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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Omaha Police Describes Mall Shootings; Interview with Leeland Eisenberg; Woman Cleans Up Toxins
Aired December 5, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Tonight, we begin with bloodshed at the mall and new details that are emerging even as we speak. Tonight , we know a lot more about a suicidal young man who didn't simply end his own life, he took eight others with him.
He went to the one place that nearly every American will visit this holiday season, a place, as you will see tonight, that's nearly impossible to secure, a busy shopping mall, in this case, the Westroads Mall on the west side of Omaha, Nebraska.
Holiday shoppers were going about their business this afternoon when Robert Hawkins pulled out a rifle and the nightmare began. That is his picture. We're waiting for some late word from authorities. They're getting ready to give a press conference. And we will bring it to you live as it happens from outside the mall in Omaha.
But, first, what we know right now from CNN's Suzanne Malveaux.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first shots were fired at about 1:40 local time.
CHARISSA TATOON, WESTROADS MALL EMPLOYEE: I was on the second floor of the Von Maur store in the mall. And I heard three loud pops. And all of us were slightly confused, because we didn't know exactly what it was.
MALVEAUX: It was a gunman armed with a rifle turning people into prey at the Westroads Mall. Initially, some shoppers had no idea a killer was on a rampage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were in the center part of the wall -- mall, and with all the construction going off, it sounded like nail guns and whatnot going off. But then people just started running frantically, saying, there has been a shooting in there. And I gathered my wife and kids and got out of there as soon as possible.
MALVEAUX: They made it out. Others did not.
TATOON: There was a gentleman coming down the escalator that was very near the shoe department. And he was heard saying that he was calling 911. And, immediately after that, the shooter shot down from the third floor and shot him on the second floor.
MALVEAUX: Most of the victims were in the Von Maur department store.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I went around and I looked back and then I saw the guy in the children's department, big tall guy, real tall. And he just stood there with his arm like this, his hand straight up in the air and shooting.
MALVEAUX: For those trapped in the mall, the fear of being next was unbearable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just didn't know where he was or who it was. And, so, I stood there for a minute. And, all of a sudden, we all kind of stood in shock and then we heard some more bang, bang, bang. And Susan (ph), who works on the same floor I do, she said she walk over to the center of the atrium and it looked like a customer walked up alongside her. And the shooter reached over the top of the third floor and just shot the man. And she was right there. And as he she looked, he was shot in the head.
MALVEAUX: By the time police confronted the killer, he was already dead, taking his own life with the same weapon he used to shoot others. In the days ahead, we will know more about his motive and identity. One law enforcement source says his name is Robert A. Hawkins. And local affiliates say police told them he was 19 years old and left a suicide note that said: "I'm going out in style."
For now, there are only questions and tears.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never saw so much blood.
MALVEAUX: Anderson, we're expecting a lot more details perhaps within moments, a press conference that's going to get under way from the Omaha police, as well as fire department officials.
There's still a lot of unanswered questions, the potential motive of the shooter, the status of some of those injured victims, where do they stand now, and, of course, a lot of questions about securing this mall, a lot of people inside shopping at that time. We all go shopping during the holiday season.
Is this going to dramatically change in light of this tragedy? Anderson.
COOPER: Suzanne, thanks for the reporting. Again, we're awaiting that press conference. We're told it could take place any moment now. That is the scene where the press conference will take place. We of course will bring that to you live.
There are a lot of unanswered questions. We are going to try to answer some of them for you tonight. We have a number of eyewitnesses to talk to, as well as someone who knew this young man and in fact was his landlord.
Suzanne was in, actually, Omaha, covering President Bush's fund- raiser there this morning. He is back home tonight. The White House released a statement calling Mr. Bush deeply saddened by the shooting.
Now, I want to show you some video now that was taken by one of our I-reporter contributors. These are the first images from inside the mall immediately after the shooting. You can see the SWAT team deployed, people evacuating.
With us now on the phone, the woman who captured the video, one of our I-reporters. She just doesn't want her name mentioned. We're respecting that. Also joining us tonight, Jennifer Kramer, another eyewitness.
Appreciate both of you being with us. First to our I-reporter. Tell us about being evacuated. We're seeing this video of you going down an escalator. What did the police tell you? What were you thinking?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We actually weren't told anything. We just were evacuated. We were told to just follow orders, don't talk, and just be quiet.
COOPER: Now, what...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was actually really scary.
COOPER: We just saw some of the -- how did you first find out that something was wrong inside the mall?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When people started running down the hallway yelling "shooter," and stores -- were just closing down the store. We thought it was just a joke.
COOPER: You work in the mall. You work in a store. So, you thought it was a joke. And, so, they immediately locked up the store?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the stores were actually locked up.
COOPER: And, Jennifer, you and your mom arrived at the mall about 10 minutes before the shooting began. What did you see? Tell us what happened. What did you hear?
JENNIFER KRAMER, WITNESS TO MALL SHOOTING: Well, we were just going up the escalator to the second floor. And we were just coming off the escalator when I heard two large bangs.
They sounded -- I mean, it like a cannon. I kind of thought...
COOPER: What floor were you on?
KRAMER: ... maybe it's construction. We were on the second floor.
