The 18 people killed in two mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, included a 14-year-old bowler, a shipbuilder who loved playing the game of cornhole and a sign language interpreter.
According to Maine State Police, seven people died Wednesday night at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley. Eight more people died at Schemengees Bar & Grille. Three others died after being taken to hospitals.
The victims were remembered Sunday evening during a standing-room-only vigil at the Lewiston basilica that was attended by Gov. Janet Mills and the state’s entire congressional delegation. A bell tolled after each name was read aloud.
William Brackett, who went by Billy, didn’t let being deaf interfere with anything he wanted to do, including playing multiple sports, said his father, also named William Brackett.
Basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, he loved all of them. As a teenager, he served as a batboy for a high school baseball team and would stand in the dugout teaching the players sign language. As an adult, he taught children how to play basketball in a summer recreation program.
“He was just a gentle person. He was big and rugged and I guess maybe that’s why all the little kids loved him,” his father said. “They swarmed to a bigger person. Maybe they thought, ‘He’ll be our protector.’”
More recently, Billy, 48, was teaching his young daughter how to fish.
“The attention span of a 2½-year-old isn’t great, and if she got a fish, she didn’t want to touch it. But he was teaching her, and she was paying attention,” his father said.
“That’s the way he was,” he said. “If it was your kid, he’d be doing the same thing.”
At Sunday's vigil, Kevin Bohlin, a Deaf community leader, signed Brackett's name along with the three other deaf Mainers who were killed. Bohlin demonstrated the ASL sign for “I love you” and asked mourners to repeat it to each other.
BILL AND AARON YOUNG
Bill Young, 44, of Winthrop, had taken his 14-year-old son, Aaron, to play in a youth bowling league at Just-in-Time Recreation. Both died.
“Bill was a man dedicated to his family,” his cousin, Kim McConville, told The Associated Press via social media. “He was a master auto mechanic. Always trying to be a funny guy.”
Aaron was an avid bowler who had received recognition from the youth league.
In a statement, the superintendent of Winthrop Public Schools confirmed that a high school freshman and his dad were among those killed. Jim Hodgkin’s statement said an uncle of another high school student was also killed.
“This is tremendous tragedy for our area, our town, our students, and everyone. This is uncharted territory,” Hodgkin said.
A dedicated pipefitter at Bath Iron Works, Peyton Brewer-Ross is survived by a partner, young daughter and friends, said members of his union.
Brewer-Ross, of Bath, was doing something he loved — playing cornhole and enjoying friends — when he was shot to death at the bar, his brother said.
“He was a character. He didn’t meet anyone he didn’t like,” Wellman Brewer said of his younger brother.
Brewer-Ross loved the game of cornhole so much that he brought out the angled boards and beanbags at family gatherings, his brother said.
He said his fun-loving brother was the life of the party.
“He has a Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage Slim Jim jacket that he wore,” Brewer said, an apparel choice that originated with a flamboyant professional wrestler. “Not too many people could pull that off.”
Brewer-Ross and his fiancé Rachael had just celebrated the second birthday of their daughter Elle two weeks earlier.
“There’s a hole in our family now where he used to be. And it’s going to hurt for a while,” Brewer said.
Joshua Seal, a sign language interpreter, was shot and killed while playing in a cornhole tournament at Schemengees with other members of the Deaf community.
His wife, Elizabeth Seal, said in a Facebook post that he was “a wonderful husband, my best friend, and my soulmate. He was also a wonderful boss, an incredible interpreter, a great friend, a loving son, brother, uncle, and grandson.”
“It is with a heavy heart that I share with you all that Joshua Seal has passed away… no, he was murdered, in the 10/25 shooting in Lewiston. It still feels surreal,” she wrote.
ROBERT AND LUCILLE VIOLETTE
Retiree Bob Violette, 76, and his wife Lucille, 73, died in the shootings. Bob devoted himself to his volunteer job coaching the youth bowling league that was practicing that 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.”
Lucille Violette was a longtime employee for Lewiston Public Schools and bowled in a women’s league and a couple's league with Bob, according to her obituary. She was almost always at the bowling alley for youth bowling league days and extra practice sessions on Wednesday nights. She was lovingly referred to by some as the “youth league mom,” because she offering kindness and nurturing to all and made close bonds with children and families, according to her obituary.
Poulin described Bob Violette 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 II AND JASON WALKER
Best friends Michael Deslauriers and Jason Walker were shot at Just-in-Time Recreation.
“They made sure their wives and several young children were under cover then they charged the shooter,” Deslauriers' father, who shares the same name as his son, posted online.
Walker and Deslauriers' father had worked together for the Sabattus Historical Society in Maine “by capturing the personal stories of senior citizens in our community" over the last few years, the historical society posted.
