About Robert Hawkins

The perpetrator of the Westroads Mall shooting was Robert A. Hawkins, 19 (May 17, 1988 – December 5, 2007). He was born in the Royal Air Force Lakenheath of Suffolk, England, to American parents Ronald Hawkins and Maribel “Molly” Rodriguez.

He was estranged from his parents and lived with two friends and their mother in a ranch-style house in the Quail Creek Neighborhood of Bellevue, a suburb 10 miles (16 km) south of Omaha. He was attending therapy sessions, taking medication and being hospitalized for depression by the time he was 6 years old.

Throughout most of his life, he and his family were plagued by his psychiatric problems. The day after he turned 14, he was sent to a mental health treatment center for threatening to kill his stepmother Candace Hawkins with an axe. Four months later, he became a ward of the State of Nebraska, which lasted nearly four years. He had undergone two psychiatric hospitalizations, and was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, an unspecified mood disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and parent-child relationship problems. His extensive treatments cost the state USD$265,000.

He attended Papillion-La Vista High School and later dropped out during his senior year in March 2006, but received a GED. Debora Maruca-Kovac, the owner of the house in which Hawkins lived, described him as “troubled”. She also stated that he was depressed over being fired from his job at McDonald’s, reportedly for stealing USD$17, and over separating from his girlfriend two weeks prior to the incident.

Hawkins was ticketed on November 24, 2007, for suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two alcohol charges, one of which was underage possession of alcohol. He was due in court for an arraignment on December 19, 2007. According to local news sources, he threatened to kill a local teenager, because he thought she had stolen his CD player. He was also convicted as a juvenile of a felony drug conviction while in foster care in Omaha.

The Smoking Gun released a copy of Hawkins’ three-page suicide note which consisted of a note to his family, one to his friends, and his last will and testament, below which he signed his name and included his Social Security number. Initial news reports indicated that Hawkins wrote in his suicide note, “I’m going out in style;” however, the phrase does not appear on the publicly released document.

The day after the shooting, the Hawkins family released a statement expressing their condolences for the victims. On December 13, 2007, Hawkins’ mother issued a formal apology for Hawkins’ actions in an interview on Good Morning America.

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