KRAMER: And he was apparently shooting from the third. And the escalators run up a central atrium. So, we had just stepped off and I heard the first couple of shots. And then I heard a couple more. And I looked at my mom and I said, we need to get out of here. And she said -- I said, those are gunshots. She said, clearly, they can't be gunshots.
And she kind of turned to walk back towards the atrium area. And I grabbed her arm. And that's when he really started firing. I didn't see him firing. Like I said, we had just gone off the escalator. So, if he was on the third floor near the escalators, he would have been behind us. But I just grabbed my mom and we ran to the back of the men's department and hid behind -- hid in some pants racks.
COOPER: And about how many shots, Jennifer, did you hear?
KRAMER: You know, I would say at least 25, maybe more. He just kept firing. And they were quick fires. So, I mean, I would say at least 25 or 30.
COOPER: And, to our I-reporter, could you hear the shots when you were inside the store?
To our I-reporter, could you hear the shots when you were inside the store?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we couldn't.
COOPER: You couldn't hear anything. OK.
Jennifer, now, you didn't see the shooter. You just heard the shots. Did you see anyone injured?
KRAMER: When the police came to get us out, they were directing us out. And, as we were being directed to the escalator to go downstairs, there was a gentleman who was obviously injured on the floor in front of the escalator right where we had come off when the shots started.
COOPER: So, I mean, during all this, you're hiding, basically, with your mom behind a clothes rack. What's going through your mind?
KRAMER: Honestly, I just -- I couldn't believe this was happening. I couldn't believe those were gunshots. But there was nothing else to explain it. And I just kept telling her to be quiet. She whispered to me, what do we do? I said, mom, just be quiet and pray. I said -- I called 911 on my cell phone and was whispering. I just -- I -- when the gunshots stopped -- when the gunshots stopped, I didn't know if he had killed himself or if he was just wandering around. So, I just was trying to be quiet.
COOPER: Did 911 know about the shooting at the time you called them?
KRAMER: They had said that they had received calls that shots were fired, and that police and fire were on the way. But it seemed like a long time before they came in.
COOPER: You know, obviously, Jennifer, you have probably seen stuff like this on television. How is it different when you're actually there? I mean, it's kind of a stupid question, but what goes through -- you know, what is different about it when you're actually experiencing it?
KRAMER: It was completely surreal. I just kept thinking, there's no way those can be gunshots. But I knew in my heart they were. It was just so loud. And then it was silence. And I was listening for anybody calling out for help. And there wasn't. There was nobody around us. I think all the other people on our floor had gone into dressing rooms.
And, so, my mom and I were just out there in the clothing racks. And I just kept listening. And it was just disbelief. I couldn't believe this was going on. And I was scared to death that, you know, he would be walking around, looking for someone else.
COOPER: Yes. Well, I'm so glad that you and your mom and everyone else who was able to get out did. Jennifer, appreciate you being on the program. And, to our I-reporter as well, thank you for your images.
Sadly, this is at least the fourth mall shooting in America this year. Here's the "Raw Data" on it. Back in February, a gunman shot five people to death at a mall in Salt Lake City, before he was killed. In April, a man gunned down two people in the parking lot of a shopping center in Kansas City, Missouri. He was then shot to death. Last month, a security guard and a robbery suspect were injured during an attempted armored car heist at a mall near Atlanta.
Up next tonight, only on 360: the woman who found Robert Hawkins' chilling suicide note and knew him well. Also, we will talk about who's keeping you safe at the mall, and if that's even possible. We're digging deeper into what made this latest killer tick and how it fits or does not fit the profile.
And later tonight, a 360 exclusive, a jailhouse interview with Leeland Eisenberg, the man who held campaign workers hostage at one of Hillary Clinton's offices in New Hampshire. Why did he really do it? Stay tuned. for that. You will hear from himself.
And up close, a scandal out of Mike Huckabee's past coming back to haunt his campaign today. Did he push for the parole of a rapist who later raped and killed again? All ahead, tonight on 360.
COOPER: That was the scene today at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska, after a young man, Robert Hawkins, opened fire, killing eight people, wounding five others, before turning the rifle on himself.
Digging deeper now into the security of malls and the psychology of spree killers. With me now to talk about that, CNN security analyst Mike Brooks. And here to help get inside the mind, as much as we can, of this killer and others, forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie.
Kris, one law enforcement source told CNN that he was about 19 years old, that a suicide note was found saying something about wanting to go out in style, and not wanting to be a burden to his family anymore, and that he loved them all.
What drives -- I mean, what do you -- how do you explain this?
KRIS MOHANDIE, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: What we're hearing here is a massive amount of depression in this young man, coupled with a need to be remembered, a sense of desperation, and probably a hunger for power and control.
It sounds pretty typical, actually. Most of these mass murderers will end their lives at the conclusion of the incident.
COOPER: His landlord tells us that he had recently broken up with his girlfriend, recently lost his job...
COOPER: ... at a nearby McDonald's. She said that he wasn't on antidepressants, but that he had, in the past, been treated for ADD and depression.
MOHANDIE: Right. So, ADD represents impulsivity and probably some compromised problem-solving skills, depression, hopelessness, tunnel vision, the inability to see options for resolving a problem. And then you throw on top of that chronic anger, the sense that he has been mistreated in life, that stuff will probably come out, and then, in addition, these precipitating events.
