SAN DIEGO -- Survivors of the McDonald's massacre that left 21 people dead were given $1 million Friday to rebuild their lives, which a police psychiatrist said could be emotionally scarred for years by the rampage.
Joan Kroc, wife of late McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, announced the fast food giant's franchises were donating the money to help with burial costs, counseling for survivors and financial aid for relatives of the dead.
She also told a news conference that she planned to meet with the wife of James Huberty, the gunman who walked into a San Ysidro area McDonald's and opened fire.
'I hope to be able to find words that will give her comfort,' said Mrs. Kroc, adding she hoped to be accompanied by writer and humanitarian Norman Cousins. 'She is an innocent victim, overridden with guilt feelings. She must understand that the community holds nothing against her and her children.'
In a letter to a local TV station, Etna Huberty apologized for the grief her husband caused and tried to explain that he had started to lose his mind after he lost his house in Ohio and a series of jobs.
She said she foiled his attempt at suicide in Ohio and he told her recently, ''You should have let me kill myself.' I wish I had since he shot all these people.'
'I think he wasn't in his right mind -- he was hearing voices. He told me God was 10-feet tall and had a long gray beard,' Mrs. Huberty said in an interview aired Thursday night by KFMB-TV.
On the fateful day of the massacre Huberty took his wife and one daughter to breakfast and the San Diego Zoo. After they returned home, he kissed his family goodbye and said he 'going hunting for humans,' Mrs. Huberty said.
She said she believed his murderous attack -- the worst one-day mass slaying by a gunman in U.S. history -- was his attempt 'to get back at society. He was trying to make them hurt the way he was hurting.'
Huberty, 41, described as a loner who loved guns, killed eight men, seven women and six children Wednesday in a 10-minute spree with three weapons in a crowded McDonald's fast-food restaurant at San Ysidro near the Mexican border.
The coroner's office said a preliminary drug test indicated Huberty had not taken any drugs before the killings.
Police psychiatrist Michael Mantell, who has counseled several survivors of the massacre, said they and the community 'will be emotionally scarred for years but by and large the community will bounce back.'
Mantell said many of the survivors are exhibiting a 'startle reaction,' which has symptoms of loss of sleep and guilt.
'Brothers and sisters will be crippled by fear, anxiety and guilt for a longtime without help.'
Mantel said Joshua Coleman, an 11-year-old who played dead for an hour after being shot in the McDonald's parking lot, could suffer serious emotions problems because of the trauma.
'No question he'll be emotionally scarred by this. Imagine being 11 years old, being pinned down like that, and seeing your friend's brain blown out.'
Mrs. Huberty said in the letter that her husband tried unsuccessfully to make an appointment with a mental health clinic the day before his murderous rampage.
'There's no doubt he was a disgruntled man blocked by society, seriously disturbed,' Mantel said. 'Anyone asking the question why is wasting their time. The question is how -- how to live with what happened.'
Police Lt. Paul Ybarrondo, head of homicide, said it will never be known what motivated Huberty.
'He was just a 41-year-old time bomb that finally went off,' he said. 'It's something locked inside his brain and he's dead.'
The San Ysidro Family Survivors Fund was established with a $100,000 contribution from Mrs. Kroc. In addition to money donated by McDonald's franchises, local residents have contributed to the fund with amounts ranging from hats full of change from children to substantial checks.
When it was over, her mother and sister drove up in the other family car.
'They said 'let's go,'' Haseley said. 'I don't think she really knew her father was involved until her mother told her.'
Neighbor Dusty Briseno, 16, said she believed Huberty's wife had threatened to leave him.
'What started it was that his wife left with the kids,' she said. 'He went crazy.'
Although police said he was nota military veteran, Huberty wore a black T-shirt and camouflage pants on his deadly mission. Detectives said he was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and 9mm pistol, all of which he reloaded several times -- sometimes with armor-piercing bullets.
Mario Yepez Lopez, a teacher from Tijuana, Mexico, said Thursday he, his wife and 2-year-old daughter, April, are fortunate to be alive.
'When I heard the first boom (presumably from the shotgun) I ran into the playground (in front of the restaurant) and grabbed my daughter. I yelled for my wife to come out and we ran behind the wall,' Yepez Lopez said.
'What saved us was that my daughter wanted to play and I went to watch her.'
He said he heard a second boom and saw 'everybody running outside. There was scattered glass everywhere.'
Yepez Lopez said one man who came out of the restaurant told him the reason he ran was that he saw the killer executing people hiding under the table one by one.
'He was just going from table to table killing everyone,' he said.
Yepez Lopez went back to the scene of the massacre Thursday morning.
'I couldn't sleep last night,' he said. 'I did a lot of praying.'
Ybarrando said authorities might never be certain what motivated Huberty.
'It's hard to ask a dead guy why he did something,' the detective said.
Former friends and neighbors described the gunman as a high-strung man who rarely smiled.
Huberty moved to California less than a year ago from Massillon, Ohio. He reportedly lost his job as a security guard in a condominium complex last week.
At one time he held licenses as a funeral director and an embalmer and performed his funeral apprenticeship at the Don Williams Funeral Home in Canton, Ohio.
Williams said Huberty had 'a short, quick temper,' but was not violent.
'He was a loner. He didn't like being around the public, but he liked embalming,' Williams said.
Hilarie Zimmer, who works at a McDonald's Restaurant in Massillon, said she knew Huberty and visited his home last summer.
'There was a lot of stuff packed up,' she said. 'He told me he was going to Tijuana to make a lot of money. He didn't say how. He just said 'we're going to show them who's boss.''
She said while visiting the home, Huberty had her try on 'all types of capes, weird capes. Really light and gaudy.'
Massillon Police Officer Ron Davis remembered Huberty because of the hundreds of police calls to the home.
'Huberty was a super high-strung person,' said Davis. 'To deal with him, he was a little on the unreasonable side.'
Despite the number of complaints, police just have one reported arrest of Huberty. That was for drunk and disorderly conduct at a service station in 1980.
Huberty also worked as a welder at the Babcock & Wilcox plant in Canton, which is about five miles from Massillon. It closed in 1981.
Huberty's neighbors in San Ysidro complained he would often fire a pistol from his apartment balcony and race motorcyle through crowded parking lots.
Another neighbor, Dario Sanchez, recalled Huberty flying into a rage at his wife over a minor incident when the couple was moving into their apartment.