Elsewhere: 19-year-old’s mall shooting worst killing spree in Nebraska history

(U-Wire) LINCOLN, Neb. – A few minutes.

That’s how long it took Robert Hawkins, 19, to commit the worst single-day killing spree in Nebraska history.

By Thursday morning, the families of the eight individuals killed at Omaha’s Westroads Mall were notified.

Six of the victims were employees in the Von Maur store, where the incident took place. The other two were customers doing some holiday shopping.

As of Thursday evening, two people wounded in the incident remained hospitalized at Omaha hospitals.

One of the them, Fred Wilson, 61, of Omaha, suffered a gunshot wound in the upper left chest/shoulder area, which severed an artery and led to severe blood loss, said Dr. Joseph Stothert of the Nebraska Medical Center.

“He basically bled out his entire blood volume,” Stothert said.

Wilson was listed in serious condition on Thursday, but doctors were unsure if he would be able to use his left arm again.

Two victims injured during the incident were released from the hospital Thursday.

Hawkins of Bellevue killed himself during the shooting.

On Thursday morning, Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren said surveillance video showed Hawkins entering the main entrance of Von Maur’s second level with what appeared to be “something balled up in a hooded sweatshirt” he was carrying.

Hawkins proceeded to take the elevator to the third floor of the store. Bullets began raining from Hawkins’s rifle immediately after he exited the elevator.

“Mall security did not have an opportunity to intervene,” Warren said, adding that security spotted Hawkins upon entering the south entrance doors, and was watching him based on his actions.

Hawkins stole the rifle – an AK-47 semiautomatic – from his stepfather’s home, Warren said.

Hawkins, who had been living with a friend’s family, was a ward of the state between September 2002 and August 2006, said Todd Landry, director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Children and Family Services, during a press conference Thursday.

Hawkins was put under state custody in 2002 after making homicidal threats towards his stepmother, Landry said. He had also been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and other psychological disorders.

Sarpy County District Court terminated the state’s custody of Hawkins last year through an agreement between the court; DHHS, Hawkins’s treatment provider; therapist; and father, Landry said. The termination came nine months before he would have been moved out of the system because of age.

During the four years he was under state custody, Hawkins was ordered to go to group homes and treatment facilities that helped young people with substance abuse and mental and behavioral health problems.

Landry said he didn’t think the incident at the mall was a failure of the system, adding that state spent about $265,000 in services for Hawkins over the four years he was a ward of the state.

“It would be nice to have a crystal ball to look into the future,” Landry said. “But we believe all appropriate services were provided.”

Friends of Hawkins remembered him as withdrawn, but still able to have fun and joke around.

“He was the voice of reason in the group,” said Shawn Saunders, a senior at Papillion-LaVista South High School and friend of Hawkins. “He always seemed more calm than anybody.”

Saunders, who stopped by Hawkins’s home in Bellevue Wednesday night, said Hawkins would mention killing himself but “no one ever took him super serious.”

Laura Chapman, Jenna Gibson, Jamie Klein, Katie Nieland and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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