Mall gunman: Personal setbacks, friends' disbelief

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Adam Phillips answers questions at a press conference regarding the 22-year-old gunman who opened fire at an Oregon mall, killing two people before killing himself.

By NBC News staff

The man who shot two people to death and wounded another at an Oregon shopping mall had suffered a series of setbacks in the past year, according to a profile in The Oregonian newspaper.

Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, had lost his driver's license after a couple of speeding tickets, broken up with his girlfriend, been evicted from his apartment, then quit his job and told friends he was going to Hawaii -- only to apparently miss his flight last weekend, the Oregonian said.

Roberts was identified Wednesday as the man who opened fire in the food court of the crowded Clackamas Town Center southeast of Portland. Steven Mathew Forsyth, 45, of West Linn and Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, of Portland were killed. Forsyth owned a business at the mall. Kristina Shevchenko, 15, of Portland, was wounded and was in serious condition Wednesday.

Police said Wednesday that Roberts did not have a criminal history but that he stole the AR-15 rifle that he used in the shooting. Roberts killed himself at the mall.

According to the Oregonian, a friend of Roberts' stepfather said Roberts had planned to enter the Navy after graduating from Oregon City High School in 2008 but was prevented because of an injury.

"After that, everything kind of fell apart for him," Rosalie DeDore told the newspaper.

Oregon mall gunman ID'd; motive unclear

Roberts had worked at a sandwich shop for at least six months but quit in November, telling co-workers that he had inherited money and planned to travel to Hawaii and perhaps move there. An acquaintance told the Oregonian that Roberts was supposed to fly there last Friday or Saturday but missed his flight.

People who knew Roberts said it was hard to believe that he could have been a killer.

"It's a very difficult thing to wrap my head around," Benjamin Eshbach, who said he played chess with Roberts and went out with him, told the newspaper. He said Roberts was fun and light-hearted.

"It's hard to imagine him being any other way. Something doesn't fit."

In recent months, Roberts had moved into the basement of a small home in southeast Portland with two roommates, according to neighbors who told NBC station KGW that he seemed like a nice young man.

On Wednesday, Roberts' aunt provided a hand-written note through a friend to reporters apologizing for her son's behavior. KATU of Portland reported that family friends said Tami Roberts is Roberts' aunt but raised him. She wrote that she had "no understanding or explanation for her son's behavior" and adding she was "very sad and wants everyone to know that she is so sorry what Jake did, it's so out of his character."

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