A 19-year-old man has shot dead at least eight people and wounded five others before turning the gun on himself after he opened fire in a busy US shopping centre. Police in the Midwestern city of Omaha, Nebraska have identified the gunman as a local, Robert Hawkins. Witnesses say Hawkins went on the rampage with an assault rifle, shooting indiscriminately.
Survivors fled when they heard the gun-fire, hiding under racks of clothes or in public toilets. Some of the victims, five females and three males, had been queuing to get Christmas presents wrapped when they were shot at point-blank range.
It is not known if any were children. Hawkins, who is described as suffering from depression, is reported to have left a suicide note.
This the latest in a number of mass shootings in the US where gun ownership is widespread and the right to bear arms is a hotly contested constitutional issue. President George W. Bush had earlier been visiting Omaha but had left before the incident.
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