Sign language interpreter among those killed in Maine shootings


Joshua Seal and one of his children in a photo shared by his wife on Facebook
Joshua Seal was remembered by his wife Elizabeth as someone who always put his family first

Four members of Maine’s deaf community were among those killed in a mass shooting on Wednesday.

Officials have released a full list of names of the victims, with the youngest being 14 and the oldest 76.

The gunman opened fire at a local bar that was hosting a cornhole tournament with deaf competitors. He also attacked a bowling alley frequented by families.

Police said 18 people were killed and 13 were injured in the state’s deadliest ever mass shooting.

Here is a full list of the victims:

Joshua Seal, 36

Seal was a prominent American Sign Language interpreter in Maine, and he was killed at a cornhole tournament for deaf competitors that was held at Schemengees Bar and Grille, one of the places where the gunman opened fire.

“We are a community, a tightknit community, wanting to protect and support one another, and it’s devastating to know that we have lost some of our most valued, most cared for and cherished individuals,” said Regan Thibideau, another interpreter in the community.

He was one of the lead interpreters for Maine Governor Janet Mills during daily pandemic Covid briefings.

In a Facebook post, his wife, Elizabeth, wrote that he was a great father to his four children.

“He loved his family and always put them first,” she wrote. “That is what he will always be remembered for.”

Bryan MacFarlane, 41

MacFarlane was also present at the cornhole tournament at Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant when he was killed.

His sister, Keri Brooks, told CNN that MacFarlane was part of the local deaf community, and frequently went to Schemengees on Wednesdays, where other deaf people gather to play cornhole.

“I grew up in Maine and the deaf community is a tight-knit community,” Ms Brooks said. “Not only was my brother slain but my friends were too.”

MacFarlane grew up in the Greater Portland Maine area, Ms Brooks said, and he was one of the first deaf people in the state of Vermont to get his commercial lorry driver’s licence.

“Many states don’t let deaf drive trucks so I’m very proud of him for achieving that,” she said.

Man with glasses and grey beard holding baby
Bob Violette leaves behind six grandchildren.

Bob Violette, 76 and Lucy Violette, 73

Bob Violette’s daughter-in-law Cassandra told the Lewiston Sun Journal that he died protecting a group of children that he was with at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley.

His wife, 73-year-old Lucy, also died in the attack, officials said.

They leave behind three sons and six grandchildren, Bob’s daughter-in-law said.

Cassandra described him as a life-long Lewiston resident who had deep ties to the community, and who made people around him feel cared for.

“He wouldn’t let you walk out the door without giving him a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. He was just there for everything,” she said.

A former Sears mechanic, Bob devoted his time to bowling in his retirement.

He began running a youth bowling league many years ago, his daughter-in-law said, and even got his eldest grandsons to participate in the game.

He saved up to buy new tablets and smartphones to get good videos of them bowling, Cassandra said.

“He loved those kids, all of them,” she said.

Tricia Asselin, 53

Asselin was at her part-time job at the bowling alley when the gunman opened fire, her brother told CNN.

“When it all started happening, she ran up to the counter and started to call 911, and that’s when she was shot,” DJ Johnson said.

“That was just her. She wasn’t going to run. She was going to try and help,” he said.

Mr Johnson described her as his “baby sister”, and said that Asselin’s adult son is devastated by her death.

“From the day he was born to yesterday. She did everything for him … he was her world,” he said.

His other sister was also at the bowling alley, Mr Johnson said, but she was able to escape.

Tricia Asselin
Tricia Asselin worked part-time at the Just-In-Time bowling alley

Michael Deslauriers, 51

Stacey Deslauriers, Michael’s ex-wife, told the Washington Post that she was driving when she received news that he had been shot dead at the bowling alley.

“He was an amazing man,” she said. “An amazing father. An amazing provider.”

She said that his girlfriend, who was with him during the shooting, told her that he tried to fight back.

This, Ms Deslauriers said, did not surprise her. “He was a hero,” she said. “Truly a hero.”

Arthur Strout, 42

Arthur Barnard, Strout’s father, said his son was playing pool at Schemengees Bar and Grille on Wednesday night when he was killed.

“The crazy part is just being with him just before it happened, minutes, I mean 10 minutes before it happened,” Mr Barnard said.

Strout leaves behind five children, his wife Kristy 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,” she said.

Arthur Strout
Arthur Strout leaves behind five children

Bill Young, 44 and Aaron Young, 14

Bill had taken his son to a youth bowling league at Just-In-Time Recreation Centre. Both were killed in the shooting, their family said.

Kim McConville, Bill’s cousin, told the Associated Press that “he was a dedicated man to his family”.

“He was a master auto-mechanic. Always trying to be a funny guy,” she said.

His brother, Rob, told the LA Times his children were “the most important thing to him”.

Fourteen-year-old Aaron was reportedly an avid bowler whose talent was recognised by his youth league, and who idolised his father.

“They were both the apple of each other’s eyes,” Rob Young said.

Peyton Brewer-Ross, 40

Bath Iron Works, Brewer-Ross’s employer, paid tribute to him in a post on social media.

“All of us at Bath Iron Works are heartbroken to share that we have lost a member of our BIW family,” the company said.

He was “a valuable part of our team” and “will be sorely missed”.

Photo of a smiling Peyton Brewer-Ross
Peyton Brewer-Ross’s death was confirmed by his employer

Billy Brackett, 48

Brackett was at the cornhole tournament for deaf athletes at Schemengees when the gunman opened fire.

His death was confirmed by the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf, which wrote in a Facebook post that it had lost “four of our cherished community members in last night’s Lewiston shooting”.

Steve Vozzella, 45

Vozzella was also tied to the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf.

He, too, was attending the cornhole tournament for deaf competitors when he was killed.

Joseph Walker, 57

Walker’s death was confirmed by father, Leroy Walker, who is a city councillor in Auburn.

His son worked at Schemengees. He was killed after attempting to tackle the gunman, Leroy told ABC News.

In a separate interview with NBC News, Leroy said he received notification of his son’s death 14 hours after the shooting.

“None of us slept, we were up all night,” he said. “We didn’t know where to go, who to run to.”

Maxx Hathaway, 35

Hathaway’s sister, Kelsay, described him as a “goofy, down to earth person,” in a GoFundMe page set up for his family.

He also loved anime, gaming and playing pool.

She said he was a full-time stay-at-home dad of two daughters, with a third child on the way.

“His family and friends meant the world to him and his loss will be felt among the communities that he was a part of and grew up in,” Kelsay wrote.

Tom Conrad, 34

Conrad was the manager of the Just-In-Time bowling alley, according to reports. He is survived by his nine-year-old daughter.

Jason Walker, 51

In a post on social media, Walker was described as a close friend of Deslauriers, another victim in the shooting.

Deslauriers’ father, Michael Deslauriers Sr, wrote in a post on Facebook that the two were killed together at the bowling alley.

Ron Morin, 55

Morin was a positive, gregarious family member, his relative Cecile Francoeur Martin told local news outlet Daily Bangor News.

“He was just always smiling, happy,” Ms Martin said. “Just one of those people that if you are having a bad day, he was going to make your day better just by his presence.”

He often frequented Taboo Hair Design in Lewiston, his stylist Rosa Storer told the outlet. She described him as “an upstanding man with a lot of joy in his heart”.

Keith Macneir, 64

Macneir was the eighteenth victim named by Maine authorities on Friday.