Most of the mass murderers in a study that we have done in the past of these kinds of people, both adolescents and adults -- and he's right in the middle, do in fact have a precipitating event, usually the loss of a job. But the number-two one on the list is a love- related kind of issue.
COOPER: So, he had both of those.
Mike, this mall in Omaha reportedly gets about 14 million visitors every year. How do you secure something like that? I mean, that's -- is that even possible?
MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: It's very difficult to totally make a mall secure, Aaron -- I mean, Anderson.
But what they're trying to do right now, I know that this mall has had some security officers who have been through a training program that just rolled out this past April. It was a joint collaboration between the International Council of Shopping Centers and the George Washington Homeland Security Policy Institute. In fact, I was part of that group. It was an awareness program on chemical, biological, radiological, bombs and explosives, incidents such as this. In fact, some malls are even now having police substations inside of their malls. But to make it absolutely, totally safe, it's almost impossible, unless you want to make it into an armed camp.
COOPER: Kris, I understand the depression from a breakup and from, you know, your -- losing your job. I don't understand, health care the -- the wanting to kill other people.
I mean, it's one thing to kill yourself, if you're suffering from depression, but why -- why go to a mall? You know, it's not like going to a school where you have been teased by people, which doesn't make sense...
COOPER: ... but, you know, under some twisted logic perhaps does. But to go to a mall, where it's just complete strangers, what is that about?
MOHANDIE: Well, that is about a lot of anger. This is a guy that probably has a lot of chronic unresolved anger, the sense that society has probably treated him poorly, has denied him options. And the mall represents an easy-to-access public setting that's going to guarantee him visibility. Without a doubt, he's likely seen the other incidents that have occurred. And we do know that these folks tend to be stimulated by other events.
And, thus, it was conveyed that, number one, it could be a good target, because of accessibility issues, and, number two, it would guarantee him the notoriety that he was not able to achieve in his life.
MOHANDIE: So, they're...
COOPER: And, Kris, you say this is a time for vigilance, because, what, people see this and want to -- and other deranged people repeat it?
MOHANDIE: Correct. We do know that the copycat issue follows these kinds of events. Usually, the two-week to one-month window after an event is a particularly acute interval that we have to be vigilant in. Other like-minded individuals...
MOHANDIE: ... may see that as a sign that now is the time.
MOHANDIE: And we really need to be monitoring other folks who will start to convey that they identify with him, that they can understand what drove him to that. There's a lot going on with people that do these kinds of things...
MOHANDIE: ... beyond depression.
COOPER: Mike, very briefly, they found a grenade in the parking lot outside of this mall, I think it was -- it was on Friday.
COOPER: Will they have a hard time checking that to see if it has any linkage to this young man?
BROOKS: Well, now that they have a man, they can have -- check it for fingerprints, these kind of things. In fact, when they did find his car today, they used a robot from the Omaha Police Bomb Unit to approach that car, because they saw some clothing with some wires underneath. But they found no explosives in that vehicle.
But, right now, that whole mall is a crime scene. And they're putting together all the pieces of this puzzle to come up with and find out exactly what was the motive behind this shooting.
COOPER: It's good to have experts like you in a case like this. Mike Brooks, thank you. And, Kris Mohandie, good to talk to you again. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances.
MOHANDIE: Thank you.
COOPER: We have just received word that they have now released three patients from the medical center there in Omaha. Five people had been injured in this incident. So three people now have been released. That's certainly good news for their families involved in that.
And we're still awaiting this press conference, which should take place any moment now. That is the scene right now outside the mall where the shootings, the murders, took place earlier today. We're anticipating representatives from the Omaha Police Department, as well Omaha Fire Department, to talk. We will bring that to you live in just a few moments, whenever it does happen.
We will also have tonight bad weather pounding the western states. That and other stories, Erica Hill has in a 360 bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, rescue operations continue in the Pacific Northwest in the wake of back-to- back storms that killed at least three people. Helicopters have evacuated at least 300 people stranded in Washington State. The governor calls it the state's largest search-and-rescue operation in a decade. We're also told thousands in both Washington and Oregon are still without power and the damage could total in the billions. The teen suspect accused of firing the shot that killed NFL star Sean Taylor last week will be held without bond and charged as an adult. Seventeen-year-old Eric Rivera Jr. appeared before a Miami judge this morning, just one day after a grand jury indicted him as an adult on those charges of first-degree felony murder and burglary. Three other suspects who face the same charges also made court appearances.
And a British man who suddenly reappeared this weekend five years after he was thought to have drowned has now been arrested on suspicion of fraud. We told you about John Darwin last night. He apparently walked into a police station and told police that he was suffering from amnesia. Investigators, though, suspect he may have actually faked his own disappearance.
His wife, who recently moved to Panama, claimed her husband's life insurance benefits after a coroner officially declared him dead in 2002. Well, today, police were appealing for public help in determining where Darwin actually spent the last five years.
A little fishy here today.
COOPER: Yes, it sounded fishy yesterday. I mean, there's -- we're going to hear a lot more about that, no doubt. Stay right there, Erica. Just ahead, "What Were They Thinking?" or, rather, what was she thinking? One of the newest members of "The View" raising some eyebrows and catching some flak. Wait until you hear what she said now.
