Omaha changed forever at 1:43, December 5, 2007. One year ago today, Robert Hawkins entered the Von Maur Department Store at Westroads Mall in Omaha. A few seconds later, he pulled out a high powered rifle and started shooting. In the end, eight people were killed and many injured. The owner of Von Maur Department Stores, Jim Von Maur says he was in Wisconsin when he heard what had happened in Omaha.
“We were in business in Milwaukee and we got a phone call that there had been a shooting in our store in Omaha. At the time we didn’t know of the magnitude of it was. So, we immediately hopped on a plane and when we landed we saw it on the news. We saw, heard and read it may be multiple victims. At that point it was devastating and I was completely crushed.”
Since the shooting one year ago, he says things continue to get back to normal. He is thankful that employees rallied behind one another.
“They showed a lot of courage, a lot of determination. I think the source of that courage was for each other. They felt like they had to continue on and support one another and return to the store, not for themselves but for their co-workers.”
Von Maur says the company continues to recover as well.
“Our company is there to provide a happy shopping environment. We are there to bring joy into peoples lives, a happy place to be. Our goal is to return that store to that mentality. We are about getting away from the world and buying something fun or a gift for a loved one and we want to get back to what we do and that is providing an enjoyable shopping environment.”
Today, at 1:30, a memorial/remembrance service will be held on the steps leading into the Von Maur store at Westroads. Von Maur will be there.
“Also remember those that were lost on that day and remember how special they were and what a loss it was and always will be.”