Mind Control

NIU Shooters Girlfriend Reveals Gunman Spent Time in Psychiatric Facility

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/02/17/shooter.girlfriend/

University shooter’s girlfriend: ‘I couldn’t believe it’

  • Story Highlights
  • Steven Kazmierczak’s girlfriend describes him as a "worrier" on an anti-depressant
  • He stopped taking the medication three weeks before NIU slayings
  • "He wasn’t acting erratic," she said, but "a little quicker to get annoyed"
  • Police: Kazmierczak opened fire at NIU class, killing five and himself on Feb. 14

From Abbie Boudreau and Scott Zamost
CNN Special Investigations Unit

WONDER LAKE, Illinois (CNN) — The girlfriend of the gunman who killed five people and then himself at Northern Illinois University last Thursday told CNN there was "no indication he was planning something."

"He wasn’t erratic. He wasn’t delusional. He was Steve; he was normal," Jessica Baty tearfully said in an exclusive interview Sunday.

Baty, 28, said she dated Steven Kazmierczak off and on for two years and had most recently been living with him.

"He was a worrier," she said. He once told her he had "obsessive-compulsive tendencies" and that his parents committed him as a teen to a group home because he was "unruly" and used to cut himself, she said.

"He was worried about everything, he worried about me."

But, she added, that he had never exhibited self-destructive behavior during their time together. "Everybody has a past, and everybody goes through hard times," Baty said.

Kazmierczak had been seeing a psychiatrist on a monthly basis, Baty said, and was taking an anti-depressant. But he had stopped taking the medication three weeks ago, "because it made him feel like a zombie," she said.

"He wasn’t acting erratic," she said. "He was just a little quicker to get annoyed."

Police say on Valentine’s Day Kazmierczak burst into an NIU geology class and opened fire with at least a shotgun and two handguns, killing five students while dozens fled for their lives.

Authorities were on the scene within a few minutes, but by the time they reached the classroom, Kazmierczak, 27, had shot himself to death.

Baty knew her boyfriend had purchased at least two guns. He told her they were for home protection.

The day of the shooting, Baty was in class at the University of Illinois where she and Kazmierczak had transferred from NIU. He was pursuing a master’s degree in sociology, and she is going for a master’s in social work. He planned to study law and had signed up to take the LSAT test, she said. She is hoping to get her doctorate in social work.

The students in her class began to talk about a mass shooting taking place at NIU in DeKalb, Illinois.

Oblivious that Kazmierczak could have anything to do with it, Baty said she had tried calling him several times Thursday, but her calls went directly into his voice mail.

"I was worried about him because he was supposed to come to class," she said. "He never missed a class."

When she learned that Kazmierczak was the shooter, "I couldn’t believe it," she said.

"I said, ‘No, you have the wrong person. He’s not in DeKalb.’ He wasn’t supposed to be there. He was on his way home to see me. It didn’t make any sense at all."

She had last seen him Monday morning, when he told her he was planning to drive north to visit his ill godfather who he had not seen in a long time.

Kazmierczak "told me that he loved me and that he would see me on Thursday and missed me," she said. "That whole week I talked to him; he sounded fine."

"The Steven I know and love was not the man that walked into that building," she said. "He was anything but a monster. He was probably the nicest, most caring person ever."

She said she was talking to the news media about Kazmierczak because, "He cannot be defined by his last actions. There was so much more than that."

Since Thursday, Baty said authorities have intercepted several packages Kazmierczak sent her, including several items such as: the book "The Antichrist" by Friedrich Nietszche; a textbook for her class about serial killers; a package with a gun holster and bullets; a new cell phone that she had told him she wanted and about $100 in cash.

She read the contents of a note he sent to her.

"You are the best Jessica!" it read. "You’ve done so much for me, and I truly do love you. You will make an excellent psychologist or social worker someday! Don’t forget about me! Love, Steven Kazmierczak."

But there was no letter explaining the NIU slayings.

"I’m praying that there’s another one somewhere that tells why and what he was thinking and what he was feeling and why he wouldn’t want me to help him," she said.

Though the two had chosen to transfer to the University of Illinois, "there was no hard feelings [toward NIU]," she said. "He said all the time how grateful he was that he went there."

She said she had never known her boyfriend to lie: "He was always open and honest; we didn’t keep anything from each other."

"I would have helped him, I would have done something for him," Baty said. Even last week, when the two talked every night until the killings, she was not alarmed.

It was during their last conversation, a few minutes past midnight Wednesday, that she got her first inkling that something was amiss, she said. "He told me not to forget about him and he told me that he would see me tomorrow, and when we got off the phone he said ‘Good-bye.’ He never said good-bye."