Plus, the convicted rapist and murderer who is creating havoc in Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign, is it a smear job, or did the former governor really push to set the felon free? That's next on 360.
COOPER: Erica, time now for "What Were They Thinking?" Now, we love "The View" here at 360. We all know that, all the ladies. But the newest member of the bunch today had us asking again, what were they thinking?
That's right. Sherri Shepherd revealed this week a rather unique understanding of world history. Yesterday, in a discussion about Greek philosophy, she insisted that Christianity came before ancient Greece and Rome, and also predated Judaism. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Keep in mind that probably, when he was around, there was no Jesus Christ stuff going on.
SHERRI SHEPHERD, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": No, no, they still had Christians back then. (CROSSTALK)
SHEPHERD: They had Christians, because they threw them to the lions.
GOLDBERG: I think this might predate that. I think this might predate that.
SHEPHERD: I don't think anything predated Christians.
JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": The Greeks came first. The Greeks were first, then the Romans, then the Christians.
SHEPHERD: Jesus came first before them.
GOLDBERG: Not on paper.
GOLDBERG: Not on paper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Huh. Yes. Not only do I wonder what she's thinking. I wonder what her fellow co-hosts are thinking as well.
HILL: Maybe they are thinking, all that history I learned so for many years, wrong.
HILL: Apparently wrong. You know, I don't want to pile on Sherri Shepherd, but...
COOPER: No. No, we're not piling. We love Sherri Shepherd.
HILL: We do love Sherri Shepherd. But I don't think it's the first time that her knowledge of the world has left people scratching their heads. Do you remember, in September, I think it was, on "The View," after she said she didn't believe in evolution, Whoopi Goldberg asked her, kind of jokingly, if she also believed the Earth was flat. Here's what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOLDBERG: Is the world flat?
SHEPHERD: Is the world flat?
SHEPHERD: I don't know.
GOLDBERG: What do you think?
SHEPHERD: I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it.
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": You've never thought about whether the world was round or flat?
SHEPHERD: But I tell you what I've thought about. How I'm going to feed my child.
WALTERS: Well, you can do both.
SHEPHERD: How I'm going to take care of my family. The world -- is the world flat has never entered into -- like, that has not been an important thing to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Well, the following day, Shepherd said she had just been flustered by the question and she did indeed know the Earth was round, Anderson.
COOPER: You know, when you have to put a clarification out like that a day later -- yes.
HILL: It's kind of rough; 360...
COOPER: Yes, it is kind of rough.
HILL: .. that's a full circle, by the way, just like the Earth.
COOPER: You're good, Erica Hill. You're very good.
COOPER: She sure is. We're still waiting for a news conference in Omaha, where we expect to learn new details of the shooting in a mall that killed eight people, plus the gunman. Also, one-on-one tonight with the man who held five people hostage inside a Hillary Clinton campaign office in New Hampshire. That's right, that man, Leeland Eisenberg, speaking only on 360, coming up.
Plus, a museum you probably haven't heard of, even though you are paying for it. That's right, some more secret earmarks. How did lawmakers get away with this one? We're "Keeping Them Honest" when 360 continues.
COOPER: Again, we are waiting to hear from authorities in Omaha, Nebraska, regarding the shooting today, nine people dead in all, eight people, Christmas shoppers, in that mall and the gunman himself, a 19- year-old young man by the name of Robert A. Hawkins. Joining me now on the phone, the woman who discovered Robert Hawkins' suicide note, his landlord, Debora Maruca Kovac.
Debora, Hawkins moved into your house after being kicked out by his family.
DEBORA MARUCA KOVAC, LANDLORD OF ROBERT HAWKINS: Yes.
COOPER: What was he like when he first came?
KOVAC: Well, he was withdrawn, you know, just real withdrawn.
COOPER: I have heard you have described him as a lost puppy.
KOVAC: Yes. He was like a lost pound puppy that nobody wanted.
COOPER: And did he change -- how long was he living with you?
KOVAC: Almost a year-and-a-half.
COOPER: And did he change over that time?
KOVAC: Well, he had gotten better, yes. When he first came and lived with us, he was in the fetal position and chewed his fingernails all the time and was unemployed and hopeless. After a while, he got a job and came out of that.
COOPER: Debora, I'm going to have to put you on hold. We're getting a press conference right now from the mall.
Let's listen in.
CHIEF THOMAS WARREN, OMAHA POLICE DEPT.: ... I would first like to express my sincere condolences to the families of the deceased. Joining me this evening, we have representatives from City Council, President Dan Welch, Deputy Chief Eric Buske, Public Information Officer Teresa Negron, Captain Mary Neuman (ph), representatives from the mayor's office, Chief of Staff Paul Landow, and his spokesperson, Jill Gutenrap (ph). I would like to provide you with an official account of the mass casualty shooting incident that occurred this afternoon, Wednesday, December 5, 2007. At about 13:42 hours, the Omaha Police Department received a 9/11 emergency call for service of a shooting incident at the Westroads Mall in the Von Maur store.
Multiple officers were dispatched and began arriving at approximately 13:48 hours, including deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office; 911 started receiving multiple calls for service, providing updated information, including the fact that numerous shots had been fired from within the store.
