Millard Shooting: Police describe events of deadly day; Suspect’s actions called out of character
January 6th, 2011
Omaha, NE – Robert Butler, Jr. was suspended for criminal trespassing just hours before he allegedly shot two school administrators at Millard South High School yesterday, and fired at a third person, injuring a fourth, all using his father’s gun.
Omaha police released more details today about the shooting, which left one person dead, one seriously injured and one mildly injured. At a noon press conference, Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes recounted the day’s events as they unfolded.
Butler, 17, was called out of class to Assistant Principal Dr. Vicky Kaspar’s office shortly after 8 am, Hayes said. There, Dr. Kaspar told him he was suspended and was to be criminally cited for driving his car on the school’s football field on New Year’s Day. At about 9:20, Butler was escorted out of the building by school security, which is standard protocol. Witnesses told police Butler did not seem angry or agitated at all as he left the building.
Butler then headed home where he was greeted by his father, a seven year veteran of the Omaha Police force, Detective Robert Butler, Sr. Butler, Sr. works the night shift, and so was at home when his son arrived. Hayes told reporters Butler, Sr. said his son was disappointed by the suspension, but was not angry or frustrated, and that there was no indication of what he was about to do.
Butler, Sr. then left the house for approximately 40 minutes to run some errands. Around that time, Butler, Jr. logged on to Facebook, where he posted an ominous, expletive-laced message. According to several media reports, the message blamed his school for (messing) him up and warned his friends they would soon hear about the “evil (expletive) I did.” He asked them to remember him as he was before, and said he was sorry for the lives he was about to ruin.
Then, at about 12:45, Butler walked back into his school. School security never stopped him, because the officer who escorted him out of the building earlier in the day was no longer posted there, and another officer was at the desk. Again, witnesses told police Butler did not seem agitated. He even took the time to sign his name at reception to see Dr. Kaspar.
Butler walked into her office. The door was closed, and in about four minutes, a round of gunfire rang out. Dr. Kaspar was mortally wounded, and died a few hours later at Creighton University Medical Center. Butler allegedly shot her with his father’s Glock, a standard police firearm, although Hayes said it was not police-issued.
Butler then walked out of Dr. Kaspar’s office, fired again, this time at Principal Curtis Case, who remains hospitalized with his injuries. A school security officer witnessed Butler exiting the office; Butler turned his weapon on him and he took cover.
On his way out the building, Butler allegedly fired again, this time at a custodian, 50-year-old Kent McCance. He missed McCance, and apparently hit a wall. Some of the debris grazed a fourth victim, 68-year-old Carolyn Fjell, a school nurse, who was later treated and released on site.
While Butler fled, police raced to the scene. They searched his residence, but didn’t find him. About 35 minutes later, police discovered Butler, dead in his vehicle from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Suspect’s actions called out of character
By Angel Martin, KVNO News
Omaha, NE – Wednesday’s shooting seems to have taken many people who knew Robert Butler Jr. by surprise. Little information is known about his motives. But a few details of his life are starting to become clear. The 17-year-old grew up in Lincoln with his mother Julie Beekman and attended Lincoln Public Schools from kindergarten until the first part of his senior year in high school.
Butler then moved to Omaha in fall 2010 to live with his father, Robert Butler Sr., a detective with the Omaha Police Department. He transferred mid semester to Millard South High School, the reasons for which are unclear, and neither school district is clarifying. Rob Slauson is the principal of Lincoln Southwest High School, where Butler attended. At a press conference Wednesday he said he knew Butler, but had no recent contact with him.
“With 1,920 students at Lincoln Southwest, I can honestly say, that I don’t get to know everyone of them personally. I’ve had some brief conversations with Robert and I would describe him as a normal average high school student. He was popular with the students and just seemed real pleasant.”
Slauson said Butler never showed any aggression toward the teachers at Lincoln Southwest. But, according to Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes, Butler did have run ins with the Lincoln Police Department. Although no details have been provided, Hayes said Thursday OPD is working with Lincoln Police as the investigation is ongoing. However, Hayes also said Butler had no history of mental illness. Much of the story will never be known, as after his shooting rampage, Butler took his own life, and was found dead, alone, in his car.
*Audio for this story was provided by the Lincoln Journal Star
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