Shaking and crying, her family at her side during the interview, Baty said she still loves the man she met in a hallway at NIU when they were both undergraduate students.

Baty said she feels sorry for the victims and their families and friends. "I know what they’re going through, and I just can’t tell them how sorry I am," she said. But, she added, "He was a victim, too, and I know they probably won’t want to hear that, but he was."

Like comments from teachers which have been widely reported, she said Kazmierczak was an achiever who always tried to get ahead in class and seemed committed to criminal justice issues.

Pictures of their relationship don’t betray anything odd. They are scenes of the two of them smiling on Florida beaches, on golf courses and having fun at Disney World.

Teachers and others who knew Kazmierczak have said he was fascinated with prison culture. In 2006, when he was a student at NIU, police said, he worked on a graduate paper that described his interest in "corrections, political violence and peace and social justice."

The paper said Kazmierczak was "co-authoring a manuscript on the role of religion in the formation of early prisons in the United States."

"I didn’t think he was crazy," said Baty, sobbing. "I still love him."

New law will require more mental health reporting

http://www.wjbc.com/wire2/news/13611_Mental-Healthweb_072653.htm

New law will require more mental health reporting

02/16/2008 07:26:53

While officials continue to investigate the shooting on the campus of Northern Illinois University, questions are being raised about the shooter’s mental health.

   The 27-year-old man accused of killing five Northern Illinois University students and himself hid a troubled past behind a mask of being quiet, dependable and fun-loving. Steven Kazmierczak spent about a year in a Chicago psychiatric center after high school. But the university’s president says he did very well had “no record of trouble” there before his graduation last year.

    Meanwhile, State Police Director Larry Trent says a new law set to go into effect July 1st would require both public and private mental health facilities to report a person’s mental health status to the Department of Human Services. Trent says his office would then check the list against the list of people with firearm owner’s cards and if someone is under a certain type of treatment or is committed, their right to own a gun would be revoked.

    Weekend classes and events, and a Monday open house have been canceled at all NIU campuses.

Wis.-based Web site sold to NIU shooter, also sold Va. Tech gun

www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-wi-niushooting-wis.,0,7266631.story

Wis.-based Web site sold to NIU shooter, also sold Va. Tech gun

By SCOTT BAUER

Associated Press Writer

2:59 PM CST, February 15, 2008

MADISON, Wis.

A Green Bay-based Internet gun dealer who sold a weapon to the Virginia Tech shooter last year sold handgun accessories to the man who killed five at Northern Illinois University on Thursday.

Eric Thompson said Friday that his Web site, www.topglock.com, sold two empty 9 mm Glock magazines and a Glock holster to Stephen Kazmierczak on Feb. 4, just 10 days before the 27-year-old opened fire in a classroom and killed five before committing suicide.

The order was shipped on Monday and records of the sale provided to The Associated Press by Thompson show Kazmierczak received the order on Tuesday.

Kazmierczak carried a rifle and three handguns into the classroom Thursday. Thompson said he had no idea whether the shooter was using the holster or magazines he sold. Each magazine can hold 33 bullets. Thompson said his site did not sell Kazmierczak any bullets or guns.

Authorities said two of the weapons he used in the shooting — the pump-action Remington shotgun and a Glock 9mm handgun — were purchased legally Feb. 9 in Champaign, Ill., where Kazmierczak was a student.

This is the second time that a Web site run by Thompson’s company, TGSCOM, Inc., has been connected with a campus shooting. Another Thompson site www.thegunsource.com also sold a Walther .22-caliber handgun to Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people in April on the Virginia Teach campus before killing himself.

"I’m still blown away by the coincidences," Thompson said Friday. "I’m shaking. I can’t believe somebody would order from us again and do this."

Thompson said he checked his sales records after the name of the shooter was made public on Friday. Those records show the sale made to Kazmierczak for a total price of $105.62. The items were shipped to an apartment in Champaign and signed for by someone other than Kazmierczak.

Thompson said he contacted the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives within five minutes of realizing the latest connection shortly after 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Thompson said his Web site is well-known among gun users on the Internet so it is not surprising that someone looking for accessories for a Glock would find it. But being tied to both of the shootings is "unnerving," he said.

"I still feel just absolutely in shock," he said. "I feel like I was run over by a truck."

Thompson said he has no way of knowing whether Kazmierczak found out about his Web site from the publicity it got after the Virginia Tech shootings, but the thought crossed his mind. The Web site did see an increase in traffic after that shooting, he said. Thompson said he also received many phone calls and threats.

He said he’s worried the same thing will happen this time around. But he decided to go public because he thought the public has a right to know as much as it can about the shooter and not feed off of rumors or outright lies.



