Residents of Lewiston, a hard-bitten former mill town in central Maine, struggled on Thursday with a new reality: The scourge of American mass shootings had arrived.

Eighteen people were killed in gunfire in Maine’s second-largest city on Wednesday night, rocking a tightly knit community and shattering the state’s image as a haven from the types of violent crime seen elsewhere in the country.

"I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mike Asselin, 66, a lifelong resident of Lewiston, who was smoking outside of his home a few miles from the bowling alley where police say seven of the victims were shot dead.