This is a discussion on Omaha Mall Shooting: MERGED X4 within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Presumably they want unarmed guards in uniform on the theory that the uniform will scare off a killer (instead of telling him whom to shoot ...
Presumably they want unarmed guards in uniform on the theory that the uniform will scare off a killer (instead of telling him whom to shoot first), or maybe it's just to make the shoppers feel more secure. Passing out free teddy bears would be cheaper.
I went to buy some camouflage pants, but I couldn't find any.
- Janq is headed to the mall, packin', in :20 to the movie 'Hitman'"I've just snapped. I can't take this meaningless existence anymore I've been a constant disappointment and that trend would have only continued."
Hawkins added, "I love you mommy. I love you dad," and expressed love for several other people. He told them to remember the good times they had.
"Just think tho I'm gonna be (expletive) famous," he wrote.
Also Friday, those who knew Hawkins most recently in suburban Bellevue said they tried to warn police about his behavior but got no response.
A man who lived nearby said he went to police a month ago to report his and other parents' concerns that Hawkins and his friends had easy access to guns, sold drugs and smoked pot with an adult.
Bellevue police said the house where Hawkins lived is in an unincorporated part of the city and not in their jurisdiction. Police Chief John Stacey would not talk about Kevin Harrington's complaint, but said normally officers pass complaints from that neighborhood onto the Sarpy County Sheriff.
Sheriff's officials said they never received the complaint.
Harrington, 45, said he told police in Bellevue about a month ago that one of Hawkins' friends offered to sell Valium to his 13-year-old son. Harrington said he also told police that Hawkins had previously shot at a car during a drug deal gone bad.
"We told them about the drugs, we told them about the guns, and nothing was done," Harrington said.
Harrington said his 16-year-old daughter used to hang out with the group of teens in the neighborhood at the home of Debora Maruca-Kovac, the 50-year-old woman Hawkins lived with.
Maruca-Kovac told the Omaha World-Herald that Hawkins showed her a rifle on Tuesday, but that she thought it was too old to work.
Harrington said he wished someone had listened to the warnings.
He called police again Thursday after his daughter got a phone call from Hawkins' best friend, 17-year-old David Horvath.
After the shootings, Horvath left Shelby Harrington a voicemail message, threatening to "cap" her if she didn't stop saying bad things about Hawkins, Harrington said.
Shelby Harrington had posted a critical comment about Hawkins on an Internet site after some of Hawkins' friends defended him. Horvath was charged Friday in Sarpy County Court with intimidation by phone call.
And Thursday evening, while his daughter was filming an interview with TV's "Good Morning America," she got a threatening text message from another friend of Hawkins. A 16-year-old boy was cited for disturbing the peace in that incident, Bellevue police said.
Source - http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=3971155
Omaha Mall Shooter Stopped by Armed Shoppers
by Scott Ott for ScrappleFace ·
(2007-12-07) — When 19-year-old Robert Hawkins entered the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, carrying an AK-47 assault rifle wrapped in a sweater, he intended to become famous by shooting as many people as possible and then turning the gun on himself.
The mentally-troubled teen left a suicide note, and a trail of evidence on his computer and elsewhere that he knew the police would spend months investigating. He had done everything possible to ensure that his name would be mentioned along with other mass killers at Virginia Tech, Columbine High School and the like.
He knew that the Westroads Mall was a gun-free zone, with signs on the entrances warning people with conceal-carry permits that they may not bring their firearms into the mall. He took comfort from those signs, as he pushed through the doors carrying the stolen assault rifle.
As he ascended to the upper deck, Mr. Hawkins could almost hear the screams of the shoppers as they tried to flee the sound of his shots, but due to the echo couldn’t discern the shooter’s position. He pictured the confused mall security guards talking over each other on the two-way radios. He rehearsed in his mind the final trigger pull that would end his mortal pain, and imagined the silence that would follow, punctuated only by the groaning of his dying victims.
That was the plan — careful, premeditated and nearly perfect.