“He freely volunteered his time and expertise to our society to capture the history of our town.”
“I was not the least bit surprised to hear that he and his best friend since kindergarten lost their lives trying to protect others,” Deslauriers' sister, Vicki Deslauriers Roy, posted online. “I take comfort in knowing that they went together.”
Deslauriers and Walker were both 51.
Joe Walker was the bar manager at Schemengees Bar & 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.
On Sunday, Leroy Walker was greeting people at a trick-or-treat event hosted by an organization he leads. He smiled broadly when the kids hugged him, and accepted hugs from community members.
But he became emotional when he spoke of his son, Joseph, who normally would’ve joined him at the event.
“It’s been a tough few days, trust me. The heart doesn’t stop bleeding,” he said. “I miss him every minute. I miss him more every day."
Tricia Asselin worked part time at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley. She had Wednesday night off but went 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 and then tripped on some bowling bags and fell. Tammy and others tried to hide, getting a table to flip over and act as a wall near a corner booth. Her daughter had gotten to an exit and was safe, she found later.
“I never prayed so hard in my life as I did that night,” 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," according to ABC News.
Arthur Strout was playing pool with his father at the bar. His son wanted to stay and play a couple more games, but his father, Arthur Barnard, left shortly before the shooting.
“I said, ‘OK,’ and he said ‘I love you,’ because all my kids tell me that every time we see each other,” Barnard told CBS News. “Ten minutes later, I get a phone call.”
Strout, 42, and his wife, Kristy, had a blended family of five children.
“He’s helped me raise my children since they were very, very little,” Kristy Strout told CBS. “His daughter’s only 13 and without a dad because of all of this. Because of one man’s choices, my daughter has to grow up without a father.”
Strout was a family-oriented person who loved playing pool and cooking Italian food, Bonnie Caron, the mother of his 23-year-old son, told the AP.
“He was murdered doing something he loved," Caron said. “He was just all about having fun."
Bryan McFarlane, 41, a commercial truck driver and a member of the Deaf community, was playing a cornhole tournament at the bar.
McFarlane grew up in Maine. He spent a lot of time in Vermont, where he became one of the first deaf people in the state to get a commercial truck driver’s license, according to his sister, Keri Brooks. A favorite companion on the road was his dog, M&M, named after his favorite candy.
McFarlane would go to the bar every Wednesday to play cornhole, Brooks said.
“He was so dependable,” Brooks, who is also deaf, told WCSH-TV. “He just loved socializing with the Deaf community, with his friends. He would give the shirt off of his back to anybody.”
Stephen Vozzella, 45, a U.S. Postal Service worker and a member of a deaf cornhole league, was playing with friends at the bar.
“He had much more life to live before it was stolen from him in an all-too-common senseless act of gun violence,” Brian Renfroe, the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said in a statement. Vozzella was a member of branch 241 of the labor union.
Vozzella also was a member of New England Deaf Cornhole, which planned to have a moment of silence for him at an upcoming tournament in November. The organization said he brought excitement and a huge smile to the game.
Thomas Conrad, 34, worked as general manager at the bowling alley.
A co-worker said what he remembers most about Conrad is “his love of the kids.”
“Every kid that came in, he wanted to make sure they had the best time they ever did at the bowling alley,” Josh D’Angelos told WGME-TV. D’Angelos was not working that night.
Organizers of a fundraiser for his family said Conrad served in the U.S. Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Maxx Hathaway, 35, was a stay-at-home dad with two daughters and a third on the way.
Hathaway, who enjoyed playing pool, was at the bar. His wife, Brenda, had left earlier when one of their children started to get fussy, The Boston Globe reported.
“He was a goofy, down-to-earth person, loved to joke around and always had an uplifting attitude no matter what was going on,” his sister, Kelsay Hathaway, said in a fundraising request online.
Hathaway had been working on completing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Southern Maine, his family said in a statement provided to WCSH-TV. He had just received his diploma in the mail on the day he was killed, it said.
Keith Macneir, 64, of south Florida, was celebrating his birthday by visiting his son in Maine.
His son, Breslin Macneir, said he had asked his father to wait for him at the bar while he attended a meeting for about an hour.
“He was a good guy. He just wanted everybody to have as much fun as he was having,” Breslin Macneir told NBC.
“Always did his best to try and take care of people around him, and, you know, just one of the everybody else to have as much fun as he was having,” he said.
Keith Macneir had worked for the Virgin Islands National Park, most recently as the chief of maintenance, his son said.
Ronald Morin, 55, who was shot at the bar, is being remembered as a devoted family man.
He “had such an infectious personality,” one of his sisters, Tanya Morissette, wrote in a fundraising request for his family.
“To know Ron, was to instantly love him,” she said. “He was a man who always put others before himself and looked for the humor and positivity in even the most tragic circumstances. He has touched so many lives who are trying to reach out and provide support for his family however they are able.”