Also, suspect information was provided, describing a man with a rifle on this third floor of the Von Maur store. Upon arrival, officers secured the perimeter and proceeded to enter the main level of the mall. The mall was locked down and officers began a methodical clearing of the hallways.
Officers began searching the Von Maur store when they encountered the first victim on the second floor. Ultimately, officers located several additional victims near the customer service area on the third level.
Also, the suspect was located and the weapon, an SKS assault rifle, was discovered. The suspect has been positively identified at Robert Hawkins, white male, 19 years of age. We have a date of birth of May 18, 1987, who resides in Bellevue, Nebraska.
Apparently, a suicide note had been written earlier and provided to the Sarpy County authorities. At this point, we do have nine confirmed deceased, including the suspect. There are an additional five individuals who are hospitalized, two in critical condition.
We are in the very preliminary stages of this investigation. And our immediate attention will be devoted to processing the crime scene. We will also be in the process of establishing positive identifying of the victims and notifying their next of kin. And I will entertain any questions that you may have. OK.
QUESTION: Obviously (OFF-MIKE) contacting all the relatives (OFF-MIKE). Does there seem to be a profile of the victims?
WARREN: I just have very brief, general information on the victims. We do have five females, three males, including one additional male being the suspect. There may be a combination of store employees, as well as customers. We have yet to confirm that, based on the positive identification of the victims.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) any specific gender or age group or anything?
WARREN: It appears to be very random and without provocation. QUESTION: You said earlier -- you said earlier that you believe the shooter was acting alone. Was that additional suspect, was he believed to be a shooter, as well?
WARREN: We have not been able to establish the fact if there was any additional parties involved in this incident. We believe there was one shooter, one shooter only.
We have recovered the suspect's vehicle. When officers began arriving, we did receive some conflicting information regarding suspect identification, suspect description. There may have been other individuals detained; however, we have determined there was only one individual involved in this incident.
QUESTION: Are you considering changing security methods at the mall at all?
WARREN: We would have to leave that information to the management of the Westroads Mall. That has yet to be determined.
QUESTION: Do you have any idea how long he was in the mall before he started to shoot?
WARREN: It appeared that this incident, the duration of the entire incident lasted a very few minutes. It appears that the shooting had concluded by the time the officers arrived on the scene.
QUESTION: Was the shooting captured on video? Video surveillance capture any of the shooting?
WARREN: There may be video surveillance available. However, we're still in the process of capturing that evidence.
QUESTION: What did the gunman say or do?
WARREN: We don't have that information. Obviously, we're in the process of interviewing numerous witnesses, as well as the victims of this incident.
QUESTION: Do you know how the shooter made it into the store with the gun undetected?
WARREN: Pardon me?
QUESTION: Do you know how the shooter made it into the store with the gun undetected?
WARREN: No, I'm not able to speculate at this point. We do feel that there was a suicide note. I'm not at liberty to discuss the contents of that note. It appears that this incident was premeditated. I don't feel that it would be appropriate at this point to discuss any details. Certainly, we have to respect the deceased and the families of the deceased.
It would be speculation to try to figure out what the motive may have been. Certainly, whenever you have an incident of this nature, it may be impossible to come up with an explanation.
QUESTION: Were the magazines of the gun taped together?
WARREN: I'm not at liberty to discuss the specific details of physical evidence of the incident.
QUESTION: Do we have family members over there who are still waiting to find out if their loved one is someone you're still interviewing or someone who's deceased? (OFF-MIKE)
WARREN: We have secured the Helping Hand (ph) as a command post. We have provided information to individuals who feel that a loved one may have been involved in this incident. We have had numerous individuals inside the mall. We will go through a very delicate process of identifying victims, and we will do it with the proper sensitivity.
Of course, if information has been provided for anyone who may be concerned that a loved one may have been involved, there was a phone number provided. And certainly, we appreciate the media's interest in providing that information.
QUESTION: Chief, apart from leaving a note, did he let anyone else know that he was going to do that?
WARREN: Again, I can't speculate on motivation or who he may have contacted. As I stated, we do have a note. I can't describe the contents of that note, but it appears that this incident was premeditated.
QUESTION: Any of the victims children? Were any of the victims children? Young people?
WARREN: I can't discuss that or confirm that at this point.
QUESTION: What did the bomb squad do with his car?
WARREN: We'll be here throughout the night. It's a very extensive crime scene. Certainly, we will take all the time necessary to collect all the physical evidence that may be available. We'll be spending a considerable amount of time interviewing witnesses.
We will be cooperating with the Sarpy County authorities. Obviously, we have a potential scene in Sarpy County, as well. And this was a multi-jurisdictional response. I'd certainly like to extend my appreciation to the other agencies who responded to this call for service, in addition to those who have reached out to assist us in this investigation.
WARREN: It appears that the incident was contained to the Von Maur store.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) suspect (OFF-MIKE) car? WARREN: This was a question with respect to the vehicle. We did secure that vehicle, I believe. The rear window was removed as a precaution. Certainly, we're concerned about our officer's safety, as well, and that vehicle will be impounded. And we will search that vehicle and process that as part of the crime scene.
A couple more questions, please.
QUESTION: Are people still being detained inside the mall and interviewed or are you getting names and phone numbers and following up with them later?
