by Leanne GreggNBC NewsDuring a somber news conference Thursday state and local leaders in Omaha, Nebraska spoke of collective shock and sadness from the violence that unfolded in the Westroads shopping mall on Wednesday.
Robert Hawkins had been fired from his job at a fast food restaurant and his girlfriend had broken up with him.
Two suicide notes were found, but authorities still aren't clear why Hawkins came to the mall and randomly killed eight people before taking his own life.
"We have confiscated the notes. They do provide us with some indication that this incident was premeditated," said Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren.
Investigators are still processing the crime scene, which they call massive.
When the shooting started terrified shoppers and employees scrambled for safety in what was described as a chaotic scene.
The victims were store employees and holiday shoppers ranging in age from 24 to 66 years.