Some were bowling, others were playing cornhole, some were enjoying a game of pool.
Many were spending time with their friends and families, and some were working the evening shift. What began as a seemingly ordinary Wednesday evening in Lewiston, Maine, turned horrific after a gunman entered a bowling alley and a local bar and began shooting, killing 18 people and injuring at least 13 others.
On Friday afternoon the authorities in Maine released the names of the dead from Wednesday’s mass shooting incidents. Seven victims died at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley, and eight at Schemengees Bar & Grille about four miles away. Three died after being taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.
The youngest victim in the Lewiston mass shooting was 14 years old, and the oldest was 76.
Joseph Walker, who went by Joey, was tending bar at Schemengees when the shooting began. His father, Leroy Walker Sr., a city councilor in neighboring Auburn, said the police told the family that before he was killed, his son “tried to go at the gunman” with a butcher’s knife.
Mr. Walker recounted a night of excruciating uncertainty as he waited to hear from Joey, who texted his father every night around 10:30 to let him know he was headed home.
It was not until Thursday morning, after the elder Mr. Walker had spent hours waiting for news at the hospital, that he learned his son had been killed.
Mr. Walker said he did not feel angry toward the man who killed his son. “There’s so much hate in this world, and people who have a sickness or a mind that’s a little off tilt, they go to hate,” he said.
“If he’s sick in the head, I can’t hold anything against him.”
Tricia Asselin, 53, who worked at the bowling alley and had come in to bowl with her sister, Bobbi Nichols, on a night off, was also killed, Ms. Asselin’s mother, Alicia LaChance, said.
Ms. Nichols said her sister stopped to retrieve her phone to call 911 and never made it out of the bowling alley alive.
Ms. LaChance said her daughter was often eager to help others. She coached girls’ softball teams, had raised $900 for next year’s Susan Komen walk against breast cancer, and would buy Christmas gifts for children in need. Her final act was selfless, her mother said.
“She got shot trying to save the children,” her mother said.
Also killed at the bar was Peyton Brewer-Ross, a 40-year-old pipe fitter, who had recently gotten engaged to his girlfriend and celebrated the second birthday of his daughter.
On Wednesday night, Mr. Brewer-Ross had been at Schemengees taking part in one of the cornhole tournaments, his older brother, Ralph Wellman-Brewer, said on Friday.
“He was really well liked by everybody,” Mr. Wellman-Brewer said. “He was very personable, and he didn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
“He had everything going for him, a great family, good job, doing all the right things,” he added.
Bryan MacFarlane, 41, was also killed at the bar. He had told his mother, Janette Randazzo, that he was going out that night to play in a cornhole tournament with friends who, like him, were deaf.
Ms. Randazzo said that she received a call from one of her son’s friends on Wednesday night. His voice sounded frantic. Her son, she learned, had been shot at the bar. On Thursday morning, two police officers delivered the news that Mr. MacFarlane, who took pride in his job as a truck driver, loved hockey and once had a fish tattooed on his leg, was among the victims.
“I have a picture in my head of my kid lying there with gunshot wounds somewhere on the body,” Ms. Randazzo said. “It’s traumatic to me just imagining it.”
Ms. Randazzo said it felt surreal to be part of a group that continues to expand in the United States: “We’re in a club now — the families of mass shooting victims.”
After the names of the dead were released, Gov. Janet Mills issued a statement honoring them and noting that Maine can seem like “one big, small town,” so that many residents would have known the victims personally. Including, it turned out, herself.
She said she lost a friend in Joshua A. Seal, 36, who “Maine people fondly remember from his service as an ASL interpreter during our Covid-19 briefings.” And she took note of Aaron Young, who was just 14 years old.
“Tonight,” she said, “I ask Maine people to join me in reading their stories, learning who they were, celebrating them as beloved people, and mourning them as irreplaceable.”