There was only one problem: some people don’t read signs, and others ignore them.
As Mr. Hawkins moved into the ideal sniper position on the upper deck, an unnamed middle-aged man emerging from the nearby Von Maur department store noticed his odd behavior and glimpsed the muzzle of the rifle peeking out from the sweater. Almost instinctively the man moved toward Mr. Hawkins, reaching to his belt to draw out a Springfield EMP, a small, 9mm semi-automatic handgun.
As the would-be famous mass killer raised the rifle to his shoulder, the unnamed shopper commanded him to stop. Mr. Hawkins turned the muzzle of the AK-47 toward the commanding voice, a single shot rang out and Mr. Hawkins staggered, dropped his weapon and fell against the railing.
By this time, two other shoppers were aiming their pistols at Mr. Hawkins — a young, single woman pulled a .40 caliber Glock 27 from her purse, and a retired farmer drew his 9mm Ruger SR9 (an early Christmas gift from his wife). Together with the first man they moved in to separate Mr. Hawkins from his gun, search him for other weapons and restrain him until law enforcement arrived.
Robert Hawkins is recovering from his gunshot wound as he awaits trial for attempted murder and other charges. He faces the prospect of 15-to-25 years in prison, where police say he will be famous as “the guy who was almost famous.”
Westroads Mall officials said they had not decided yet whether to press charges against the three who interrupted Mr. Hawkins’ plan by violating the mall’s gun-free zone policy.
A woman must not depend on protection by men. A woman must learn to protect herself.
Susan B. Anthony
A armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one has to back it up with his life.
It is all a question of money & legal liability. In case of lawsuits, companies can proclaim that they did what any common sense people or corporation could do to keep the place safe. They will argue that it is not common or economically feasible to keep a well prepared SWAT team on premises for the very occasional attack and they must concentrate on the normal everyday crime that does not require armed security. Also, they do not want the possible liability of a possible bad shooting within their walls by a Security Officer and with the lawyers that exist out there, any shooting will be deemed bad by somebody who spilled his double non-fat-soy-mocha-cappuchino on his lap when he was startled by the sound of the shot.
Another thing going on is that a company will drop a Security Officer and leave him to fend for himself from a possible lawsuit if the company itself is sued by some alleged misdeed. It is basically a "We wash our hands from this guy. We did not expect him to behave like that." and possibly (if they can get away with it and reduce their cost at the legal stuff) the company will do what is possible to lay the blame on the Offiecr. So there is now a chill from Security Officers to do anything because they will not be backed up by anybody and even they will be stabbed in the back by corporate.
So, as stated over and over, you are on your own in posted places.
You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
I did armed security in 2 suburban malls, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg. Neither in bad neighborhoods, both were outlet malls catering to locals and tourists. Never had a problem with the sheep wondering why we were armed. Most were clueless, the rest didn't care. It worked out just like unarmed (I assume, since I didn't do that crazy mess). We were basically ignored by 95%, spoken to politely by 5%. The employees, however, were very appreciative of our presence.
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
Paramedics With Guns Scare People!
Last edited by cwblanco; December 8th, 2007 at 06:37 PM.
Click the link for a graphic of his location, and a commentary about this first person account.
Note that the witness states, "The shooter had brown or black hair, and I remember it being cut quite short, but not buzzed."
Contrast this with published pictures of the shooter at the mall.
Was there a second shooter, or is the witness mistaken?
I took a later lunch that day because I had a noon phone meeting with a company out of New York, apparently we’re not on the same lunch schedule. I also planned to take a one-hour lunch that day, instead of a 30-minute lunch, so I could go to Van Maur and pick up some gifts for my wife. We were both there on the evening of Dec 03 with my 1-year-old daughter, and my wife tried on some coats and showed me some bath robes she liked, so I knew exactly what I was going for that day.
I asked a co-worker (named K for this story) for directions to Van Maur from my place of business. as she knew a faster route that would get me there quicker.
