A volunteer youth bowling coach known for encouraging children and a bar manager whose father said tried to confront the shooter and died “a hero” were among the at least 18 people killed and 13 injured in two mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine.
According to Maine State Police, seven people died Wednesday night at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley. Six were male and one was female. Eight more people, all male, died at Schemengees Bar and Grille. Three others died after being taken to hospitals.
Authorities have not released the victims’ names, but their family members have been confirming their deaths.
Retiree Bob Violette, 76, devoted himself to his volunteer job coaching the youth bowling league that was practicing Wednesday night, said Patrick Poulin, whose teenage son has been a member for three years.
“He’s taught so many people over the years how to bowl, and he wasn’t getting paid,” he said. “We’ve really been focused on trying to keep the sport alive, and Bob was really an integral part of that.”
Violette’s daughter confirmed his death to WBZ-TV. Poulin described him as unfailingly approachable and caring.
“Sometimes kids are having a hard time for whatever reason, discouraged or something,” he said. “He was great at picking them up and getting them to move along from that issue and get things going in the right direction.”
Two weeks ago, Poulin was at the bowling center with his son and offered him some tips. His son resisted, but eventually took the advice and bowled a great game.
“You gave him some good instructions, so when are you going to get out here and coach with me?” Violette asked him.
Poulin replied that he’d have to think about it. Asked Thursday if he’d consider it now, he said, “Someone’s got to step back in.”
Michael Deslauriers’ father told CBS News that his son was one of those killed at Just-In-Time Recreation. His father, who shares the same name, said his son and a friend both were killed as they charged at the shooter after making sure their wives and several children were safe.
Peyton Brewer-Ross was a dedicated pipefitter at Bath Iron Works whose death leaves a gaping void in the lives of his partner, young daughter and friends, members of his union said.
Brewer-Ross, 40, was a 5-year member of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6, the union said in a statement. He graduated from an apprenticeship program last year, the union said.
Brewer-Ross loved cornhole, wrestling and comic book heroes, the union said. He would delight colleagues and friends by frequently quoting “Macho Man” Randy Savage, one of his favorite wrestlers.
“Peyton was not just a fellow pipefitter but a friend to many at Bath Iron Works,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan, who is also a Local S6 member and a former Bath Iron Works employee.
Brewer-Ross was a member of the Local S6 Education Committee who loved helping others and was beloved for his good nature and humor, union members said.
“Unfortunately, this horrible tragedy has affected our IAM family in a catastrophic way,” said IAM Resident General Vice President Brian Bryant, a Local S6 member and former Bath Iron Works pipefitter. “We will be there for the families, community and our members in every way needed today and into the future.”
Joe Walker was the bar manager at Schemengees Bar and Grille. His father, Auburn City Councilor Leroy Walker, told NBC News on Thursday that his son was shot twice in the stomach as he went after the shooter with a butcher knife.
“He died as a hero,” he said.
Waiting for confirmation of his worst fears Wednesday night, Walker told the network he felt like his guts and neck were being “squashed.”
“And I don’t know, telling you the truth, what kind of night this is going to be from now until tomorrow when I wake up to the true facts that my son is dead — and I know he’s dead,” he said. “I know it as well as I know I’m standing here telling you because he’s not here and he’s not at any other hospital and he’s not running the streets or he would have called us, because he manages Schemengees, so I know he was there.”
Tricia Asselin worked part time at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley. She had Wednesday night off, but decided to go bowling with her sister.
When she realized shots were being fired inside the bowling alley, Asselin, 53, went to call 911, but was shot and killed, relatives said.
Asselin “had a great passion for life,” and was a loving mother, “the most caring person there was,” her mother, Alicia Lachance, told NBC News.
Asselin’s cousin, Tammy Asselin, was at the bowling alley with her own daughter, Toni, who played in a youth bowling league on Wednesdays. They knew Tricia worked there, but they hadn’t seen her yet that night.
When she heard the gunfire, Tammy Asselin couldn’t find her daughter, who was able to run to an exit. Tammy and others tried to hide, getting a table to flip over and act as a wall near a corner booth, she told ABC News.
“The whole time I’m thinking, ‘We’re sitting ducks,’” she said.
She was later told that Tricia didn’t make it. She remembered her cousin as “the most fun person. She was always happy-go-lucky.”
Associated Press writers Alanna Durkin Richer, Rhonda Shafner, Robert Bumsted, Kathy McCormack and Claudia Lauer contributed to this report.
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