Five Killed at Pa. Amish School
Tuesday, October 3, 2006; 12:30 PM
BART TOWNSHIP, Pa., Oct. 3 -- Five young Amish girls are dead, and five more are seriously injured, after being lined up in their one-room school Monday and shot "execution style" by a heavily armed milk truck driver who then took his own life, police said.
Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, was armed with three guns, two knives and 600 rounds of ammunition when he burst into the schoolhouse, forced the girls to line up against a blackboard and shot them at close range in the back of the head, police said.
Pennsylvania State Police commissioner Col. Jeffrey B. Miller, who described the crime scene as "horrendous," said Roberts apparently was motivated by rage over a long-ago incident unconnected to the school or the Amish community.
Roberts lived in the area, but was not Amish. He was armed with a semiautomatic handgun, a rifle, a shotgun and a stun gun, police said, and had no known criminal history.
"Apparently there was some sort of an issue in his past that he, for some reason, wanted to exact revenge against female victims," Miller said. "It's obvious to us that this was a premeditated hostage scenario where, I believe, based on what the investigators have so far, he intended not to walk out of there alive. But he also intended to kill innocent victims."
Two of the girls were pronounced dead at the schoolhouse, and a third died later in the day at a nearby hospital. Two more girls died of their injuries overnight, hospital officials said. Miller identified the slain girls as Lena Miller, 7, and Mary Liz Miller, 8; Naomi Ebersol, 7; Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12; and Marian Fisher, 13.
Two of the injured girls are eight years old, Miller said; the others are 6, 11 and 13 years old. The only other girl in the schoolhouse when Roberts entered, a 9-year-old, managed to escape along with her brother, Miller said.
Roberts left notes for his wife and three children "along the lines of suicide notes," Miller said. Police had been called to the schoolhouse and were trying to make contact with Roberts when the shootings occurred.
Georgetown Amish School reportedly had 26 students in attendance yesterday, 15 boys and 11 girls, authorities said. The attack shocked the quiet people of this Lancaster County farming community, whose religion and traditions require them to remain separate from the outside world and shun the trappings of modern life, including electricity and motor vehicles. The shootings in Bart were the third at a U.S. school in five days.
On Wednesday, a 53-year-old drifter took six girls hostage in Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colo., sexually assaulted them and fatally shot a 16-year-old girl before killing himself. Two days later, a 15-year-old former student allegedly shot and killed a principal in Cazenovia, Wis.
Elsewhere, three teenagers were charged in Green Bay, Wis., Thursday in an alleged plot to bomb and burn a high school and shoot students as they emerged. And on Monday, officials in Las Vegas said they locked down four schools after a student was spotted entering a high school carrying a gun.
Bart Township, about 60 miles west of Philadelphia, has about 3,000 people and a landscape of grain silos, dairy farms and tobacco fields. In the hours after the shootings, TV satellite trucks lined country roads mostly traveled by the horse-drawn buggies of the Amish.