I left work around 1:15 to 1:20 and arrived at the front doors of Van Maur at 1:35 (shooting -7), I remember specifically looking at my watch as walked in. I came in the south entrance to Van Maur, right by the elevators.
I proceeded to 2nd floor using the escalator around 1:36 (shooting -6 minutes). I soon picked up a coat that my wife liked. I spent a couple
minutes there because I was still not completely sure about picking
the white coat or black coat. I checked my watch and realized time was
running out, so I picked the white one. This was about 1:39 (shooting
Then I again took the escalator to the third floor.I went over to the bath robes near the bra section, which is by
customer service. I was standing close to the north wall, by the east
corner. I walked around the robes a bit to see if there were any last
minute changes about what I wanted to get, then I proceeded to the
rack of robes that my wife had expressed interest in.
At this point I don't have a time line, but the events unfolded follows:
I heard gunshots, about 8. I knew exactly what they were, but my brain
didn't want me to believe it.
I looked towards the escalators because it sounded like they came from
there. I could not place the direction the shots came from because I
was surrounded by 4 walls and standing nearly in a corner.
I stood there for maybe 8 seconds (time enough to change a magazine),
then I heard several more shots. Somehow, then I focused in on the
shooter. He was towards the south wall, in the east corner, maybe 30
degrees to my left. He was about 30 yards away. He was shooting
towards the west and I had a nice side view of him.
He was wearing what looked like a solid green sleeveless vest, and was
shooting a semi-automatic rifle. I could see sleeves of a shirt that did not match the vest. The vest did not look military or camouflage, but to me looked green.
To me, at the time, I thought the rifle might be an AR15. One thing I
noticed, it appeared that the empty shells were ejecting out of the
left side of the gun instead of the right, which doesn't make sense
and could of been an illusion. All I could see were mostly the black
parts of the gun. The stock of the gun was the black frame style,
instead of a wood stock.
The shooter had brown or black hair, and I remember it being cut quite
Short, but not buzzed. He had the gun up to his cheek and was shooting in rapid
succession doing quick maneuvers with the gun. At first, It went
through my mind that this guy was some sort of military and this was a
terrorist attack. I could see the shells ejecting from the gun.
The way he was walking and shooting, calmly, no yelling, made me think that there was more than one shooter and they were performing a "clean sweep". He was aiming down the barrel of the gun, and shooting rapidly.
At this point, I stared for nearly 5 seconds, until I turned and
ducked down and started running. I want to make note of this point in
time, as I will come back to it.
I was running towards the north wall and somehow making my way farther
towards the east wall at the same time, putting myself in the corner
even more. There were maybe five people who started walking fast
looking in the direction of the shooter. I am not sure if they could
see him or just heard the commotion. When they saw that I was running
like heck, others started running, too.
People were running into the dressing rooms. I got near the door and
decided that is not where I wanted to be. I ran west a few yards
uncertain of what to do or where to go. I was trapped. But then I
focused in on an emergency exit and ran out of it. The alarm sounded.
It was loud, but I think it was only an alarm attached to the door, not sure if it set the whole store alarms off, but they were loud shreiking alarms, not continuous, but a pulse type alarm.
I ended up in some gray hallway with a set of stairs and very little room to move side to side. I ran down one set of stairs to 2nd floor.
There was a door there and I almost went through it. But I heard more
gunshots that sounded like they were on the other side of the door. I
believe I turned and I jumped over the stair railing to the next landing, skipping
the stairs completely. I do not remember the impact, and I do not
remember if I jumped down a whole floor, or ran down the first half of
the stairs and jumped down the rest. I am not certain of this point due to the fear I felt at this point after hearing more gunshots I thought was on 2nd floor, confirming in my mind there were multiple shooters.
I ran down a small hallway and found a door to the outside, but it would not open. It was a double door with a push bar. At this point, I had to make a decision. Do I wait here or get out?
I didn’t know what or who was on the other side of the door, and but I decided to go for it because I was trapped at the end of a hallway with no where to go. I pushed the door hard and it still would not give, so I kicked the push bar and the door flung open.