WARREN: Probably both, in fact. No one is being detained against their will. Obviously, we are encouraging cooperation. Individuals are obviously very traumatized as a result of this incident. What many of them may have witnessed.
COOPER: You're listening to a press conference taking place outside the mall in Omaha, Nebraska, where a shooting has taken place earlier today. That's Police Chief Thomas Warren giving some information. Nothing really new. He said there was an SKS assault rifle used in this. Five people were injured. We know that eight victims in this crime, and the shooter, as well, took his own life.
On the phone with us now is Debora Maruca Kovac, who's actually the landlord of this young man, Robert A. Hawkins, the shooter, the man who took this SKS assault rifle into the mall today and killed eight people.
Deborah, are you still with us?
COOPER: You actually found the suicide note. How did you find that? How did you know about it?
KOVAC: Well, he called on the phone at 1 p.m. I had saw him at 11 a.m., he left the house.
COOPER: How did he seem to you when he left the house?
KOVAC: Well, he was quiet. You know, no more than usual. I thought he was going to pick up his glasses. Then he called us at 1 p.m., and he was clearly upset. And my son was talking to him, trying to, you know, say, come home, what's going on?
He gave the phone to me. And I tried to find out what his problem was. And he just said that he wanted to thank me for everything I had done for him and this and that and that he was sorry.
And I was like, what's going on, Robbie? Did you get fired? And he said he'd just gotten fired. And I said, well, come home, we'll talk about it. And he said, it's too late. And he hung up the phone. And he said he had left a note to explain everything, and he hung up the phone.
I found the note, and I called his mother, concerned about the contents of the note. And his mother came over and took it to the police.
COOPER: And do you know what it was that he said in that note?
KOVAC: Did I what?
COOPER: Did you read the note? Do you know?
KOVAC: Yes, I did.
COOPER: What was it he said?
KOVAC: He just said how he was sorry for everything, that he didn't want to be a burden any longer to anybody, that he loved his family, and he loved all of his friends. And he was a piece of shit all of his life, and now he'll be famous.
COOPER: He said: "Now I'll be famous"?
COOPER: Were those the exact words he used?
COOPER: Do you know who the note was addressed to?
KOVAC: One page said "family." The other page said "friends." And then the third page said "my will."
COOPER: What -- did you know that he had an assault rifle?
COOPER: And you said that -- how long -- I'm sorry, how long had he lived at your house?
KOVAC: Almost a year-and-a-half.
COOPER: It was nice of you to take him in. He'd been kicked out by his family. What did you see in him that made you want to take him in?
KOVAC: He reminded me of a lost puppy that nobody wanted.
COOPER: And you said he...
KOVAC: And he actually -- he behaved better than my own two boys, so it was like how could I toss him out?
COOPER: He behaved well? He was very well-behaved?
KOVAC: Well, I mean, he had a lot of emotional problems. Obviously.
COOPER: But you felt he was getting better?
KOVAC: Yes, I did. He was.
COOPER: In what way did you see that?
KOVAC: Well, when he first came to live with us, he was deficient all the time, chewing his fingernails and looked scared. Through the months, you know, he got a job, got a hair cut, got cleaned up, got his driver's license, had a girlfriend. We thought things were going a lot better for him.
COOPER: And then he broke up with the girlfriend. Do you know how long ago that was?
KOVAC: Within the last two weeks.
COOPER: And did -- he took that pretty hard?
COOPER: Do you know why it was that he left his home originally?
KOVAC: No, I don't know all the details. He said there was some issues with his stepmother and him, and he just said he had to get out. I don't know if he was kicked out or if he left on his own.
COOPER: How are you doing tonight? I mean, how are your kids?
KOVAC: My kids are devastated. We're all in shock.
COOPER: Does it seem real?
COOPER: And what about -- have police come to his room? What about all the stuff in his room?
KOVAC: Well, that's what we're waiting on there. They're here. They had to -- the FBI is here now. We haven't been allowed into the house until they get here to do a crime scene investigation.
COOPER: So they're there now?
COOPER: Did you ever see any weapons in his room?
COOPER: Did he -- did you know that he was able to use a rifle? I mean, did he like to go hunting at all? Did he go shooting at all?
KOVAC: Well, I found out that he knew a lot about guns. His stepfather knew a lot about guns. And so he knew quite a bit about them.
COOPER: And had you ever been to that mall with him before?
KOVAC: No. As far as I know he never went out there.
COOPER: You said he left about 11 a.m. today.
KOVAC: Well, yes, he left around 11.
COOPER: Around 11? And called you at 1. Do you know what he was doing between 11 and 1?
KOVAC: No, just out driving around, I guess. I don't know. I don't know if he had a complication with somebody in between that time. I don't really know where he was.
COOPER: And when he called you today, you said he sounded upset. Did it sound like -- in what way could you tell he was upset?
KOVAC: Just the say he was talking and to say he was sorry for everything, how much he appreciated everybody and that he didn't -- wasn't going to be a burden any longer.
COOPER: Do you know where he was calling from? You said he called you around 1. Do you know where he was calling from?
KOVAC: He called on my son's cell phone. It was a restricted number, so he couldn't call back.
COOPER: Did he have a cell phone of his own?
