Thursday, December 06, 2007

"I'm a piece of (deleted) and now I'm going to be [in]famous"

Those are the words Robert Hawkins wrote in a note left in his room before he went to the Westroads Mall and opened fire randomly with an AK-47. From the local news story...

"Maruka-Kovac said Hawkins lived with her, her husband and their two sons. She said that the last time she saw him, she thought he was going to pick up his eyeglasses. The last time she talked to him, about 40 minutes before the shooting was reported to police, he told her he was sorry to be a burden and thanked her for taking him in. He also told her for the first time that he had been fired.

"I tried to talk to him and say, 'Come on home. We'll work it out,'" Maruka-Kovac said.

She said he told her it was too late, and that he'd left some notes in his room to explain why.

"He wrote, 'I'm a piece of (deleted) and now I'm going to be famous,'" she said.

Maruka-Kovac said she found the notes, called Hawkins' mother and then the police. It wasn't long before reports of the shooting were everywhere.

"I had a sick feeling when I heard about it," she said. "I can't believe he would go this far. He was a good-hearted kid. He was just going through some rough times."

I was in court getting a 12-year old's warrant cancelled when the news came that two had been shot at Westroads Mall, a mall where my wife used to work about five years ago. Then, after I stopped into another lawyer's office to talk about a personal injury case, the news came that 8 were dead. My wife, who was very familiar with that store, describes it as the most open of any retail store, with a clear view from the third floor onto the two lower floors and few walls or obstacles to hide behind besides racks of clothes.

Like a lot of criminal defense lawyers, my first thoughts went to "I hope it isn't one of my clients" as a lot of us can easily think of people about whom the question seems to be not "if" but "when."

The two scenes I'll remember most about this incident are the guy sitting next to me, by himself, at a stoplight, pushing up his glasses and wiping away tears, evidently hearing a report on the radio or just thinking about what the only news story has been around here lately. The other "scene" I'll remember is my dad calling and leaving me a message asking if we were out Christmas shopping last night and then saying, "but give me a call, would you?" It reminded me of the time he called at 6:30 a.m. when I was in college to "make sure I'd checked my oil lately."

Luckily there were a lot of officers on duty for Bush's visit, which evidently made the response quick. Unfortunately when they got there, they only found the effects, and ultimately the cause, lying next to his step-father's AK-47, smuggled in under his black sweatshirt.

1 comment:

shg said...

You will be feeling this for a long time to come. There will be plenty of other people crying when they are alone. Hang tough to you and your family.