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Gunman in US mall shooting 'depressed'
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The gunman who killed 8 people before committing suicide in a large US shopping mall Wednesday was "depressed" and had a felony drug conviction, US media reported Thursday.


The gunman was identified as 19-year-old Robert A. Hawkins of Bellevue, Neb. and police are still trying to find what led him to commit such a crime at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb.


Hawkins was fired from a McDonald's Corp. restaurant three days before the shootings, company spokesman William Whitman said.


In addition to losing his job, Hawkins recently broke up with his girlfriend, said Debora Maruca-Kovac, a nurse whose family took Hawkins in last year.


Hawkins also had a March 2005 felony drug conviction and was scheduled to appear in court again later this month on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.


Hawkins was "depressed," Maruca-Kovac said, though he recently seemed to be "getting better."


She said Hawkins had been treated in the past for depression and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


Hawkins was a student at Papillion-La Vista High School until he withdrew in March 2006.


He later got a high school equivalency diploma and began working at McDonald's about five months ago, after obtaining a driver's license.


Maruca-Kovac said Hawkins showed her an SKS semiautomatic Russian military rifle the night before the shootings.


But Kovac said she wasn't alarmed because the gun appeared old and unusable.


Police said Hawkins left behind a suicide note saying he believed the murders would make him famous.


(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2007)

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