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Nine killed in shooting at Omaha mall, including gunman

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Author Topic: Nine killed in shooting at Omaha mall, including gunman  (Read 56 times)
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« on: December 05, 2007, 04:58:29 pm »

Police: Nine killed in shooting at Omaha mall, including gunman

Story Highlights
NEW: The person believed to be the gunman dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Shopping center is locked down

Shoppers and employees walk out of the building with their hands up

Witness: It sounded like someone shooting fireworks

(CNN) -- A gunman killed eight people and wounded five others Wednesday at the popular Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, before apparently turning the gun on himself, police said.

The Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, is locked down after the shooting.

 "We do not believe that we have any other shooter," said Sgt. Teresa Negron.

The shooting took place at the Von Maur store inside the shopping complex, which was locked down, the Nebraska State Patrol said.

Shoppers and employees walked out of the building with their hands up. Some described hiding in clothes racks and dressing rooms after hearing the shots.  Watch witnesses describe the ordeal

"I was standing around getting ready to go back to work and all of a sudden I heard this bang, bang, bang -- it sounded like someone shooting fireworks," a witness told CNN affiliate KETV. "I ran to get away from whatever was happening."

Shoppers described scenes of horror as they fled the mall.

"We heard about 35, 40 shots, and on our way our we did see someone down by the escalator, bleeding," Jennifer Cramer told KETV.

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Another witness said people started running frantically from the Von Maur area saying there was a shooting.

"I heard three loud pops," said mall employee Charissa Tatoon. "Immediately after that, there was a series of maybe 20 to 25 more shots up on the third floor." She said she saw a man shot on the second floor and "at least four or five" people brought out on gurneys.

Another woman who works at the mall said she saw a woman shot, and added that the shots seemed to be coming from inside the Von Maur store, on an upper level.

People were gathering outside the mall, checking on loved ones believed to be inside. E-mail to a friend
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Monique Faulkner
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 10:51:58 am »

Chief: Shooter cased store, came back with AK-47

Story Highlights
NEW: Police chief: Shooter entered store twice, second time with AK-47

NEW: Six victims were store employees, two were customers

Gunman showed rifle to landlord night before mall rampage

Panicked holiday shoppers flee for cover; "I was scared to death," witness says

OMAHA, Nebraska (CNN) -- The man who killed eight people and then himself at a Nebraska mall Wednesday came into the store and looked around before leaving and returning with an assault rifle, Omaha's police chief said Thursday.

Police have identified the gunman as Robert A. Hawkins, 19, of Bellevue, Nebraska.

 1 of 3 more photos   Mall security officers noticed Robert A. Hawkins, 19, of Bellevue, Nebraska, briefly enter the Von Maur department store at Omaha's Westroads Mall, Chief Thomas Warren said.

Hawkins left the store and returned six minutes later concealing something -- presumably the AK-47 assault rifle used in the rampage -- under a hooded sweatshirt, Warren said.

Hawkins turned right, took an elevator to the third floor and immediately started shooting in the store's customer service area, Warren said.

Six store employees and two customers were fatally wounded before Hawkins turned the gun on himself, the chief said. The five women and three men who died ranged in age from 24 to 66, he said.

Five other people were injured, and two of them were in critical condition, hospital officials said.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman ordered that flags throughout the state be lowered to half-staff through Sunday.

Warren said Hawkins apparently chose his victims randomly and spoke little or not at all while firing about 30 rounds.

The shootings sent panicked holiday shoppers fleeing for cover.

"It was just so loud, and then it was silence," said witness Jennifer Kramer, who hid behind a clothing rack. "I was scared to death he'd be walking around looking for someone else."  Watch how Kramer and her mother hid

Debora Maruca Kovac, Hawkins' landlord, said she found a suicide note after getting a phone call from Hawkins about 1 p.m., just minutes before the shootings.  Watch landlord describe phone call from shooter

Mall Victims
Gary Scharf, 48, customer

John McDonald, 65, customer

Angie Shuster, 36, employee

Maggie Webb, 24, employee

Janet Jorgensen, 66, employee

Diane Trent, 53, employee

Gary Joy, 56, employee

Beverly Flynn, 47, employee

"He basically said how sorry he was for everything," Maruca Kovac said of the note. "He didn't want to be a burden to people and that he was a piece of s--- all of his life and that now he'd be famous."

She said Hawkins was a friend of her sons and "reminded me of a pound puppy that nobody wanted." He came to live with her family about a year and a half ago, telling her he could not stay with his own family because of "some issues with his stepmother."