COOPER: So he would have been calling from either a public phone or something in a business?
COOPER: I'm asking this, because the shooting happened around 1 p.m. I'm just wondering if he called you from the mall.
KOVAC: I don't know. I have no -- I mean, I didn't hear anything in the background. It was kind of -- it was almost like he was on his cell phone, because it was breaking up.
So I have to go now.
KOVAC: They're going to go in and search the house.
COOPER: Debora Kovac -- Debora Maruca Kovac, a landlord of Robert Hawkins. I appreciate you talking to us, Debora. I know it's a difficult day for you and your family. I hope you get on OK.
Still ahead tonight on 360, one-on-one with a man who held five people hostage inside a Hillary Clinton campaign office in New Hampshire. The 360 exclusive interview coming up.
COOPER: Now a terrifying story that ended much better than the one today in Omaha. A peaceful end to a hostage ordeal. This was the scene last Friday. We know that man now, Leeland Eisenberg. He walked into a Hillary Clinton campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire, with what he said was a bomb strapped to his chest.
The question, of course, now has been why. Tonight, he'll tell you himself. It's a jailhouse interview that ended just a short time ago. Eisenberg gives us a rare look at a very troubled man who terrorized a town for hours. CNN's Jason Carroll met face to face with Eisenberg. He joins us now live.
Jason, what have you learned?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was an incredible conversation, Anderson. Leeland Eisenberg has a criminal record going back to 1978, including a conviction for sexual assault.
He says he suffers from bipolar disorder and did what he did to draw attention to the issues of people who suffer from mental illness and because, Anderson, he said he wanted to die.
LEELAND EISENBERG, HELD HOSTAGES AT CLINTON CAMPAIGN OFFICE: I wanted to sacrifice myself for the sake of mental illness and the discussion in this country of mental illness. Had I walked into a Dunkin' Donuts, it wouldn't have gotten the kind of national discussion and press that it deserves.
CARROLL: Take me through the process of what you did.
EISENBERG: It all took about an hour to prepare for it. It honestly did. I took a cab. I went and got the flares, the duct tape, the electrical tape. I took some wire. I made it look like a bomb. I strapped it to my waist, whatever you want to call it.
I put a sweater on, and someone asked me if they could help me. And I lifted up my shirt and said, yes, you can get off that phone. Everybody in the back room get down and lay on the floor. I kept repeating that, look, I swear on my mother's grave I'm not here to hurt you.
I think I told one of them to call Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters. I wanted to talk to Hillary Clinton. I kept getting the runaround. And at that point, I think the Secret Service or somebody was diverting calls. That made me frustrated.
Then I think I tried to call CNN. In fact, I think I actually talked to Wolf Blitzer, and I got someone else on the phone. And that made me mad. I tried calming the kids down.
CARROLL: Was it your conscience that was getting to you, and that was the reason why you were letting the hostages go?
EISENBERG: I just couldn't see them suffering the way they were. It pained me to see that what I was doing was affecting them to the degree it was. They were young kids.
CARROLL: But you must have known that that was going to happen.
EISENBERG: You don't think that way when you're doing something like that. You're not thinking like that. You know what I mean? My whole thing is I wanted the police to kill me.
CARROLL: I also want to make sure that we talk about what happened when you walked outside. Again, you thought at this point it was going to be suicide by cop, that it was over?
EISENBERG: That's what I wanted. I was convinced of it. I can see him right in the window where he was in camouflage, and he had the rifle pointed right at me. It was a sniper rifle.
And as soon as the last hostage made it clear of the door and I came through the door, I thought that was it. I honestly thought that was it. And I stood there. I was, like, dumb struck. I'm like -- I couldn't believe it. I was actually disappointed. And I was stunned, because I thought for sure they would have blown my head off, and that's what I wanted.
CARROLL: I'm told you are on a suicide watch here.
EISENBERG: If that's what you want to call it. Yes.
CARROLL: What would you call it?
EISENBERG: I don't want to -- I don't want to make my situation worse by telling the truth.
CARROLL: At some point don't you have to take responsibility in some ways for your own actions?
EISENBERG: I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm not looking as an excuse, to say because I'm mentally ill this is why I did that, so, oh, don't hurt me, don't punish me. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying this is not about me.
COOPER: Fascinating just to hear him. I mean, what is he like in person? What was it like sitting with him?
CARROLL: You know, it was really incredible, because he appears to be somewhat rational for someone who claims he is suffering from a mental disorder.
But he points out that this oftentimes is exactly how people who are suffering from mental disorders can be. They can be rational one moment and very irrational the next moment. COOPER: Well, I mean, if he's trying to help people with mental disorders, that's not the way to do it, by strapping a fake bomb to your chest, and walk into some store and threatening other people's lives. Jason, fascinating interview.
We're going to take a break now. When we come back, a simply remarkable act of bravery from inside the mall in Omaha. That's next on 360.
COOPER: The story unfolding tonight in Omaha is, without a doubt, a tragedy, but also emerging are moments of people spontaneously helping other people, stepping up, maybe even saving lives. With us now on the phone is Hele Spivack. She joins us.
Hele, you were in the mall with your daughter. Where were you when the shooting began?
