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Mass Murder in Omaha

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Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby Snakes Gould » Thu Dec 06, 2007 1:04 am

hopefully our very own omaha resident is safe...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071206/ap_ ... l_shooting


By ANNA JO BRATTON and OSKAR GARCIA, Associated Press Writers 27 minutes ago

OMAHA, Neb. - A man opened fire with a rifle at a busy department store Wednesday, killing eight people in an attack that made holiday shoppers run screaming through a mall and barricade themselves in dressing rooms.

The young shooter, who left a note predicting, "Now I'll be famous," wounded five others, two critically, then took his own life.

Witnesses said the gunman sprayed fired down on shoppers from a third-floor balcony of the Von Maur store using what police said was an SKS assault rifle they found at the scene.

"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 at the Westroads Mall, in a prosperous neighborhood on the city's west side. She said she hid in a dressing room with four other shoppers and an employee.

Police found the first victim on the second floor, then several more near a customer service station on the third floor.

The shooter, identified by police as 19-year-old Robert A. Hawkins, was found dead on the third floor with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren said the shooting appeared to be random. He would not release the victims' identities and gave no motive for the attack.

Hawkins was kicked out by his family about a year ago and moved in with a friend's family in a house in a middle-class neighborhood in Bellevue, a suburb wedged between Offutt Air Force Base and the Missouri River, said Debora Maruca-Kovac, who along with her husband took in Hawkins, a friend of her sons.

"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 told The Associated Press.

Maruca-Kovac said Hawkins was fired from his job at a McDonald's this week and had recently broken up with a girlfriend. She said he phoned her about 1 p.m. on Wednesday, telling her that he had left a note for her in his bedroom. She tried to get him to explain.

"He said, 'It's too late,'" and hung up, she told CNN.

She told the AP she called Hawkins' mother, went to the Maruca-Kovacs' house and retrieved the suicide note, in which Hawkins wrote that he was "sorry for everything," would not be a burden on his family anymore and, most ominously, "Now I'll be famous."

Maruca-Kovac said she took the note to authorities and went to her job as a nurse at the Nebraska Medical Center.

Hours later, Maruca-Kovac said, she saw victims being brought in.

Police received a 911 call from someone inside the mall, and shots could be heard in the background, Sgt. Teresa Negron said. By the time officers arrived six minutes later, the shooting was over, she said.

"We sent every available officer in the city of Omaha," Negron said.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that the gunman had a military-style haircut and a black backpack, and wore a camouflage vest.

"Everybody was scared, and we didn't know what was going on," said Belene Esaw-Kagbara, 31, a Von Maur employee. "We didn't know what to do. I was praying that God protect us."

Mickey Vickory, who worked at Von Maur's third-floor service department, said she heard shots at about 1:50 p.m.

She and her co-workers and customers went into a back closet behind the wrapping room to hide, then emerged about a half-hour later when police shouted to come out with their hands up. As police took them to another part of the mall for safety, they saw the victims.

"We saw the bodies and we saw the blood," she said.

Keith Fidler, another Von Maur employee, said he heard a burst of five to six shots followed by 15 to 20 more rounds. Fidler said he huddled in the corner of the men's clothing department with about a dozen other employees until police yelled to get out of the store.

Witness Shawn Vidlak said the shots sounded like a nail gun. At first he thought it was noise from construction work at the mall.

"People started screaming about gunshots," Vidlak said. "I grabbed my wife and kids we got out of there as fast as we could."

Shortly after the shooting, which came three weeks before Christmas, a group of shoppers came out of the building with their hands raised. Some were still holding shopping bags.

Police told people to park their cars at businesses across from the mall and to wait for their loved ones, then directed them to an Omaha hotel to await information.

Nebraska Medical Center spokeswoman Andrea McMaster said it had three victims from the mall shooting, including a 61-year-old man in critical condition with a bullet wound to his chest.

Three victims were brought Creighton University Medical Center; two died and the other was critically wounded, spokeswoman Lisa Stites said.

By Wednesday evening, police were using a bomb robot to access a Jeep Cherokee left in the mall parking lot. Authorities believe the vehicle belonged to Hawkins. Officers had seen some wires under some clothing, but no bomb was found.

Authorities planned to search Maruca-Kovac's house late Wednesday, she told CNN.

President Bush was in Omaha on Wednesday for a fundraiser, but left about an hour before the shooting.

"Having just visited with so many members of the community in Omaha today, the president is confident that they will pull together to comfort one another," White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

The Von Maur store is part of a 22-store Midwestern chain. The sprawling, three-level mall has more than 135 stores and restaurants. It gets 14.5 million visitors every year, according to its Web site.

It was the second mass shooting at a mall this year. In February, nine people were shot, five of them fatally, at Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City. The gunman, 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic, was shot and killed by police.
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby Madison » Thu Dec 06, 2007 1:41 am

Yep, ORS and his family are all safe and sound. He checked in over on the football side on page 4 (I think it was page 4) of their thread about this topic. ;-D
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby Snakes Gould » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:59 am

whew good to know. this is a really crazy story. sounds like the guy was just picking people off from the balcony. :-P
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Shane Victorino wrote:“We keep fighting,” Victorino said. “We keep plugging along.”
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby Art Vandelay » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:36 am

I have no problem with people killing themselves, but why this desire to take other people with you? Just because your life is miserableand pointless doesn't mean everyone elses is as well. What a coward. It's disgusting that he did this to try to achieve some form of fame, and that the media is making that come true somewhat by naming him. It'd be nice if all of the local and major media organizations could have agreed not to make his identity public, but unfortunately that will never happen.
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby Snakes Gould » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:12 pm

Art Vandelay wrote:I have no problem with people killing themselves, but why this desire to take other people with you? Just because your life is miserableand pointless doesn't mean everyone elses is as well. What a coward. It's disgusting that he did this to try to achieve some form of fame, and that the media is making that come true somewhat by naming him. It'd be nice if all of the local and major media organizations could have agreed not to make his identity public, but unfortunately that will never happen.


yeah i hear you. i dont get the thought process either. maybe its just jealousy.
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Shane Victorino wrote:“We keep fighting,” Victorino said. “We keep plugging along.”
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby StlSluggers » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:05 pm

Art,

His suicide note said that he wanted to die famous. Obviously, he meant to say infamous...

Ridiculously horrible. :-C
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby Yoda » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:13 pm

They should never release the name of this ignorant bastard and I hope he rots in hell.
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby sgnilloccaz » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:02 pm

After these types of incidents I just sit and wonder what drives people to do this? To be famous? Come on now
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby Coppermine » Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:43 am

So this guy "stole" his stepfather's AK-47 to do this. You have to admit, a lot of shootings like this can be traced back to a troubled teen with a family hoarding various weaponry.

Just saying, I'm all for the right to bear arms; the constitution and bill of rights are the foundations of our democracy, but isn't this why "assault" weapons are illegal?
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Re: Mass Murder in Omaha

Postby Omaha Red Sox » Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:04 am

As Art pointed out, this idiot's nothing but a coward. And the publicity and attention he/the story has garnered is almost as sickening. The local news is horrible. They've almost gloated over the national publicity that the incident has received, 'showing off' segments from national news networks like CNN. They're even showing the video shots of him firing the rifle. They reopened the mall 2 days ago.
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