Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mall Shootings

SWAT teams were able to respond quickly to Omaha's Westroads Mall shooting because they were on high alert due to President Bush's quiet visit to the Nebraska city.

President George W. Bush was in Omaha, Nebraska, on the morning of December 5, 2007. While in Omaha, Bush visited the OneWorld Community Health Centers, a clinic that provides medical, dental and nutritional aid. However, Bush was mainly in Omaha to support candidate Mike Johanns for the United States Senate. The Johanns fundraiser was held at the large estate of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Walter Scott Jr. It was closed to the media. Soon after Bush departed, a mall shooting occurred at a mall in the city.

The Westroads Mall shooting occurred on December 5, 2007, beginning at 1:42 p.m. (local time) at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska. The main location of the shooting happened at the Von Maur customer service desk.

The gunman was identified as Robert A. Hawkins, 19, who was armed with an SKS assault rifle. Hawkins dropped out of Papillion-La Vista High School two years ago.

Hawkins stated in a suicide note that he wanted to "go out in style." It is reported there were nine fatalities (two customers and six employees) including Hawkins who reportedly took his own life. Five other people were injured, two of them remained in critical condition on December 6.

Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren reported that video showed Hawkins was hiding something in a black sweatshirt as he entered the mall. Warren speculated that at least 30 rounds were fired from an AK-47 rifle, which was stolen from Hawkins' stepfather. Warren said the gun had two 30-round magazines with the ability to fire off rounds quickly.

Hawkins apparently left two suicide notes and a will, prompting Warren to call the shootings premeditated. The chief said people may never know why he went on a rampage, and that the victims were chosen randomly. He said it also appears the mall was picked because it's a large public place where Hawkins could get a lot of attention.

It was the deadliest shooting spree in the state of Nebraska since a rampage by Charles Starkweather in 1958, who is usually described as a "mass murderer."

The Omaha shooting was one of several shootings at a mall or shopping center so far in 2007.

November 2007: Two people were wounded after a gunman fired several rounds at a mall in Douglasville, Georgia, near Atlanta. Police say that case was an attempted robbery.

June 2007: Two employees were killed in the Greenbriar Mall, Atlanta, Georgia, parking lot. The shooter later killed himself.

April 2007: David Logsdon, 51, stormed the Ward Parkway Center parking lot in Kansas City, Missouri, killing three and injuring 7, on April 29. He was shot and killed by police.

Feburary 2007: Sulejmen Talovic, 18, a high school dropout and Bosniak immigrant, opened fire at a crowded Salt Lake City shopping mall. The Trolley Square shooting occurred on February 12, 2007, at Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. The shooting resulted in the deaths of five bystanders and the shooter himself who was killed by police. At least four others were wounded.

Christmas Eve 2006: Jesse Cesar, 21, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in a fatal Christmas Eve gang shooting at a St. Petersburg, Fla., mall that sent shoppers running for cover. Cesar was accused of firing the shots that killed Berno Charlemond, 23, and of shooting at authorities, according to the arrest report. No one else was injured. (Source: St. Petersburg Times)

December 2006: Gunfire at Eastland Mall in Charlotte, N.C., sent Christmas shoppers ducking for cover and left one man shot in the neck. The shooting erupted in the busy mall about 8:15 p.m., after an argument between two groups of men. Investigators believe four shots were fired from two guns. One struck a 27-year-old man in the base of his neck, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said. The man had been involved in the argument. (Source: Charlotte Observer)

September 2006: Gunfire erupted in the parking lot of the Mall of Georgia after five suspected shoplifters fled a department store.

November 2005: The Tacoma Mall shooting occurred on November 20, 2005 at the Tacoma Mall in Tacoma, Washington. The gunman, Dominick Maldonado, entered the mall with a semi-automatic Norinco MAK-90 rifle and a pistol and instigated four armed kidnappings. Six people were injured but no deaths resulted.

September 2005: A gunman shot a security guard to death inside the Mall West End and made off with a bag filled with thousands of dollars in cash.

Februray 2005: At the Hudson Valley Mall, Kingston, New York, on February 13, 2005, Robert Bonelli of Glasco, New York, entered with a replica of an AK47 and began firing his weapon inside the Best Buy located at the mall. Bonelli, age 24, caused a panic as employees and shoppers began to flee the mall. The mall was evacuated and Bonelli was taken into custody. No one was killed in the shoot-out and only two people (a National Guard recruiter and a 56 year old man) were wounded with one making a full recovery and the other still facing limitations today. Ulster County investigators searched Bonelli's room at the home he shared with his father, and found what Ulster County District Attorney Donald Williams described as "Columbine memorabilia". Officials described the young man as being fascinated by the Columbine High School massacre.

December 2004: Holiday shopping turned deadly when two men were shot - one fatally - inside of their car in the Quail Springs Mall parking lot, police said. Police received several 911 calls about 11:40 a.m. reporting that shots had been fired in the parking lot and that both victims had fallen out of their white Oldsmobile and onto the lot. Police said they did not believe Christmas shoppers were targeted. (Source: The Daily Oklahoman)

December 2004: A Boston boy in his early teens was shot in the stomach just outside the Cambridgeside Galleria's east entrance as hundreds of holiday shoppers packed the mall, police said. The shooting, which frightened shoppers, neighbors, and mall employees, was the third inside or just outside the mall in less than a decade. (Source: The Boston Globe)

December 2003: A shooting inside the Caribbean's largest shopping mall in San Juan, Puerto Rico, wounded one man and created panic during the height of the Christmas season. Thousands of shoppers were in Plaza Las Americas mall when a man fired at Manuel Villanueva Carrasquillo in front of the Sears store, police said. They were unsure of the motive. Villanueva was in stable condition at a hospital with two gunshot wounds to the neck and chest, police said. (Source: Orlando Sentinel)

December 2001: A fatal shooting outside Owings Mills mall prompted questions yesterday about mall security and whether the incident would scare off shoppers during the last week of the crucial Christmas shopping season. But some shoppers said the violence, which appeared unrelated to any mall activity, would not force them to change their habits. (Source: The Baltimore Sun)

Christmas Eve 1999: A former Roxbury man was convicted of fatally shooting a 20-year-old Roslindale man at the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall on Christmas Eve was sentenced to 15 to 18 years in state prison for the slaying, authorities reported. The shooting occurred in the parking garage in front of stunned shoppers who were streaming out of the mall with packages and bags. (Source: The Boston Globe)

February 1993: Three people were wounded in a shooting at Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America in a dispute over a jacket.

December 1993: David Mack Flinn fatally shot two people and injured three in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Hugo, Okla.

April 1987: William B. Cruse gunned down six and wounded ten at a Winn-Divis supermarket in Palm Bay Florida.

October 1985: Sylvia Seegrist, 25, dressed in combat gear and firing a semiautomatic rifle, killed three and injured seven at Springfield Mall in Pennsylvania.

No comments: