Investigation continues following Omaha mall shooting

by Leanne Gregg
NBC News

The death toll stands at nine after Wednesday's shooting spree at a Nebraska mall.

Five others were wounded, some critically.

Gunman Robert Hawkins had reportedly had been fired from his job at a fast food restaurant and his girlfriend had broken up with him in the weeks before the killing spree.

A suicide note was found, but authorities still aren't clear why he went to the mall and randomly killed eight people before taking his own life.

Investigators searched the home where Hawkins had been living for clues.

"We have confiscated the notes. They do provide us with some indication that this incident was premeditated," said Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren.

Nebraska's governor joined the Omaha Mayor to offer support to the grieving community.

"These were innocent people going about their daily lives, performing their jobs and shopping for the holidays," said Mayor Mike Fahey.

On Wednesday when the shooting started on an upstairs balcony terrified customers and employees below scrambled for safety.

"We were both terrified, we didn't know what was going on," said shopper Chuck Wright.

Some huddled in corners and in storerooms.

"There was audible gasping and crying when people saw the ones that we worked with laying there," said one employee.

One of the victims was Jeff Schaffart.

With bullets flying he took cover in a bathroom.

"If it would have been an inch or a half an inch the other way, it could have been in my heart," Schaffart said.