Mall Shooter Was Depressed, Seemed 'Gentle'

Teenage gunman had prior arrests, but was thought harmless
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2007 11:34 AM CST
Television reporters work in front of the Von Maur store, site of Wednesday's deadly shooting, in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007. Eight people were killed and five wounded before the shooter, Robert...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Robert Hawkins—who killed 8 people and himself at an Omaha mall yesterday—had been treated for depression, and had prior arrests for drug possession and disorderly conduct. But the woman who took him in, after he had a falling out with his family, thought he was getting better, and considered him benign. He showed her an SKS semiautomatic rifle the night before his attack, Debora Maruca-Kovac told the Omaha World-Herald, but she thought little of it.

Hawkins called Maruca-Kovacat about 1pm yesterday, telling her he'd been fired from McDonalds, and drawing her attention to the note he left.  When she tried to get him to explain, he said, "It’s too late," and hung up, she told CNN. In the note, Hawkins wrote that he was sorry for the trouble he'd caused his family. “Now I’ll be famous,” he wrote.