- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2002

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) As a man prepared to kill his professors and himself, he mailed a letter to a newspaper publisher in the apparent hope that he could explain his rampage.

"Greetings from the dead," began Robert S. Flores suicide note, sent to the Arizona Daily Star. "You have received this letter after a rather horrendous event."

Flores fatally shot three of his instructors and then committed suicide at the University of Arizona on Monday.

The 22-page letter was accompanied by college transcripts, military evaluations, recommendations from employers and two birthday cards, the Star reported yesterday.

In his letter, Flores sketches his failed marriage, poor health and the slights he perceived from a nursing school he claimed treated male students as "tokens."

Flores' depression and hopelessness permeate the text, which mentions two victims by name and two other university staffers who were not hurt.

The letter suggests Flores was driven by his recent failures at school and home and felt that only his Great Dane loved him unconditionally.

It appears Flores wrote the letter in two stages separated by several weeks, with all but the first two pages written on the eve of the killings.

"Tonight is my last night on this planet so I guess I will finish this letter," he wrote.

The Star offered copies of Flores' package to the three victims' families, all of whom declined to comment on its contents Tuesday night. Cheryl McGaffic's husband did not accept the materials, while families of Barbara Monroe and Robin Rogers did.

The package, postmarked Monday, was delivered to the Star newsroom Tuesday evening.

Shortly after receiving the package, Star editors called Tucson police, who reviewed the contents that night. Police said they found no other suicide note from Flores.

Flores recognized the world would soon be questioning his motives, and tried to ward off speculation on his motives.

"To the sociologist, it wasn't the Maryland sniper," he wrote. "I have been thinking about this for awhile."

"To the psychiatrist," he wrote, "it's not about unresolved childhood issues. It is not about anger because I don't feel anything right now."

Flores said his rampage wasn't about revenge, but he did try to justify the shooting.

"The University is filled with too many people who are filled with hubris. They feel untouchable. Students are not given respect nor regard."

University President Peter Likins said he was saddened by the brief excepts he had heard. He said the letter provided some insight into violent people.

"When people do horrible things, and this man did a horrible thing, we always ask ourselves after the fact, what could have been on his mind? What could he have possibly been thinking? How could he justify such atrocities in his own mind, or was he so deranged he wasn't thinking at all?" Mr. Likins said.

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