When we look at the history of active shooter events in the United States, we tend to focus on two general locations for such events: educational institutions and post offices. While it’s easy to understand why we focus on educational institutions – those attacks are very emotionally impactful and garner a LOT of exposure. We remember them and focus on the events for the purpose of learning how to avoid or prevent them. Post offices? It seems ancient history now, but a couple decades ago there were several shooting attacks within postal facilities and the term “going postal” was coined. With this look at the attack that occurred at Westroads Mall, we take a look at one of the first mass shooting attacks that occurred in a publicly open commercial facility. Bear in mind as you read about it, the attack could have occurred, or be repeated, at any similar facility: a mall, a theme park, a business office building – any of them could either be targeted or have someone within them targeted.
The perpetrator of the attack, Robert Hawkines, had a troubled history starting in his childhood and demonstrating either a desire or capability for violence well before he committed the attack at Westroads Mall. Hawkins had been troubled since his early childhood. He was estranged from his parents and lived with two of his friends and their mother. By the age of four, Hawkins had already been sent to a psychiatrist and was taking medicine, attending therapy sessions, and was be hospitalized for depression by the time he was six. On his fourteenth birthday, he was sent mental health center for homicidal threats against his stepmother.
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The remainder of this article is part of the book "Active Killers and the Crimes They Perpetrated," available in print or ebook via Amazon.