Mother Of Omaha Mall Shooter Apologizes

Thursday, December 13th 2007, 8:00 am
By: News On 6

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ The mother of the teenage gunman who killed eight people at a busy shopping mall earlier this month apologized Thursday for her son's crime and said she did her best raising him.

``I'm sorry. I'm sorry,'' Maribel Rodriguez told ABC's ``Good Morning America'' when asked what she would say to the victims' families. ``I'm deeply devastated with you.''

Her son, Robert Hawkins, 19, fired more than 30 rounds inside a mall department store Dec. 5, striking 11 people. Six died where they fell, one died on the way to a hospital and another died at a hospital. Three other people were wounded, two seriously.

``If you want to hate Robert, then hate Robert. You don't need that pain,'' Rodriguez said. ``You absolutely don't need that type of pain in your heart and mind. Because it destroys your soul.''

Hawkins was a troubled teenager who spent four years in a series of treatment centers, group homes and foster care after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002. He had recently broken up with a girlfriend and lost his job at a McDonald's.

``He was without hope. He was without faith. He was without courage,'' Rodriguez said. ``Because you don't do that to other people. You just don't do that to other people.''

When asked what people should think of her son, Rodriguez said: ``I'm not perfect, I know that. But you tell me: What could I have done differently? I did my best.''