Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Five girls dead after Amish school shootingsTue Oct 3, 2006 8:07 AM ET
By Jon Hurdle
NICKEL MINES, Penn. (Reuters)
- Two girls died overnight after a school shooting in Pennsylvania, bringing to five the number of students killed when a gunman burst into their one-room schoolhouse, state police said on Tuesday.
It was the third deadly U.S. school shooting in the past week and took place in an Amish farm community where there is little crime.
The gunman, identified as Charles Carl Roberts, 32, killed himself after lining his victims against the wall and shooting them execution-style in the head.
The two girls who died overnight were aged 7 and 8, said Commissioner Jeffrey Miller of the Pennsylvania state police. One other girl remained in critical condition and another four were described as stable, state police said.
Asked for additional information about the gunman's motive, Miller said that Roberts lost a child of his own three years ago and "that had something to do with his state of mind."
"He may have been angry with God for having lost a child," Miller said at a news briefing.
On Monday, authorities said Roberts, who was not Amish, had dropped his own three school-aged children at their bus stop in the morning, showing no sign of the rampage to come.
But Roberts had left a rambling suicide note and letter to his wife and children, referring to an event 20 years ago for which he sought revenge, and he planned for a lengthy siege.
The Georgetown School classroom had 26 students aged 6 to 13. After Roberts ordered the 15 boys and some adults to leave, the victims were shot "at close range, execution style, firing into the back of the head," Miller said.
The tragedy stunned this peaceful community some 60 miles
west of Philadelphia, where descendants of Swiss-German settlers have preserved a religious lifestyle that shuns aspects of modern life like cars and electricity.
Amish farmers live simply, travel by horse and buggy and cultivate the land using old-fashioned traditions.
Roberts fired three rounds from a shotgun and 13 from a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, police said. He also had a rifle, 600 rounds of ammunition, a stun gun, two knives and tools including a hammer, a hacksaw, pliers, wire, eye-bolts, rolls of tape and a bucket with a change of clothes.
There were similarities between the Pennsylvania tragedy and last week's school shooting in Bailey, Colorado, where a schoolgirl was killed. However, Miller said he did not believe it to be copycat attack.
In the Colorado shooting last Wednesday, a drifter took six female high school students hostage, molested them and then shot one dead before killing himself as police closed in. Then on Friday a 15-year-old student killed his school's principal in western Wisconsin.
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