John Card shot dozens of people at a restaurant and bowling alley in Lewiston in October before disappearing and prompting a three-day manhunt. He was eventually found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Further testimony to the commission revealed that Card was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was hospitalized after a psychological breakdown. A fellow reservist had previously raised red flags with his superiors, saying he believed Mr. Card was “going to snap.” 

Separate reports indicate that Card’s mental state began deteriorating in 2022 when his family noticed he suddenly became short-tempered and sullen. A year later, he had begun to believe that people in his neighborhood thought he was a pedophile and were gossiping about him. He subsequently became involved in several violent incidents, and the Army banned him from handling guns and ammunition. 

Following his death, the Maine Chief Medical Examiner’s office studied a piece of Card’s brain tissue and found significant impairment, including missing and damaged white matter and evidence of traumatic brain injury.