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Gunman told all the boys to leave school, tied up the girls and shot them in the head; THREE AMISH KIDS ARE KILLED AND SEVEN HURT IN HOSTAGE BLOODBATH.

Byline: By Graeme Massie

A GUNMAN burst into an Amish schoolhouse yesterday and killed three young girls "execution-style" before shooting himself.

Trucker Charles Roberts IV sent all the boys home, lined the girls up, bound their feet with wire and shot them in the head.

All 10 girls left in the schoolroom, aged between six and 13, were shot. Three of them were fighting for their lives last night.

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

He believed the killer was, "acting out in revenge for something that happened 20 years ago".

It was America's third deadly school shooting in less than a week and horrifyingly similar to an attack just days ago at a school in Colorado.

Roberts, 32, used to collect milk from Amish farms around the remote school in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


Police revealed Roberts had come off a nightshift, walked his children to school, then left suicide notes for his wife and family.

He stormed into the remote one-room West Nickel Mines school, surrounded by a white fence and farmland, soon after classes began yesterday morning.

He carried a shotgun and an automatic handgun.

Roberts barred the doors with lumber and lined the 27 terrified pupils, their teacher and four assistants in front of the blackboard.

After tying up all the girls with wire, he allowed the 15 male students, a pregnant woman and three women with young children to leave.

The teacher managed to escape and dashed to a nearby farm to raise the alarm.

The killer made a phone call to his wife, telling her he wasn't coming home, that he had left notes to explain his actions and that the police were surrounding the school.

He then began to execute the young girls.

By the time police smashed windows to storm the building, Roberts and three of the girls were dead.


Police chief Miller said: "The call came in at 10.36am from a schoolteacher stating that a male entered the school and this school is a small, one-room Amish schoolhouse.

"There were 15 males between the age of six and 13 attending school there, as well as in the neighbourhood of 10 to 12 females between the age of six and 13. There was also the teacher and teacher's aides.

"Our troopers first responded at 10.45am. He could see our folks as they pulled up.

"They immediately tried to hail the suspect. They were unable to communicate directly with him. A short time later, a call was received from the Lancaster 911 facility saying they had spoken to the suspect.

"He said if the state police did not remove themselves from the premises in 10 seconds he would begin to shoot people.

"Within a few seconds of that info being put out to the negotiator and him trying to call the suspect on the cell phone, they heard shots, multiple shots in quick succession."

Miller added: "We are not certain at this time, but it appears the suspect had an automatic handgun and a shotgun, that he was utilising the automatic handgun in quick succession.

"Our officers immediately stormed the schoolhouse.

"It is a one-room schoolhouse, all of the doors were blocked and he had blocked all the exits.

"You could not get through the doors and we had to break the windows. The troopers found the suspect dead on the floor of the schoolhouse. In addition, we had three other female students that were shot and killed at the scene."

He added: "It appears that the suspect entered the school with the intention of taking hostages.

"When he initially went into the school he displayed a handgun and was having some discussion about what he had in his hand.

"At that time, he apparently told the kids to line up in front of the blackboard. He had wire ties with him and began to tie the females feet together.

"He then took the 15 boys and let them leave and allowed one adult female, who was pregnant, to leave and three other adult females with infant children to leave.

"At the time he let them leave, the teacher was able to get out and get a phone and dial 911 and alert us to the situation."

"We know the individuals removed from the school suffered from gunshot wounds. It appears that when he began to shoot, these victims were shot execution style in the head."

Police said Roberts had worked the previous nightshift, when there had not been an obvious problem.

Miller said: "He worked last night, everything seemed to go fine. He worked until 3am and went home.

"He walked his kids to the bus stop at 8.45am. The last time his wife had contact with him was when he took them to the bus.

"She had left the residence, came back home and discovered that there were several notes there, suicide notes to the kids.

"She read the notes and tried to contact him straight away but could not reach him.

"At 11am, he contacted her and told her that he was not coming home and that he had left notes for her and the children to explain his actions.

"He said the police were there and that was it."

Hours after the shooting, stunned members of the intensely religious Amish community gathered around the schoolhouse, talking to police.

The shootings were disturbingly similar to an attack last week at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado.

There, a man took several girls hostage in a classroom, killed one of them and then himself.

Authorities revealed the man had sexually molested the girls before carrying out the shooting.

Speaking about the latest attack last night, Monte Gore, under-sheriff of Park County, Colorado, said: "If this is some kind of a copycat, it's horrible and of concern to everybody, all law enforcement.

"Our hearts go out to that school and the community."

The 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colorado, remains the deadliest school shooting in America, claiming the lives of 15 people, including the two teenage gunmen.

On Friday, a school principal was gunned down in Cazenovia, Wisconsin. A 15-year-old student, described as upset over a reprimand, was charged with murder in the killing.


SHOCKED: Police chief Jeffrey Miller' HORROR: A police helicopter, top, near the school. Above, schoolboys sit nearby as one of the victims is carried away after the shootings in Pennsylvania AP
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 3, 2006
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