Holiday shopping trip gone bad - Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. - Robert Hawkins had a rough couple of events happen: he had been kicked out of his family's house, fired from McDonald's and had broken up with his girlfriend, leaving him to write a suicide note Wednesday at his home. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027
It said he wouldn't be a burden on his family anymore and "now I'll be famous," according to Debora Maruca-Kovac, who owns the home. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027
Hawkins went to the Westroads Mall, armed with a rifle and black back pack and camouflage vest. Witnesses said Hawkins fired down at shoppers from the third-floor balcony of the Von Maur store.
Police responded to a call of shots fired within six minutes, but they said by then it was all over. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027
The gunman was found dead on the third floor with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his victims were discovered on the second and third floors of the Mall, police Sgt. Teresa Negron said. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027
Eight people, not including Hawkins, were killed, five wounded, and two critically injured.
When gunshots rang out in the mall, it took a moment for many to realize what was going on. Shawn Vidlak thought it sounded like a nail gun on a construction job. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027
"My knees rocked. I didn't know what to do, so I just ran with everybody else," said Kevin Kleine, 29, who was shopping with her 4-year-old daughter who hid in a dressing room with other shoppers and employees.http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027
Hawkins lived with a friend's family in a house in a middle-class Bellevue neighborhood for a little over a year after his family kicked him out, Maruca-Kovac said.http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027
"When he first came in the house, he was introverted, a troubled young man who was like a lost pound puppy that nobody wanted," Maruca-Kovac said.
"I had a feeling it could be him," said Maruca-Kovac, who had read the note before turning it over to his mother.