Nine killed in Omaha, Nebraska mall shooting

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Von Maur entrance of the Westroads Mall.

A boy with a rifle opened fire at a busy department store at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska Wednesday, killing at least 8 people and injuring five, before taking his own life. The massacre started just before 2 p.m. CST (UTC-6). Three of the wounded are in critical condition.

The complex was immediately locked down with people only permitted to leave the immediate mall area, however some people remained in stores and cupboards to avoid the shootings. Police and SWAT teams arrived on the scene within 6 minutes and proceeded into the complex to find the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The shooter is male, and has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound," said an Omaha Police spokesman during a live press conference. Reports also suggest that the suspect was tall and was found on the third floor, though reports conflict as to his exact location. He was thought to be located in the customer service area of the store. Reports later confirmed that almost all if not all of the shootings occurred within the store.

Location of Nebraska within the United States

Reports say that the alleged gunman was 19-year-old Robert A. Hawkins from Bellevue, who left a suicide note in his home stating "I’m going out in style" and "now I'll be famous." The shooting started near the outside entrance to the Von Maur department store when the man began to open fire with a rifle. The type of assault rifle the man used was one that re-entered the market via the expiration of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban on September 13, 2004. Eyewitnesses suggest that at least 30 shots were fired, with some saying up to 100 shots. Many people, however, thought that it was fireworks or construction noise from nearby works outside the store. Seven people were pronounced dead at the scene and two were pronounced upon arrival at hospitals.


"We are setting up a station at the Hampton Inn for families and the victims," added the spokesman. The injured are being taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center or the Creighton University Medical Center.

Police are not releasing names until all family members can be notified.


Sources

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