Dorm Beating Victim Was a Gentle, Quiet History Buff

"He was just becoming a great person"

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Oct 22, 2009  |  Updated 3:45 PM PDT
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Dorm Beating Victim Was a Gentle, Quiet History Buff

Cheryl Hurd

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Scott Hawkins, a 23-year-old student at Cal State Sacramento, loved history and wanted to be a teacher. He was a buff of World Wars and Roman armies, but he was socially awkward -- possibly because he suffered from a form of autism.

And, according to his father, that autism made him a target of bullies. On Wednesday, one of those bullies may have killed him.

One of Hawkins' roommates beat him to death, possibly with a baseball bat,  police said. The roommate was arrested for the crime.

Hawkins had a form of autism known as Asperger syndrome, his father, Gerald Hawkins, told the Sacramento Bee.

"He liked to talk on and on about his favorite subjects, especially history," his father said. "And he knew an amazing array of facts about Roman armies and World War I and World War II."

Hawkins lived with four other students in a dorm suite where each student had his own room. He was very smart, but spent a lot of time in his room, roommate Dustin Strumpf said.

He "wasn't the best socially," said Strumpf, who was at baseball practice when Hawkins was attacked. "But he seemed pretty normal to me. He was just shy."

Even though he didn't have many friends, Hawkins was very happy with his college life.

"He loved that campus," Gerald Hawkins said. "He was extremely happy there. This is actually the happiest we've ever seen him in his whole life. He was just thrilled to get in there, to get into the new dorm there."

After settling in at Sac State, Hawkins found a nondenominational Christian Bible Church and started looking for more campus activities where he could fit in and make friends.

"He was just coming into himself." Hawkins said of his son. "He was just becoming a really great person."

Before he went to college, Hawkins traveled to Chile, where he worked on a mission school. He also volunteered in his hometown of Mountain View, Sacramento and on an Indian reservation along the Idaho-Nevada border.

His parents say he was very religious.

"To some extent, I'd say he was more religious than us," Hawkins said. "And more steady churchgoing. He was more dedicated to it than us."

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