University shooter interested in ‘peace and social justice’

University shooter interested in ‘peace and social justice’


http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/02/15/university.shooting.suspect/?iref=mpstoryview
DEKALB, Illinois (CNN) — Northern Illinois University on Friday identified the man who fatally shot five people in a classroom as Steven P. Kazmierczak, whom police described as an award-winning student "revered" by colleagues and faculty.

Kazmierczak, 27, who police said shot 21 people before shooting and killing himself, was an award-winning sociology student and a leader of a campus criminal justice group, according to school Web sites.

Concealing a shotgun in a guitar case, and tucking three other guns under his coat, Kazmierczak walked into a geology class in an NIU lecture hall Thursday afternoon and began firing, police said. The graduate student stopped to reload his shotgun before he took his own life, police said.

Kazmierczak was a student about 175 miles away at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, police said, and there "were no red flags" warning of any violent behavior.

One of Kazmierczak’s advisers said that she enjoyed having him as a student and that he was "a nice person; he was a nice kid."

"I found Steven to be a very committed student, extremely respectful of me as an instructor and adviser," said Jan Carter-Black, an assistant professor in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s School of Social Work.

Carter-Black was assigned to be Kazmierczak’s faculty adviser when he enrolled in the school in the summer of 2007, and he was a student in her human behavior and social environment class last fall, she said.

Carter-Black and Chris Larrison — another School of Social Work associate professor who knew Kazmierczak — described the gunman as pleasant, considerate and flexible.

"I was so surprised to see this today," Larrison said. Kazmierczak worked on a research project concerning mental health clinics under him, he said.

"It doesn’t fit with the Steven" he knew, Larrison said.

The 27-year-old participated fully in the class — which met for three hours once a week — until he formally withdrew from it sometime before late September and became a part-time student, Carter-Black said.

He was lightening his course load so he could take on a position in the prison system, she said.

She didn’t know if the position was in the federal or state system, but said he had discussed the decision with several faculty members. He later left the position at the prison, she said, but she didn’t know under what circumstances.

"He was very committed to pursuing a career with prisoners," Larrison said. He said it was likely that the career interest corresponded with Kazmierczak’s concentration in mental health.

Carter-Black and Larrison said Kazmierczak resumed full-time status this semester.

In 2006, Kazmierczak was a student at Northern Illinois, police said, where he worked on a graduate paper that described his interest in "corrections, political violence, and peace and social justice."

The paper said Kazmierczak was "co-authoring a manuscript on the role of religion in the formation of early prisons in the United States."

University police Chief Donald Grady said Kazmierczak "was an awarded student. He was someone that was revered by the faculty and staff and students alike."

Fellow students and faculty described Kazmierczak as "a fairly normal, unstressed person," Grady said.

People close to Kazmierczak said he was taking medication but had recently stopped, "and he had become somewhat erratic in the last couple of weeks," Grady said.

Police have found no notes that would explain the attack, and authorities have no known motive in the case, Grady said.

Kazmierczak’s former landlord, Jim Gordon, said Kazmierczak moved out of DeKalb in June 2007 and left a forwarding address in Champaign.

Gordon said he didn’t recognize the picture of his yearlong former tenant "at all," but his records indicated that Kazmierczak "always paid on time, never a noise problem, left the place spotless."

The university sociology department’s Web site said he was the recipient of a dean’s award for his graduate work in sociology in 2006. He had been accepted for the graduate program that fall, the Web site said.

Kazmierczak also was vice president of the university’s Academic Criminal Justice Association, according to the group’s Web site, and worked on a paper on self-injury in prisons with the group’s current president.

Kazmierczak’s paper, titled "Self Injury in Correctional Settings: ‘Pathology’ of Prisons or Prisoners?" was published in 2006, according to the university’s sociology Web site.

The Academic Criminal Justice Association provides "NIU students and members of the DeKalb community with an opportunity to learn about and promote knowledge and understanding of all areas of the criminal justice system, especially corrections and juvenile justice," the Web site says.

DeKalb police asked the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff’s Department to make "next of kin" death notification to Kazmierczak’s father, Robert Kazmierczak, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Rodgers said Friday.

"Please leave me alone. I have no statement to make," Robert Kazmierczak told CNN affiliate WESH from the porch of his Lakeland, Florida, home.

"It’s a very hard time. I’m a diabetic," he said before breaking down in tears.

School President John Peters said Friday, without giving a name, that the shooter had graduated in 2006 with an undergraduate degree in sociology and then went on to do some graduate work through 2007.

He "had a very good academic record" and "was a very good student," Peters said, adding that there was "no indication" of any trouble involving him.

Kazmierczak had no arrest record and no known history of mental illness, and he had a valid state-required firearm ID card, so he had no problem buying the guns, one law enforcement source said.

