Thursday, December 6, 2007

The teenager who killed eight shoppers yesterday after opening fire on a crowded mall left a suicide note predicting: “Now I'll be famous.”Robert Hawkins, 19, who had a history of depression and had broken up with his girlfriend two weeks ago, also wrote that he was “sorry for everything”.The high school dropout yesterday left the note at the home of the Maruca-Kovac family who had taken him in after he was thrown out by his parents.He had just been fired from his McDonald's job for allegedly stealing $17 before driving to the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, and beginning his bloodbath.President George W Bush had come within two miles of the centre during a morning visit to the Midwest city."He wanted to go out like a star," said Andrew Bigler, who described himself as a friend of bespectacled Hawkins."He had a rough life. He was a good guy. I loved him."Wearing a camouflage vest, Hawkins headed to the third floor of the Von Mauer department store, pulled out an SKS assault rifle and opened fire.He gunned down shoppers in the store's customer service department before spraying bullets at others on a floor below as they looked up an escalator towards the screams and pandemonium.In total, he hit 13 people in the crowded complex, killing eight and injuring five before turning the gun on himself. Last night, Debora Maruca-Kovac, who invited Hawkins to live with her after her 17- and 19-year-old sons befriended the killer, said: “I had a feeling it was him.”

The surgical nurse, who described the youth as “very troubled” had witnessed victims of the mall shooting being brought in to the hospital where she works."He was depressed, and he had always been depressed," she said. "But he looked like he was getting better."Hawkins, who earned a high school equivalency degree after dropping out of Papillion-La Vista High School, earned his driving licence after moving in with the Maruca-Kovacs.And five months ago he started working at a McDonald's restaurant near their home in the middle-class suburb of Bellevue.The teenager was not on any medication for mental illness, but he had been treated in the past for depression and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Mrs Maruca-Kovac revaled. Though he had his troubles, Hawkins was gentle and loved animals, Maruca-Kovac said.But he also had a drinking problem and would occasionally smoke marijuana in his bedroom, she said.The youth had been due to attend court for allegedly being caught in possession of alcohol.The minimum drinking age in all U.S. states is 21.

Maruca-Kovac continued: “He didn't cause a lot of trouble. He tried to help out all the time. He was very thankful for everything. He wasn't a violent person at all."Hawkins had lived with several friends for a couple days at a time before landing at Maruca-Kovac's house last year, she said."He was like a lost pound puppy that nobody wanted," she explained. "I felt sorry for him. I let him stay, and we tried to get him on his feet."

Mrs Maruca-Kovac said she found the handwritten note on the floor by his bed.She then called Hawkins' mother, whom she said she knows only as "Molly." The woman went to her house, retrieved the suicide note and took it to authorities.Mrs Maruca-Kovac did not hear about the shooting - which began around 1.50 pm - until she arrived at work, where she saw patients being wheeled in.
In the note Hawkins he didn't want “to be a burden anymore" to his family.At the top of the note was his "will," which said that his green Jeep Cherokee was to go to his mother, and that "my friends can have whatever they want."He ended the note by saying that now he would be famous.Police said they had no reason to think Nebraska's biggest lunchtime bloodbath was connected to the Bush visit but FBI agents were said to be checking for a possible link.


Post a Comment