I was now outside, on Van Maur’s loading dock on the east side, I looked to my right and there was a long trash can close to the wall. I jumped over a rail, off the dock between the garbage can and the wall. I ran along this until I came to the end of both the garbage can and wall. I then realized that I was still carrying the coat I was going to by my wife. For some reason, I decided to drop it, and probably ruined it.
Then I ran out into the parking lot, which is between the mall and the parking garage. I didn’t know what to do next. I tried to call 911 on my phone with no luck. I yelled to some guy to call 911. Then I asked him if he had a gun I could use. I was freaking out, and in reality probably would not have gone back in. However, I was worried about someone picking off people in the lot, or coming out charging with guns firing. I had no idea how many shooters were in there.
I borrowed a lady’s cell phone, and she was worried I was going to run off with it. But 911 was busy, so I knew people were probably called. It took FOREVER for the cops to get there, I estimated the time as10 minutes but the news says 6.
During this time I did not know what to do. I almost just went for my car and left, but I realized that couldn’t be right. It was like someone pulled a fire alarm at the store, so I thought about just leaving and let everyone else figure it out. I decided that was the wrong thing to do..
I walked around to the north side and saw all the cops loading up. I yelled to them, “I saw what is going on. The guy has an M-16 type gun. If you need information, I can give it or else I am outta here.” A police lieutenant pulled me aside and I ended up in a cop car.
Minutes later another witness joined me. She said she was right beside me on the 3rd floor before the shooting. We were both very shaken up. My lungs were burning because I nearly did a full sprint down 3 floors. The cold air hit my lungs hard.
I was later taken to J.C. Penney and interviewed. At first, the interviewer was taking notes, but when he realized how involved I was I had start over, this time with a tape recorder running
I was then escorted to my car and I stopped back by work. I arrived at work around 4pm, which means my interview ended around 3:30 – 3:45.
When I heard the first round of gunshots, I knew what they were but didn’t want to believe it. I tried to think that they were balloons or fireworks. However, I definitely took a defensive stance ready to run.
When I saw the shooter, I stood there for nearly 5 seconds just watching.
First, he was firing 90 degrees away from me. The thing is, this image was nothing new to me. I see people shooting all the time at the range, on TV, in video games. But what my brain was having a hard time processing was that was Van Maur.
Now back to the point I referenced earlier.
Honestly, and as God as my witness, when I saw him shooting and as watched for a few seconds trying to figure out what he was going to do and what I should do, the thought that when through my mind was, “If I had a gun, I have a perfect shot.”
Yes, a perfect shot. I had a full side profile, I was close, and no one was visible behind him execept a wall. I had a clear shot during the second round of fire. I told this to every cop I came in contact with. The interviewer agreed.
When I realized that I had no gun, fear instantly struck me, along with anger, and severe panic.
I ran hard.
I did not think to try to help people, I just got out.
While I was running, I kept hearing shots. In my mind, I could see myself getting shot in the back, bullets ripping through me and blood spraying in front of me.
Interestingly, I was still able to make decisions. I knew the dressing room was a bad place. When I realized I was trapped in a corner, more fear set in and I almost went for the dressing room, but then I saw the emergency exit.
I instantly started second-guessing that decision as well. For all I knew, there were more shooters waiting for people to try to escape. But realizing that I was wide open to attack, I ran out the emergency door.
As I ran down the stairs, all kinds of thoughts started occurring. What if a shooter was coming up the stairs? What if one followed me down? Every decision I made was second-guessed, should I just stop or keep going?
I kept going, and due to luck, I was fine. There was only one shooter, and he did not set any boobytraps.
That’s all. My decisions were fairly limited and all I could do is go where the doors and hallways took me.
After my interview, as I was being escorted by the cops to my car, I saw the nice, white coat still there by the garbage can. I pointed it out to my interviewer who was escorting me, hoping maybe he’d let me go pick it up to possibly save it. But, it was a lost cause. I would have gone back later and paid for it.
This part of the story may be removed later, but I will have it here for now.