Police said the only record of him in DeKalb County Circuit Court was a speeding ticket issued in December 2006. A police officer cited him amid snowy conditions for "failure to reduce speed — resulting in an — accident," in a white 2001 Honda. Kazmierczak was 6-foot-4 and 165 pounds, according to the record.

Kazmierczak pleaded guilty and paid a $75 fine. No one was injured in the accident, the record showed.

Campus gunman had failed to take medication before killing five people

Campus gunman had failed to take medication before killing five people

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/16/usgunviolence.usa

  • Caryn Rousseau and Deanna Bellandi Dekalb, Associated Press
  • The Guardian
  • Saturday February 16 2008

The man who gunned down five people at Northern Illinois University before killing himself had become erratic after failing to take his medication and carried a shotgun to campus inside a guitar case, police said yesterday.

Stephen Kazmierczak, a 27-year-old former student at the university, had five handguns during Thursday’s ambush attack inside a lecture hall at the university in Dekalb. Two of the weapons, a pump-action Remington shotgun and a Glock 9mm handgun, were purchased legally less than a week ago, authorities said.

Investigators recovered 48 shell casings and six shotgun shells after the attack, the campus police chief, Donald Grady, said. "[Kazmierczak] had stopped taking medication and become somewhat erratic in the last couple of weeks," said Grady.

Witnesses said the gunman, dressed in black and wearing a stocking cap, emerged from behind a screen on the stage of 200-seat Cole Hall and opened fire just as the class was about to end at around 3pm. Officials said 162 students were registered for the class but it was unknown how many were there at the time.

Allyse Jerome, 19, a second-year student, said the gunman burst through a stage door and pulled out a gun. "Honestly, at first everyone thought it was a joke," Jerome said.

Lauren Carr, 20, said: "I crawled halfway up the aisle. I said I could get up and run or I could die here."

She said a student in front of her was bleeding, "but he just kept running".

"I heard this girl scream, ‘Run, he’s reloading the gun!’"

The attacker had been a graduate student in sociology at Northern Illinois as recently as spring 2007, but was not currently enrolled at the 25,000-student campus, the university president, John Peters, said.

ICE will no longer sedate deportees

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/D/DEPORTEES_DRUGGED?SITE=TNKNN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Jan 12, 2:15 AM EST

ICE will no longer sedate deportees


LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. immigration agents must not sedate deportees without a judge’s permission, according to a policy change issued this week.

Immigration officials have acknowledged that 56 deportees were given psychotropic drugs during a seven-month period in 2006 and 2007 even though most had no history of mental problems. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit over the practice in June.

An internal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo issued Wednesday and obtained Friday by The Associated Press said that effective immediately, agents must get a court order before administering drugs "to facilitate an alien’s removal."

"There are no exceptions to this policy," said the memo by John Torres, detention and removal director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

To get a sedation order from court, officials must show deportees have a history of physical resistance to being removed or are a danger to themselves.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice verified the memo’s authenticity.

"Medical sedation will only be considered as a last resort," she said.

The ACLU sued the agency to stop the practice, alleging it could constitute torture and violates the Bill of Rights and federal laws regarding the medical treatment of detainees.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status and is still pending, came after a handful of immigrants in Southern California claimed to have been drugged or threatened with drugging while the government attempted to deport them.

"We are very happy that the government recognized that their barbaric sedation policy was wrong," ACLU lawyer Ahilan Arulanantham said. "This has been a shameful chapter in the country’s immigration history."

Arulanantham said the ACLU would go forward with the lawsuit to learn more details about how sedation was used, who was drugged and to get a court ruling outlawing it in the future.

Amadou Diouf, one of two plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said late Friday he was relieved that forced sedation would cease. Diouf, 32, alleges he was injected with psychotropic drugs in 2006 in a plane that was to return him to his native Senegal.

"It was hard for me to believe they would drug people," said Diouf, who was ordered deported for overstaying a student visa. "It happened to me, and under the circumstances, it wasn’t necessary."

Diouf said escorting ICE agents gave him the injection after he asked to speak with the plane’s pilot to tell him that he had a judge’s order temporarily staying his deportation.

Senate testimony last year revealed that 33 of 56 deportees involuntarily given psychotropic drugs had no history of psychological problems. They were given the medicine because of "combative behavior," said Julie Myers, assistant secretary of homeland security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Omaha Mall gunman was satanic, suicidal

Files: Mall gunman was satanic, suicidal

By ANNA JO BRATTON, Associated Press Writer 33 minutes ago

The teen gunman who killed eight people and himself in a mall this month once told social workers he was satanic and acknowledged that he often acted before thinking of the consequences, according to newly released court records.

