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A friend of Hawkins, Shawn, told KETV NewsWatch 7 said Hawkins had been on antidepressants.

Shooter Remembered By Friends, Landlord


POSTED: 7:26 pm CST December 5, 2007
UPDATED: 9:19 am CST December 6, 2007
OMAHA, Neb. -- The shooter at Westroads Mall was identified as Robert A. Hawkins of Bellevue, according to the Sarpy County Sheriff's Department, and a suicide note said he was going to be famous.

Hawkins, 19, had been arrested on a couple of misdemeanors in November and was due in court this month. One charge included minor in possession of alcohol. He was arrested on Nov. 24. He was due in court for an arraignment on Dec. 19.

A friend of Hawkins' biological family said Hawkins dropped out of high school a few years ago. She said he had stopped living at his parents' home after they set some ground rules that he didn't like. She described him as a dysfunctional individual in a good family.

Sarpy County deputies arrived with a search warrant at about 9 p.m. at the Hawkins' home in the Quail Creek neighborhood in Bellevue.

The woman who owns that house at 4302 McCartey Dr., who only gave her first name of Deborah, said Hawkins had a lot of emotional instability. She said she thought he was turning things around. She said he had just learned that he was fired from McDonald's.

Deborah said Hawkins was coming out of his room Wednesday morning when she last saw him.

"He said he'd gotten fired and was pretty upset and said, 'This is the only way,' and we tried to talk to him," Deborah said. "He was just a very troubled -- I had no idea that he was this troubled. I don't know if it was because he got fired from McDonald's."

McDonald's released a statement before 8 p.m. Wednesday, extending sympathy to the victims' families and saying the company is cooperating with police.

"We are extremely saddened by this unfortunate and senseless act of violence. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those involved in this tragedy," Kim Correll, vice president and general manager of McDonald's Midwest Region said in a statement. "It would be inappropriate to comment or speculate about this incident. Nor would it be appropriate to comment on an ongoing police investigation."

Deborah said she saw Hawkins with a gun Tuesday night and thought he and her sons were going hunting, which they did quite often. She said her last conversation with Hawkins was asking him to come home and she'd help him deal with getting fired. She said she thought he'd gone to pick up some eyeglasses when he left her house.

At 4:30 p.m., Rollie Yost, in the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office, said shortly after the shooting, Hawkins' mother walked into its office with a note that "could be interpreted as suicidal." The note said Hawkins was "going to go out and be famous," authorities said.

Yost said Sarpy County is working with Omaha police.

A friend of Hawkins, Shawn, told KETV NewsWatch 7 said Hawkins had been on antidepressants. He was staying with friends in Quail Creek, the friend said, and he said Hawkins had recently begun bouncing from job to job and making "some bad judgment calls." Shawn said he was shocked to hear it was the man he calls "Robbie." Shawn said he had heard through the grapevine on Wednesday that Robbie was suicidal.

Shawn said he last saw Hawkins a few months ago.

Hawkins' friends exchanged text messages throughout the day as news of the shooting spread.

A KETV.com user e-mailed this:

"I went to school for seven years with (Hawkins) and he seemed to be a suicidal kid. During school, he would talk about killing or something along those lines."

Andrew Bigler, another friend of Hawkins, said he heard about the shooting during school. He called Hawkins a great guy.

"He was like a brother to me," Bigler said.

Bigler said Hawkins wasn't so much angry, but wanted to go out like a star. Bigler said people probably think his friend is a "little terrorist," but Bigler said that isn't the "Robbie" he knew.

"I loved him," Bigler told KETV NewsWatch 7.

Authorities and friends said there may have been more than one note. One outlined a will showing that his vehicle was to go to his family. One note may have been addressed to friends, another to family.

A staff member at a group home where Hawkins lived for awhile said Hawkins was a target of teasing, but a good kid.