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Mall gunman's note revealed only contempt for his victims

Video and still images of the shooting that left nine dead are released.

December 08, 2007|From the Associated Press

OMAHA — Surveillance images released Friday show a shaggy-haired, bespectacled Robert A. Hawkins taking aim at holiday shoppers, and his hand-scrawled suicide note offers compassion for his friends and only contempt for his victims.

"I know everyone will remember me as some sort of monster, but please understand that I just don't want to be a burden on the ones that I care for my entire life," he wrote. "I just want to take a few pieces of [expletive] with me."

The 19-year-old gunman left the note Wednesday at the suburban house where he lived. He then went to Omaha's Westroads Mall and opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle on the midday holiday shopping crowd, fatally shooting eight people at the Von Maur store before turning the gun on himself.

Surveillance video and still images of the attack show Hawkins initially walking into the mall unarmed, wearing glasses, a zippered black sweatshirt over a black T-shirt with a white logo. He returned to the store six minutes later, according to timestamps on the footage.

Video of the department store's south entrance shows Hawkins entering and immediately walking to the elevator to his right. His right hand was tight against his midsection to hide what police said was an AK-47.

Other footage showed people fleeing the store, and the first police officer on the scene walking in with gun drawn.

Police did not release video of the shooting, but made public a still image from the tape that showed Hawkins with his sleeves rolled up, aiming the AK-47 to fire in front of a store mannequin.

The photos appear to contradict earlier reports that the gunman had a military-style haircut and entered the mall wearing a camouflage vest.

Hawkins spent four years in treatment centers, group homes and foster care after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002. He had recently broken up with a girlfriend and lost his job at a McDonald's restaurant.

His note did not include that he wanted to "go out in style," as reported in the media.

"I've just snapped," he wrote, "I can't take this meaningless existence anymore I've been a constant disappointment and that trend would have only continued."

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