Robert Hawkins’ file includes hundreds of pages of court transcripts, drug tests and letters from caseworkers, therapists and family members. They give the clearest picture yet of a young man who told a therapist in April 2005 that "he is not sure if there is a God or life after death and that when he dies, he’ll probably go to hell."

More than two years later, on Dec. 5, the 19-year-old Hawkins walked into a department store in the Westroads Mall and shot 11 people, then committed suicide.

A judge on Wednesday ordered the documents released after motions were filed by several news organizations, including The Associated Press.

In one report, Hawkins, who had been in and out of the juvenile justice system since he was 14, told a social worker he was feeling overwhelmed by court hearings and school and tried to kill himself.

He told the social worker, Angela Pick, that he wanted to die when he swallowed about 30 Tylenol pills in January 2006, she wrote in a report to Sarpy County Juvenile Court.

Her report said Hawkins ended up in the emergency room. He was released to his father six days later, and his demeanor "appeared to improve. His father and this worker observed him to be more positive," Pick wrote.

"He said that he never wanted to go through that again," she wrote.

Hawkins became a ward of the state in 2002, after a stay in a Missouri treatment facility for threatening to kill his stepmother.

He was released from state custody in August 2006 after caseworkers, therapists and his family agreed that the extra nine months he could have remained in custody until he turned 19 wouldn’t have been worth it, given his lack of cooperation.

"Robbie has been in the court system for many years and has reached maximum benefit from what the department can provide," Pick wrote on Aug. 17, 2006. "He has continued to make some poor decisions but not any that are a safety concern at this time."

Hawkins became violent with a staff member at a residential treatment program in Omaha in August 2003 and had to be restrained, according to a letter from therapist Steven Moore.

When it was suggested that Hawkins be sent to a residential facility, the teen said, "I’ll burn that (expletive) place down with all of the people in it if you send me there," Moore wrote.

A constant theme of court hearings was Hawkins’ drug use. He told social workers he started using marijuana at age 13 and typically smoked twice a week.

By age 17, he said, he smoked marijuana almost daily and had snorted cocaine four to five times. He was expelled from school in October 2005 for trying to sell drugs to classmates.

Hawkins shrugged off criticism of his drug use and acknowledged selling drugs to pay for his marijuana habit, the documents said.

While his father, Ron Hawkins, attended most of his son’s court hearings, Robert Hawkins had a strained and sometimes nonexistent relationship with his mother, Maribel Rodriguez, the records show.

Social workers didn’t know where Rodriguez was living when Hawkins entered state custody. She requested visitation around July 2005, then told her son that if he lived with her he couldn’t have contact with his father, according to a social worker’s report.

Ron Hawkins said he was at the end of his rope when he agreed that his son should be released from state custody.

"I can not continue like this," Ron Hawkins wrote in an e-mail dated Aug. 18, 2006, three days before Hawkins left the system. "I love my son, but he will not believe or even listen to anything I try to tell him."

"He will have to stand or fall on his own to learn these lessons about life," Ron Hawkins wrote. "It is beyond my ability and I have to release him to God, praying that He will make sure that nothing happens to him that can not be undone."

___

Associated Press writer Oskar Garcia contributed to this report.

Al Qaeda Suspect: U.S. Government Gave Me LSD

Al Qaeda Suspect: U.S. Government Gave Me LSD

BY JOSH GERSTEIN – Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 11, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/41305

An alleged operative for Al Qaeda imprisoned for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant is saying he was tortured and forcibly medicated with "a sort of truth serum" while in a Navy brig.

Jose Padilla, 35, was arrested in 2002 on suspicions that he was plotting a radioactive explosion, also known as a dirty bomb. He spent several years in a military jail in Charleston, S.C., without facing criminal charges. As legal wrangling over his fate continued, prosecutors in Miami charged him late last year with providing material support to a terrorist group and conspiring to murder, maim, and kidnap Americans abroad.

Lawyers for Padilla, who was born in Brooklyn and converted to Islam while in prison for gang-related crimes, made the claims of torture in a motion filed last week with a federal court in Florida.

"He was threatened with being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured on the wounds. He was also threatened with imminent execution," the chief federal defender in Miami, Michael Caruso, wrote. "Additionally, Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations."

Padilla’s attorneys argued that the alleged torture constitutes "outrageous government conduct" that requires that the criminal case against Padilla be dismissed. Judge Marcia Cooke has already dropped one of the charges against Padilla, but he could still be sentenced to life in prison on the other charges. The trial has been delayed until next January, at the earliest.

A top Al Qaeda leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, reportedly admitted during interrogations that he tasked Padilla with locating radioactive materials and scouting out locations for a dirty bomb. However, the pending indictment against Padilla makes no mention of such a plot.