I do not have a Concealed Handgun Permit. I have completed the training class, but I keep putting off applying for the permit because I think it is useless. In the places I would need a gun most, I am not allowed to have it. I will not be a person living in fear and not go to Van Maur because they don’t allow guns.
My point that Open Carry needs to be easier in Omaha, and places like Westroads need to take down their “no guns” signs.
If I had my gun deeply concealed, I wouldn’t have been able to draw it very fast. However, If I had open carried, I could of drawn instantly.
Either way though, I could have drawn and taken a clean shot. However, in both cases, regardless of the laws, I am not allowed to carry a gun at all in Westroads Mall. If the laws did not oppress my rights, I would carry a gun most places (except work). I would certainly have had it in the mall as mall shootings have been on my mind since the incident at a mall involving a shotgun back in February.
My wife is somewhat cautious about guns as is my sister-in-law. After this event, both are now pro-guns. In addition, I will never again be caught without a gun.
I later learned from the news that people were shot at customer service (to my right) and the children’s section (in front of me, off to the left). This means it was only luck this guy did not target me, as I was closer to him than some of the people he shot. I have a second chance at life.
What really irks my gut is that I was just there at Van Maur on Monday night with my wife and daughter. What if they were with me this time? Escape like I did would not of been possible.
I am very angry at the city of Omaha and the mall for their stupid laws that nearly cost me my life. The laws protected no one, and in my opinion, caused people to die.
Will I go to the media? Maybe. I can’t make a decision now because I am still shaken up. I got very little sleep last night. I need to let my head clear. Nothing I do right now is going to change the outcome and near brush with death.
Right now I have been practicing with my .40 S&W Beretta, replaying the situation in my mind.
I could have done it, no problem, no hesitation, no regrets. This was a test of my soul, and the results are in and I know them for certain.
I am going to go buy some “gear,” then go to the shooting range for some target practice.
My knnee hurts and my legs and lungs still burn. I cannot recall how high of jump I took, but I am going back to Van Maur to find out.
UPDATE 12/6/07 - I went to a local shooting range and purchased several silhouette targets. I then put the targets down range, to the approximate place I think the shooter would have been.
It seems it may be between 40 and 50 meters based on my memory. I used my Beretta 90-Two (.40 S&W) and shot each target several times with 6 round magazines. I mostly aimed for the head because that is probably what I would have done in the mall, as I didn't know if he was wearing a vest or not.
My accuracy to the head was about 4 out of 6, depending on how fast I fired. For the shots I missed the head, they still hit the neck or the chest. A few test cases, I missed the head by an inch. I would of been shooting up at a slight angle so the missed shots would of went higher than most people stand.
I then took body shots and my accuracy was near 100% on the target, though not necessarily in the kill zone. I conclude I could have taken the shots with decent accuracy and been effective. I cannot predict the outcome, except that I would of rather been shooting at the killer, instead of crossing my fingers, turning my back, and running away. Even if I only wounded him, I could of run in closer for more accuracy. Call me crazy, it may be true, but running away like I did was more crazy and more risky with my life. I just got lucky.
I do want to say that when I talk about that I could of stopped the killer, I am not trying to make a political statement. I am simply saying if
I were allowed to carry a gun, I would have and I would have used it.
That is a hard fact. I am not trying to be a hero and say that I would
have tried to save lives. I am saying that I was trying to save my life,
and if my family was there, their lives as well. There is nothing
"hero" about what I am saying, it's about survival.
I feel that I am alive today because of luck. I chose to run, but it was not a choice. I was forced to run. Many will say that is the right choice. I say it is the choice that requires luck. ALOT of luck with the position I was in.
Use of deadly force at times may also require luck. But, it also depends upon skill, awareness, and practice. These are things I can control, and these are things I trust far more than luck
The statements I am making today are my own, and represent my personal views and my views alone. It may or may not be the views of my family, friends, employer, other professional affiliates, or anyone or thing affiliated with me in any way of form other than myself.
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
Paramedics With Guns Scare People!