She described Hawkins as well-behaved, although "he had a lot of emotional problems, obviously."

Maruca Kovac told the Omaha World-Herald that Hawkins showed her an assault rifle the night before the rampage, but she wasn't alarmed.

The shootings began about 1:42 p.m. (2:42 p.m. ET).

Seven people were found dead at the scene by officers who arrived six minutes later; two others, a male and a female, died after being transported to Creighton University Medical Center, said Fire Chief Robert Dahlquist.

Warren said Hawkins' body and the AK-47 with SKS 7.66 mm ammunition were found on the store's third floor.

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Maruca Kovac told CNN that Hawkins left the house Wednesday about 11 a.m., and called the house about two hours later, sounding upset.

"He just said he wanted to thank me for everything I'd done for him ... and he was sorry," Maruca Kovac said. He told her he had gotten fired from his job at a McDonald's restaurant, she said.

"I said, 'Come home and we'll talk about it,' " she recounted. "He said, 'It's too late.' He said he'd left a note explaining everything."

Kramer told CNN she heard at least 25 shots.  Watch witnesses describe the ordeal

"I looked at my mom and said, 'We need to get out of here. Those are gunshots,' " Kramer said. "I just grabbed my mom and we ran to the back of the men's department and hid in some pants racks."

Mall employee Charissa Tatoon said a man by an escalator near her was heard saying he was calling 911.  See a map of where the shooting took place

"Immediately after that, the shooter shot down from the third floor and shot him on the second floor," she said.

Maruca Kovac said Hawkins had been through a rough patch recently.

"When he first came to live with us, he was in the fetal position and chewed his fingernails all the time," she said. But she said she thought he was improving, as he had gotten a job, a haircut and a girlfriend.

However, she said Hawkins and his girlfriend had broken up in the last couple of weeks, and he had taken it hard. Then he got fired from McDonald's on Wednesday.

A friend of Hawkins' said he hadn't thought Hawkins was capable of such violence.

"No. No way," Shawn Saunders, who had known Hawkins for about two-and-a-half years, told CNN. "... The Robbie I knew was a lot like me, and I just never thought he'd do something like that.

"He was the one guy, you know, if people would be getting in a fight he'd be trying to break it up," Saunders said. "If there were arguments amongst our friends or groups, he was kind of like the calm, cool and collected one."  Watch how Saunders learned Hawkins was the shooter

President Bush had visited Omaha on Wednesday before the shooting.

"The president is deeply saddened by the shootings in Omaha," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. "His thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families." E-mail to a friend

CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2007, 03:57:35 am »

Jail the parents.  Angry
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2007, 01:27:21 pm »

Photos show shooter enter store, take aim

The Omaha, Nebraska, Police Department has released surveillance photos of mall shooter Robert Hawkins entering the Von Maur department store Wednesday. One photo shows Hawkins aiming his gun. Hawkins killed six store employees and two shoppers before killing himself, investigators say. full story

Photos show shooter in storeStory Highlights
Police department releases stills from surveillance video

Robert Hawkins seen entering store twice, second time carrying object

AK-47 apparently hidden under sweatshirt, police say

Next Article in U.S.

(CNN) -- Surveillance images of mall shooter Robert Hawkins in the Von Maur department store have been released.

Robert Hawkins is seen aiming his rifle in a still photo taken from surveillance video.

 The Omaha, Nebraska, Police Department released still photos taken before and during Wednesday's shooting spree, in which nine people, including Hawkins, were killed.

The first photo shows Hawkins, 19, walking through the doors of the Von Maur store at Omaha's Westroads Mall for the first time, police told CNN affiliate KETV in Omaha.

A second photo shows Hawkins entering the store for a second time, apparently hiding the AK-47 rifle under his sweatshirt, investigators said.

The third image shows Hawkins aiming the rifle in the general direction of the camera.

Hawkins killed six Von Maur employees and two shoppers before turning the gun on himself, investigators said.

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911 tapes reveal horror
Families, friends grieve for victims
Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren said Thursday that security personnel were watching Hawkins but did not have an opportunity to prevent the carnage.

Warren said Hawkins entered the store through its second-floor main entrance, took an elevator to the third floor and immediately started shooting.

One victim was on the second floor, shot from above, Warren said. Most of the rest of the victims were on the third floor near the elevator, the children's department and the customer service area, where Hawkins' body was found. E-mail to a friend
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