A spokesman for the Navy referred questions about Padilla’s treatment to the Justice Department. Prosecutors handling the case did not respond to calls seeking comment for this article.

Omaha mall shooter spent 4 years in foster care, ”treatment”

www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.mall07dec07,0,4295458.story

Omaha mall shooter spent 4 years in foster care, treatment

Released in 2006, teen had been in state custody after threatening stepmother

Associated Press

December 7, 2007

OMAHA, Neb.
The young man who killed eight people and committed suicide in a shooting rampage at a department store spent four years in a series of treatment centers, group homes and foster care after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002.

Finally, in August 2006, social workers, the courts and his father all agreed: It was time for Robert Hawkins to be released – nine months before he turned 19 and would have been required to leave anyway.

The group homes and treatment centers were for youths with substance abuse, mental or behavioral problems.

Altogether, the state spent about $265,000 on Hawkins, officials said.

Yesterday, while some of those who knew Hawkins called the massacre Wednesday at a busy Omaha mall unexpected, not everyone was surprised.

"He should have gotten help, but I think he needed someone to help him and needed someone to be there when in the past he’s said he wanted to kill himself," said Karissa Fox, who said she knew Hawkins through a friend. "Someone should have listened to him."

Todd Landry, state director of children and family services, said court records do not show precisely why Hawkins was released. But he said if Hawkins should not have been set free, someone would have raised a red flag.

"It is my opinion, it was not a failure of the system to provide appropriate services," Landry said. "If that was an issue, any of the participants in the case would have brought that forward."

After reviewing surveillance tape, a suicide note and Hawkins’ last conversations with those close to him, police said they don’t know – and may never know – exactly why Hawkins went to the Von Maur store at Westroads Mall and shot more than a dozen people.

But he clearly planned ahead, walking through the store, exiting, then returning a few minutes later with a gun concealed in a balled-up sweat shirt he was carrying, authorities said.

Debora Maruca-Kovac, a woman who with her husband took Hawkins into their home because he had no other place to live, told the Omaha World-Herald that the night before the shooting, Hawkins and her sons showed her a semiautomatic rifle. She said she thought the gun looked too old to work.

Police believe Hawkins was using that AK-47 when he stormed off a third-floor elevator at the store and started shooting.

Police said they have found no connections between the 19-year-old and the six employees and two shoppers he killed.

"The shooting victims were randomly selected," as was the location of the shooting, Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren said.

Acquaintances said that Hawkins was a drug user and that he had a history of depression. In 2005 and 2006, according to court records, he underwent psychiatric evaluations, the reasons for which Landry would not disclose, citing privacy rules.

In May 2002, he was sent to a treatment center in Waynesville, Mo., after threatening his stepmother. Four months later, a Nebraska court decided Hawkins’ problems were serious enough that he should be under state supervision and made him a ward of the state.

He went through a series of institutions in Nebraska as he progressed through the system: months at a treatment center and group home in Omaha in 2003; time in a foster care program and treatment center in 2004 and 2005; then a felony drug-possession charge later in 2005. Landry said the court records do not identify the drug.

The drug charge was eventually dropped, but he was jailed in 2006 for not performing community service as required.

On Aug. 21, 2006, he was released from state custody.

Under state law, Landry said, wards are released when all sides – parents, courts, social workers – agree it is time for them to go. Once Hawkins was set free, he was entirely on his own. He was no longer under state supervision, and was not released into anyone’s custody.

"When our role is ended, we try to step out," said Chris Peterson, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services.

About an hour before the shootings, Hawkins called Maruca-Kovac and told her he had written a suicide note, Maruca-Kovac said. In the note, Hawkins wrote that he was "sorry for everything" and would not be a burden on his family anymore. More ominously, he wrote: "Now I’ll be famous."

"He had said how much he loved his family and all his friends and how he was sorry he was a burden to everybody and his whole life he was a piece of [expletive] and now he’ll be famous," Maruca-Kovac said on CBS’ The Early Show, describing the note. "I was fearful that he was going to try to commit suicide, but I had no idea that he would involve so many other families."

The shoppers that Hawkins killed were Gary Scharf, 48, of Lincoln, and John McDonald, 65, of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The employees killed were Angie Schuster, 36; Maggie Webb, 24; Janet Jorgensen, 66; Diane Trent, 53; Gary Joy, 56; and Beverly Flynn, 47, all of Omaha.

Copyright © 2007, The Baltimore Sun

Omaha Shooter Had History of Psychotropic Drug Use

Originally published December 6 2007

Omaha Shooter Robert Hawkins Had Been "Treated" For ADHD, Depression

by Mike Adams

(NewsTarget) America seems shocked that, yet again, a young male would pick up an assault rifle and murder his fellow citizens, then take his own life. This is what happened last night in Omaha, Nebraska, where the 19-year-old Hawkins killed himself and eight other people with an assault rifle. Those lacking keen observation skills are quick to blame guns for this tragedy, but others who are familiar with the history of such violent acts by young males instantly recognize a more sinister connection: A history of treatment with psychiatric drugs for depression and ADHD.

