Posted Dec. 6, 2007 – Eight people in a Nebraska mall were shot and killed by a disturbed teenage gunman, who then turned the gun on himself Wednesday afternoon.
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Wearing a camouflage vest and a black backpack, Robert A. Hawkins, 19, used a rifle to shoot 30 rounds of bullets on shoppers at the Westroads Mall’s during spree that killed five females and four males, including himself.
He appears to have chosen his victims at random, Police Chief Thomas Warren told the Associated Press.
Hawkins shot his victims at a Von Maur store, which is part of a Midwestern chain, a;sp reports the AP.
Authorities say they received their first 911 call at 1:42 p.m. but the shooting was already over when the police arrived six minutes later.
Many of the store employees and customers hid in the back closet of the store when shots rang out. Others went to a corner in the men’s department to duck out of sight.
Hawkins was burdened by several unfortunate events in his life – he broke up with his girlfriend, lost his job at McDonalds and was kicked out of his parent’s house.
And hours before the shootings, he called Debora Maruca-Kovac, a relative of a friend who had taken him in after he moved out of his parents house, to tell her about his suicide note and to express his gratitude.
“He had said how much he loved his family and all his friends and how he was sorry he was a burden to everybody and his whole life he was a piece of (expletive) and now he’ll be famous,” Maruca-Kovac told CBS’s “The Early Show” about the call.
“I was fearful that he was going to try to commit suicide but I had no idea that he would involve so many other families, she said.”