PORTLAND -- She was near the Clackamas Town Center when the shooting happened Tuesday afternoon — she heard the sirens and saw the police cars — but Tami Roberts didn’t know until later that her son was the shooter.
She is understandably distraught over what happened, saying she’s been extremely proud of her son throughout his life, until now.
"Never could I have imagined him being at the heart of something like this,” she told KGW.
Background: Deadly shooting inside Clackamas Town Center
Tami was technically Jacob Roberts’ aunt, but she had raised him since his biological mother passed away from Hodgkin's lymphoma when he was just 2 years old.
Tami said Jake was a happy and very active child, who was always joking around. She added that he never showed signs of violence and what he did Tuesday afternoon inside the mall was completely out of character.
She said Jake always dreamed of becoming a Marine, but when he was 17 he broke his foot, which prevented him from joining. And that had a profound impact on him.
“He lost purpose,” Tami said. “That was what he was going to do when he grew up. He was going to be a Marine. His whole purpose for life had been changed and he got really depressed and he got really angry and I don’t blame him.”
She said she lost contact with Jake four years ago, but that she still loved him very much. And she wanted the victims’ families to know how sorry she was for what her son did.
Tami gave a handwritten note to KGW Wednesday in which she apologized for Jacob's actions.
She wrote in the note:
"Tami Roberts wishes to express her shock and grief at the events at Clackamas Town City (sic) on Tuesday. She has no understanding or explanation for her son's behavior and request that her privacy be respected."
"She is very sad and wants everyone to know that she is so sorry what Jake did, it's so out of his character."
Read: Note from Tami Roberts
Jacob's mother was born on December 10 and died when she was 22-years old. Jacob went on the shooting rampage the day after her birthday, at the age of 22. No one has said if they believe this somehow contributed to his motive.
KGW reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report