It all started in Columbine, Colorado, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold massacred their way into the history books on April 20, 1999 by killing 12 and wounding 23 people. The mainstream media virtually glorified the event, yet utterly failed to report the connection between violence in young men and treatment with psychiatric drugs. (Both Harris and Klebold were taking antidepressant drugs.)

It’s a little known fact that antidepressant drugs have never been tested on children nor approved by the FDA for use on children. It is well established in the scientific literature, however, that such drugs cause young men to think violent thoughts and commit violent acts. This is precisely why the U.K. has outright banned the prescribing of such drugs to children. Yet here in the United States — the capitol of gun violence by kids on depression drugs — the FDA and drug companies pretend that mind-altering drugs have no link whatsoever to behavior.

Enormous evidence linking mind-altering drugs with violent acts

In 2005, I reported on this site that Eli Lilly had full knowledge of a 1200% increase in suicide risk for takers of their Prozac drug, a popular anti-depressant SSRI medication. (See http://www.newstarget.com/003086.html )

In 2006, we reported the results of a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showing that teens taking antidepressant drugs are more likely to commit suicide (and to be "successful" at completing the act). See http://www.newstarget.com/020643.html

On September 11, 2006, I reported on the link between antidepressant drugs and violent behavior yet again. (See http://www.newstarget.com/020394.html ) In that article, I explained, "If you’re going to alter the brain chemistry of these children, you had better be prepared for the results. The result we’re seeing now is mass killings. Elsewhere around the world, where children aren’t doped up on all these drugs, we don’t see this kind of behavior. This is what happens when you change children’s brain chemistry; you get these results…"

The very next day, we published a report about the anti-depressant drug Paxil doubling the risk of violent behavior. (See http://www.newstarget.com/020406.html ) In that article, I stated, "This finding helps explain why school shootings are almost always conducted by children who are taking antidepressants. We also know that SSRIs cause children to disconnect from reality. When you combine that with a propensity for violence, you create a dangerous recipe for school shootings and other adolescent violence.

In April of this year, I also reported on the link between antidepressant drugs and the Virginia Tech shooting. See http://www.newstarget.com/021798.html

What I said in that article has urgent application right now, following the Omaha shooting:

A study published in the Public Library of Science Medicine (an open source medical journal) explored these same links in detail. (See Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law, by David Healy, Andrew Herxheimer, David B. Menkes)

The authors note that "Some regulators, such as the Canadian regulators, have also referred to risks of treatment-induced activation leading to both self-harm and harm to others" and the "United States labels for all antidepressants as of August 2004 note that ‘anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric’".

In other words, the link between antidepressants and violence has been known for years by the very people manufacturing, marketing or prescribing the drugs. As the author of the study mentioned above concluded, "The new issues highlighted by these cases need urgent examination jointly by jurists and psychiatrists in all countries where antidepressants are widely used."

That was last year, well before this latest shooting. The warning signs were there, and they’ve been visible for a long time. Medical authorities can hardly say they are "shocked" by this violent behavior. After all, the same pattern of violence among antidepressant takers has been observed, documented and published in numerous previous cases.


(Click the cartoon for the full-sized version.)

Not surprised at what happened in Omaha

The people of Omaha may be surprised at what happened there yesterday, but I’m not. Why? Because the shooter, Robert Hawkins, had a history of being "treated" for both depression and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). (Source: Associated Press)

And what is the standard American psychiatric "treatment" for these conditions? Mind-altering drugs, of course.

ADHD, for example, is treated with a drug that used to be an illegal street drug called "speed." It’s an amphetamine, and recent research published in the August, 2007 issue of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reveals that Ritalin and other ADHD drugs actually stunt the growth of children, causing their brains and bodies to be physically altered. (See http://www.newstarget.com/021944.html )

Depression, of course, is treated with SSRI drugs, none of which have ever been safety approved by the FDA for use on children or teens. In other words, the use of these drugs on teenagers is a grand, mind-altering medical experiment, and what we just witnessed in Omaha is one result of that experiment.

There will be more. I hate to be accurate about this grisly prediction, because I grieve for the families of those lost to pharmaceutically-induced violence, but the truth is that until we stop drugging our children with psychotropic drugs, the shootings are not going to stop.

