Wed, Oct 04, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Man ties up and shoots at a dozen Amish schoolgirls

TWISTED REVENGE The gunman, Charles Roberts, 32, apparently targeted young girls out of revenge for something that happened 20 years ago


Two more girls died yesterday morning of wounds from the shootings at an Amish schoolhouse by a gunman who killed five girls in all and himself, apparently because of a grudge.

The toll from the US' third deadly school shooting in less than a week rose twice within a matter of hours yesterday with the deaths of one girl at Christiana Hospital in Delaware and a seven-year-old girl at Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey.

Five additional girls were hospitalized.

The Bush administration on Monday called for a school violence summit to be held next week with education and law enforcement officials to discuss possible federal action to help communities prevent violence and deal with its aftermath.

State police spokeswoman Linette Quinn said the two girls who died early yesterday had suffered "very severe injuries, but the other ones are coming along very well."

One girl died at about 1am and the seven-year-old girl died at about 4:30am.

"Her parents were with her," hospital spokeswoman Amy Buehler Stranges said of the seven-year-old. "She was taken off life support and she passed away shortly after."

Authorities said the gunman, Charles Roberts, 32, wrote what authorities described as suicide notes, took guns and ammunition and went to a nearby one-room schoolhouse, where he opened fire on several girls and took his own life, authorities said.


Roberts, who was from nearby Bart Township and was not Amish, did not appear to be targeting the Amish and apparently chose the school because he was bent on killing young girls as a way of "acting out in revenge for something that happened 20 years ago," state police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller said.

"This is a horrendous, horrific incident for the Amish community. They're solid citizens in the community. They're good people. They don't deserve ... no one deserves this," Miller said.

The names of the dead were not immediately released.

Of the injured, a six-year-old girl remained in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl was in serious condition at Penn State Children's Hospital, spokeswoman Buehler Stranges said. She said the names of the children were not being released.

Three girls, ages eight, 10 and 12, were flown to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where they were out of surgery but remained in critical condition, spokeswoman Peggy Flynn said.

Roberts brought with him supplies necessary for a lengthy siege, including three guns, a stun gun, two knives, a pile of wood and a bag with 600 rounds of ammunition, police said. He also had a change of clothing, toilet paper, bolts and hardware and rolls of clear tape.


He released about 15 boys, a pregnant woman and three women with infants, barred the doors with desks and wood and secured them with nails, bolts and flexible plastic ties. He then made the girls line up along a blackboard and tied their feet together.

The teacher and another adult fled to a nearby farmhouse, and authorities were called at about 10:30am Miller said Roberts apparently called his wife from a cell phone at around 11am, saying he was taking revenge for an old grudge. Miller declined to say what the grudge could have been.

"It seems as though he wanted to attack young, female victims," Miller said.

Miller told NBC's Today that Roberts lost a daughter "approximately three years ago" and that that may have been a factor in the shooting.

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