Clackamas

Clackamas gunman: He was never violent but sometimes troubled

Clackamas gunman: He was never violent but sometimes troubled
Jacob Roberts in a photo from his Facebook page.

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The picture of a gunman in a white hockey mask armed with an AR-15 rifle isn’t the Jacob Tyler Roberts that his friends said they knew.

One of Roberts’ close friends told police that while Roberts owned at least one gun and would occasionally go hunting, the very thought of shooting made him uncomfortable.

“Mr. Roberts even had difficulty with going hunting and had always said that people should ‘live and let live,’” the friend told detectives, according to police reports released on Wednesday.

The statements by the gunman’s family and friends, uncovered in 926 pages of police reports, are an example of the anomaly of the Clackamas Town Center shooting. In the exhaustive investigation, detectives could not pinpoint what led Roberts to go on a shooting rampage.

He wasn’t a loner – friends said he usually seemed upbeat and happy – nor did he have any documented mental illnesses or showed signs of violence.

A picture in the police report of the mask that Roberts wore during the shooting

While he seemed like the normal young adult, there were occasional signs of something darker. Friends said that sometimes Roberts grew depressed about his family life, drinking heavily and smoking marijuana daily.

One friend thought he may have been an alcoholic.

Another close friend told a detective “Jake would sometimes act a little subdued during the holiday season because … he was sad his mother and father were not a part of his life,” according to police reports.

None of the number of friends and family members interviewed by police could shed light on why Roberts would go on the shooting rampage.

Many of them didn’t seem to even know the personal intricacies of his life; for instance, several friends didn’t even know he had a girlfriend.

His aunt, Tammy Roberts, who raised Roberts, had been estranged from him for four years. When investigators informed her that Roberts was the gunman, she didn’t believe it.

“She said Jake wasn’t raised like this. She said he was a good kid and couldn’t have done something like this,” according to police reports.

Some of his behavior in the days before the shooting seemed bizarre to friends, however. One friend said that when Roberts would talk about his plans to move to Hawaii “instead of appearing happy and excited, he had a blank face and seemed numb,” according to police reports.

The morning of the shooting, Roberts told one close friend he wasn’t going to Hawaii, but still needed to leave town.

He told the friend that he needed a gun.

“Sean said at some point in the night Jacob told him that he needed to get a gun,” according to police reports. “Sean said that he asked Jacob why and Jacob refused to tell him and Sean said he didn’t push the matter.”