Big Pharma is to blame for this one, not the manufacturer of the gun. That gun has a trigger, you see, and the trigger was pulled by a finger. The finger was connected via a series of nerves to a brain, and that brain was altered by psychotropic drugs. The brain wasn’t functioning like a normal, healthy, well-nourished brain; it was functioning like a zoned out "zombie" brain permanently distorted by psychiatric drugs.

Sending a teenager out into the public doped up on mind-altering drugs that we KNOW are linked to violence — and jacked up on junk foods (he worked at McDonald’s) — is a certain recipe for disaster. Big Pharma executives, drug reps and the irresponsible psychiatrists who dish these pills out to teenagers might as well have just walked right into the mall and set off a bomb themselves. These are the people ultimately responsible for the tragedy in Omaha. Hawkins may have pulled the trigger, but modern psychiatry drugged him with violence-inducing chemicals. The fact that such drugs promote violence isn’t even disputed. It’s printed right on the warning labels of those drugs!

And as sad as this tragedy is for all those affected by this medication-induced violence, the truly sad part is that America still hasn’t learned this lesson. If you drug the children with chemicals that cause violence, you’re going to see more shootings. It’s as simple as that. And if you take away the guns, you’ll see bombs, knives or machetes used in these attacks. When disturbed young boys are doped up on psychotropic drugs that promote violence — and they’re drugged by the hundreds of thousands — it’s like playing a national game of Russian roulette (with apologies to Russia). Sooner or later, another kid whose mind has been altered by Ritalin, Prozac or some other drug is going to walk into yet another school or mall and start killing people. This kind of behavior is a direct product of chemical-based psychiatric "treatment."

The criminals running modern psychiatry

In fact, I predict we’ll see another such shooting in the next 30 days, if not sooner. And yet, even with the increasing frequency of these events, the unholy alliance between Big Pharma and the immensely evil psychiatric industry will continue. Yet more children will be put on mind-altering drugs that stunt their growth, alter their brain chemistry, and turn them into mind-numbed massacre drones who acquire dangerous weapons and open fire in public places.

The psychiatric industry, though, thinks that yet MORE children need "treatment" with drugs for ADHD and depression. In fact, an industry press release recently claimed that only one-third of those children "suffering" from ADHD are receiving appropriate "treatment" for the condition. Of course, those are just code words for "drugging the children with high-profit pharmaceuticals." When the psychiatric authorities say "treatment," what they mean is "more drugging."

Want to learn the horrifying, yet true, history of modern psychiatry? Check out www.CCHR.org – the Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights. They have a documentary so downright shocking that I couldn’t even finish watching the whole thing. It’s called Psychiatry: An Industry of Death.

Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills That KillAlso be sure to check out the shocking book by Kelly Patricia O’Meara called Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills That Kill. This book explains exactly why kids like Robert Hawkins who have been treated with psychiatric drugs end up shooting innocents.

What could have healed Robert Hawkins and saved lives

So what’s the solution to all this? Robert Hawkins could have been healed with a radical change in diet that supports healthy brain chemistry. His parents or caretakers should have stopped the junk food, ended the medication and put him on raw, living foods and daily superfood smoothies, fresh vegetable juices, raw nuts and seeds and other wholesome, non-processed foods. Nutrition is the single most powerful factor determining healthy moods and behavior, and virtually all young men who commit violent acts (including the vast majority of those imprisoned in the U.S. today) suffer from wild nutritional deficiencies.

Robert Hawkins could have been a healthy, stable and normal kid with the help of some real food, real nutrition and real love from a supporting family. Instead, he lived on junk food, worked at McDonald’s and took medication pills as directed by his psychiatric doctor. The results speak for themselves: This recipe of processed food and mind-altering drugs created a monster, and yesterday in Omaha, that monster exploded in a rage of violence.

If we don’t learn from all this and stop drugging our nation’s children, then those innocents in Omaha will have died in vain. And I ask the question: How many more innocent Americans must pay the price for medication-induced violence?

Ask yourself one question: Why does the FDA continue to allow these dangerous drugs to be prescribed to children and teens when 1) They have never been tested on children or teens, and 2) Other countries have already banned the prescribing of these drugs to children and teens?

Story Notes: The Associated Press originally reported Hawkins’ age as 20 years old, but corrected it to 19 years old following a correction by local police. Hawkins was not reported to have been taking medications at the precise time of the shooting, but his caretaker, Debora Maruca-Kovac, said that "he had been treated in the past for depression and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder." We do not know exactly which drugs Hawkins had been treated with in the past, and we hope the names of those drugs will surface in future reports on this tragedy.

NewsTarget deeply regrets the loss of life witnessed in this event, and we commit to doing our part to end these medication-induced crimes that continue to be perpetrated by Big Pharma and modern psychiatry. You have permission to forward or reprint this article, with appropriate credit and a link back to this URL.



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