HELE SPIVACK, EYEWITNESS: Well, I was actually on the third floor, and my daughter had left to go down to the second floor. And I was completing a purchase, and that's when we heard the first volley of shots.
COOPER: How loud was it? I mean, you were on the third floor. That's where the shooter apparently was.
SPIVACK: Yes. It wasn't as loud at first as it came to be later on. We heard like this volley of -- it was like rap, rap, rap, rap, rap, rap, rap, like maybe eight or 10. And then it stopped, and the salesperson who was helping me who was like fairly pregnant said, I think that's gunfire. And so I said, really? And then we heard it again.
And then she said, get down. And she said, we have to hide. And she probably saved my life at that point. But I was kind of edging towards the area -- that area where the customer service was. And I realized that there was no clear path. So I turned around, and she was kind of in the corner.
And so I said, let's go into the dressing room, and go in and get up on the chair, like on the seat and put your feet up.
COOPER: So no one would see your feet if they came through?
SPIVACK: Right, right. And so I went into the other one. And I carried a camera with me. And I took my camera and put it around my neck. And I was going to -- I thought it maybe would shield me in case he shot me, like you know, in the chest. But also I was hoping that I could eventually use it as a weapon if it came in there, because I was preparing to go after him if it came to that.
And then we heard more shots and there was silence. And then we heard, like, very loud shots. And then I heard nothing else until I heard the yelling. But all during this time, I was texting my daughter, who was down on the second floor in the room with seven other women and a crying child.
And it was -- it was very, very frightening, but at the same time it was amazing how people helped each other and how calm everyone was.
COOPER: Did you hear screaming? Did you hear yelling? Or was it just silence and these shots?
SPIVACK: No, there were very few. Contrary to what's been on, there were very few people, I thought, up on that floor, on the third floor. I mean, when we heard the shots, we didn't see any people anywhere.
And it was only afterwards when I heard the police -- the pregnant woman was still up there. And so I heard the police talking, and so I went out on my own because I didn't want them to shoot us by accident. Although, I have to say that the Omaha police were fabulous. They were very quick on the scene and -- and they did an amazing job.
COOPER: I know it was about six minutes from the time they got there -- or from the time the shooting began, and I know -- I'm sure seeing those police officers was a huge relief.
Hele Spivack, I appreciate you coming in and telling us what you saw and experienced today. A difficult day for many in Omaha, who have been watching this and living through this.
More late details out of Omaha coming up here after a short break on 360. We'll be right back.
COOPER: A day of terror at the mall in Omaha. Robert Hawkins, recently fired from his job at a McDonald's, broken up from a relationship with his girlfriend, saying he wants to go out in style in a suicide note. He went to the mall and opened fire with a rifle. Nine people dead, including himself. Five wounded, a city in shock.
Let's go back to Omaha, where Suzanne Malveaux is covering the story and has all the latest developments -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Well, Anderson, as you saw, we heard from the chief of police, Thomas Warren, giving some of those details about Robert Hawkins, 19 years old from Bellevue, Nebraska.
The fact that he came in here to the mall with an SKS rifle on the third-floor department store, just started opening fire. When it was all said and done, he killed eight people, turned the gun on himself and killed himself.
He injured five. Two are in critical condition still tonight. They have yet to identify the deceased. They are still trying to notify the families. And as for this mall, it is on lockdown tonight. Nobody knows when it is going to open.
And the one question I had for the chief of police, as well as the president of the Von Maur department store, Jim Von Maur. He said that, look, they do not know whether or not security is going to improve. It's a big, big question; it's a tough question.
Tomorrow there's a press conference at 9:30. The mayor, the governor of Nebraska will hope to be able to answer at least some of those concerns, Anderson.
COOPER: Just ahead, more proof of the power of one. How one extraordinary woman transformed a toxic heap into a patch of hope and source of local pride. Her dedication to defending the planet made her a finalist in our "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute." Her story is next.
COOPER: Our "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" is less than 24 hours away now. And our countdown continues. We have one more finalist left to introduce tonight. She was chosen from more than 7,000 online nominations that we received from you, telling us about heroes in 93 countries.
Now she stood out because she has managed to do what sounds impossible, turn a toxic dump into a green haven. Here's how and why she's defending the planet.
IRANIA MARTINEZ GARICA, "DEFENDING THE PLANET": Mi nombre es Irania Martinez Garcia.
(through translator): I had what is a very unpleasant and painful experience to any mother. To see her daughter sick with a disease to which there are very few chances of recovery.
The dump here was the largest one in the province. I had the task to take care of eliminating that dump from the community. I used to say the dump site is a monster which itself is not to blame for existing. It is a product of man's activity. And since it is a product of our making and we are to blame for it, well, then, that place simply needed to be filled with love.
Not everything that we throw away is waste. I would say everything we dispose of has a reusable value. We have demonstrated that the dump's waste is a fountain and a way to benefit the community and the environment.
Today the community of Izleta (ph), which at first was harmed by this environmental incident, has been able to solve the problem.
Today I fight for the health that I couldn't give to my daughter. But I also fight so that other kids can live in a healthy environment.
COOPER: Our "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" is tomorrow night, 9:00 Eastern. For our INTERNATIONAL viewers, "CNN TODAY" is coming up next. Here in America, "LARRY KING" is coming up. I'll see you tomorrow night.
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