Thursday, December 27, 2007

Omaha State official: Shooter Placed in Mental Health Facility 5 Years Ago

LINCOLN, Nebraska (CNN) -- The troubled teen who killed eight people and himself at an Omaha, Nebraska, mall was placed in a mental health treatment center five years ago after making homicidal threats toward his stepmother, a state official said Thursday.

Todd Landry, director of the Nebraska Division of Family and Children's Services, described for reporters the laundry list of residential treatment centers and group and foster homes where Robert Hawkins spent much of his teen years, because of his behavioral and psychiatric problems.

At one point during that period Hawkins also filed a report with police alleging he was molested by a roommate at one of the facilities. The case was resolved internally, according to the report.

Asked about the allegation, Landry responded, "I can't confirm or deny that that may have happened."

Hawkins was sent to Piney Ridge Center in Waynesville, Missouri, on May 18, 2002 -- a day after his 14th birthday. The center specializes in mental health and substance abuse services, according to its Web site.

Landry, reading from a juvenile court petition filed by Sarpy County, Nebraska, said Hawkins was placed at the center because of "homicidal threats to his stepmother."

"He also had two psychiatric hospitalizations, and has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, mood disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and parent-child relationship problems," Landry said.

He offered no details about the problems with the stepmother.

When the teen went to live with friends of the family one and a half years ago, "issues with the stepmother" were the reason, said Debora Maruca-Kovac, into whose house he moved.

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