Morin worked as a sales merchandiser for Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast. He was an avid ice and floor hockey, softball, and cornhole player, and liked to umpire softball, according to his obituary.
Thirteen others were wounded in the two mass shootings, including a 16-year-old, a man who helped get youth bowlers out a back door to safety and a father of two young girls.
Gavin Robitaille, 16, of Auburn, was shot while at the bowling alley and is being treated at Mass General for Children, a hospital in Boston.
He underwent emergency surgery before he was transferred to Boston, according to a fundraising page set up by a friend. More surgeries were planned “to reconstruct his shattered arm and extensive muscle and nerve damage,” the page states.
Robitaille, a sophomore at Edward Little High School in Auburn, played competitive baseball as a pitcher and enjoyed golfing with his dad and brother.
The hospital said Wednesday that Robitaille is in good condition and released a statement from his parents, who said they know the road ahead will be difficult but that their son’s optimism continues to lift them up.
“Our family has been tested in ways we never imagined,” they wrote, adding that they're extremely fortunate their son's prognosis is positive. They thanked the first responders and medical teams for saving him and others.
“We know many other families are mourning at this time,” the family said, “and to each who experienced loss, we send our thoughts and prayers every day.”
Jennifer Zanca was having dinner with three friends at Schemengees when she was shot.
“I was shot in the arm and it was an assault rifle. It went through my shoulder, it shattered my humerus and my bicep is kind of gone,” the retired nurse and mother of two children told WBZ-TV.
She said the terror that night was horrible.
“We all went to the ground. We crawled around a wall but that’s when I was hit. I followed one of the other girls I was with,” she said. “Someone asked me how I crawled: pure adrenaline. It’s horrific. It’s just beyond what I ever could have imagined happening.”
Zanca then ran outside and hid behind a Dumpster until police got there. A nearby neighbor drove her to the hospital, she said.
"At that point, I didn’t really think I would make it. I knew I was hit and I thought I was bleeding pretty badly,” she said.
Her three friends survived, including one who hid in a closet and another who dropped to the floor with a chair over her head and acted as if she was dead.
“I didn’t think I’d get out alive, but I did, and I am grateful," Zanca told the station. “Many people didn’t and my heart just goes out to those families that lost loved ones there.”
Thomas Giberti, a past manager at the bowling alley, was watching the youth bowling league with coach and friend Bob Violette when he went in the back to get a screwdriver, according to an online fundraising page for his family set up by his nephew. When he came out, “he was greeted with bright flashes of light from the muzzle of a gun,” the page states. He motioned for the kids to come to him and got them out the back door to safety, but as the last child was going through the door, Giberti was shot in the legs, according to the GoFundMe page.
As he tried to crawl from the doorway, he was shot again multiple times in the legs. Giberti was able to close the door and crawl to the back wall where another bowler helped to apply tourniquets to his legs, the page states.
“The quick thinking and actions of my uncle undoubtedly saved the lives of multiple children that day,” wrote his nephew Will Bourgault.
Giberti will need to undergo multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, the page states.
Kyle Secor was shot multiple times while playing cornhole at Schemengees, according to an online fundraising page set up for his family.
The husband and father of two young daughters is a former hockey player for the Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques and continues to support the program, the page states.
“He’s the heart, joy, and happiness in everyone’s day. Never shy to smile or make someone laugh, and he is the life of the party,” the fundraising page states. “Right now, his family needs our help. So much is unknown at the current time, but what is certain is that this will be a long recovery that will put Kyle out of work for the weeks to come."
STEVE RICHARDS KRETLOW
Steve Richards Kretlow, of Winthrop, was playing in a cornhole tournament with some members of the Deaf community at Schemengees when he was shot and injured. The husband and father of three was taken to a hospital and underwent knee surgery, according to an online fundraising page set up for him and his wife.
“This day made a huge impact on the deaf community and changed so many lives forever,” daughter Vanessa Richards wrote on the page.
Justin Karcher was shot multiple times at Schemengees. He had just bought his first house that day, according to an online fundraising page set up to help him with medical bills.
He is fighting his way through, his sister wrote on the page.
"I’m asking for some help so he doesn’t have to stress more then he already has to when and if he comes home," she wrote on the fundraising page.
This story has been updated to correct the following: Giberti’s fundraising page creator to nephew not cousin; one of the victims’ names to Joshua Seal, not Sears; the age of Strout’s son to 23, not 24; another victim's' name to Lucille Violette, not Luceille; and the name of the bowling alley to Just-In-Time Recreation, not Sparetime Recreation.
___ Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner and reporters David Sharp, Michelle Smith, Alanna Durkin Richer, Robert Bumsted and Claudia Lauer contributed to this report.