Update on Westroads murders expected this morning

Omaha, NE – (updated 8:45 AM 12/6/07)

Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren, Mayor Mike Fahey and Governor Dave Heineman plan to hold a press conference at 9:30 this morning regarding the investigation in to yesterday's killings of eight people at Westroads Mall.

Police say 20-year-old Robert Hawkins of
Bellevue opened fire on the third floor of the Von Maur store at Westroads Mall shortly before two PM. The Associated Press reports witnesses heard dozens of gunshots and mall patrons scrambled to take cover. Omaha Police Sergeant Teresa Negron says the rifle used in the shooting was recovered and that Hawkins died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

General Growth Properties Inc., the parent company of Westroads Mall, issued the following statement: "Today's tragedy in Omaha, Nebraska has been a horrific event for the entire community. Our number one priority has been to ensure the safety and well-being of the shoppers and employees of the mall. We are extremely grateful to all the law enforcement agencies for the leadership they have provided. Our deepest heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to all the families of the victims."

Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, Governor Dave Heineman and President Bush all issued statements yesterday expressing condolences to the families. Second District Congressman Lee Terry spoke with Omaha Public Radio this morning about the shootings and what can be done to prevent similar incidents from happening elsewhere. You can hear that audio by clicking on the link above.