OMAHA, Neb. The mother of the teenage gunman who killed eight people at a busy shopping mall earlier this month apologized Thursday for her son's crime and said she did her best raising him.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry," Maribel Rodriguez told ABC's "Good Morning America" when asked what she would say to the victims' families. "I'm deeply devastated with you."
Her son, Robert Hawkins, 19, fired more than 30 rounds inside a mall department store Dec. 5, striking 11 people. Six died where they fell, one died on the way to a hospital and another died at a hospital. Three other people were wounded, two seriously.
"If you want to hate Robert, then hate Robert. You don't need that pain," Rodriguez said. "You absolutely don't need that type of pain in your heart and mind. Because it destroys your soul."
Hawkins was a troubled teenager who spent four years in a series of treatment centers, group homes and foster care after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002. He had recently broken up with a girlfriend and lost his job at a McDonald's.
"He was without hope. He was without faith. He was without courage," Rodriguez said. "Because you don't do that to other people. You just don't do that to other people."
When asked what people should think of her son, Rodriguez said: "I'm not perfect, I know that. But you tell me: What could I have done differently? I did my best."