Gunman May Have Written About Suicide Before Mall Rampage

Saturday, December 15th 2007, 7:57 am
By: News On 6

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ A teenager who lived with the suicidal gunman who fatally shot eight people in a mall told police afterward that he had seen writings in which the suspect described killing himself in public, according to a court document filed Friday.

Kraig Kovac, 17, told police that the writings by Robert Hawkins scared him and that he had talked to his mother about them, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Douglas County Court. He also told police that his family was ``making a decision to kick him (Hawkins) out,'' the document says.

Kraig Kovac's mother, Debora Maruca-Kovac, said Friday that she doesn't agree with that account because the first she knew that Hawkins was thinking of killing himself was when she read suicide notes he had left.

The suicide notes hinted at his plans but did not specifically describe committing suicide in a place with many people. The affidavit did not state exactly when Kraig Kovac read Hawkins' writings about public suicide, saying only that it was ``recently.''

Maruca-Kovac declined to make Kraig Kovac available for comment on Friday and referred additional questions about the affidavit to police, who did not immediately respond to messages left Friday afternoon.

Kraig Kovac reported the writings to police Dec. 5 after the mall shooting was reported. Hawkins, 19, fired more than 30 rounds inside the Von Maur department store that day, striking 11 people and killing eight before killing himself.

Hawkins had been living with the Kovac family for about a year before the shootings. Maruca-Kovac has said that she and her husband took Hawkins into their home because he had no other place to live, and that Hawkins was friends with their 17- and 19-year-old sons.

Maruca-Kovac said that she and her husband had told Hawkins it was time for him to find a new place to live because he wasn't being responsible with his money.

``We were getting to the point that he was starting to be a freeloader,'' Maruca-Kovac said. ``He was just blowing his money on other stuff instead of trying to save it to find a place.''

Before Hawkins moved in with the Kovac family, he spent four years in a series of treatment centers, group homes and foster care after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002. He had broken up with a girlfriend and lost his job at a McDonald's restaurant shortly before the shooting.

Hawkins left three notes at the Kovac house before he went to the Westroads Mall and opened fire. He called Maruca-Kovac about an hour before the shootings and told her he had written a suicide note.

The affidavit lists what police seized when they searched Hawkins' car after the shootings. Among the items found was a full box of 20 bullets for the AK-47 assault rifle Hawkins used and one nearly full box with 14 bullets.

Reports filed Thursday on two other searches done after the shooting say police seized a spiral notebook from Hawkins' room at the Kovac house but do not say what was in it.