Amish school shooting
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Amish school shooting occurred on the morning of Monday, October 2, 2006, when a gunman took hostages and eventually killed five girls (aged 7–13) and himself at West Nickel Mines School, a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States. Police report that the gunman was Charles Carl Roberts IV, a 32-year-old milk-tank truck driver who lived nearby.
Roberts entered the school at approximately 9:51 a.m. EDT with a shotgun, a handgun, wires, chains, nails, and flexible plastic ties which he used to bind the arms and legs of the hostages, and several stout wooden boards which he used to barricade himself inside. Police found a length of two-by-six wooden board with ten pairs of metal eyehooks, presumably to secure the ten hostages. Provisions for an extended overnight stay, such as candles, toilet tissue, and a change of clothes were found at the scene. Two tubes of sexual lubricant were also later discovered at the scene, and Roberts indicated to his wife over the phone that he had dreams about molesting children, but police have found no signs that any molestation occurred. He ordered the hostages to line up against the chalkboard, and sent away from the classroom a pregnant woman, three parents with infants and all fifteen male students. One female student escaped: nine-year-old Emma Fisher (whose two older sisters stayed inside). The nine-year old, who had just started to learn English, left with the male students because she did not understand the gunman's orders. She had been sitting beside her brother and followed him out when he left. The gunman, a father of three children (two boys and a girl), remained inside the school house with the remaining ten female students. The school teacher, Emma Mae Zook, contacted the police upon escaping at approximately 10:36 a.m. The first police officers arrived approximately nine minutes later and attempted to communicate with Roberts via the PA system in their cruisers. The 911 call transcript shows Roberts ordered the police that if they didn't pull back within two seconds, the children would be dead and unfortunately, he began firing when they did not comply.
Police broke in through the windows when shots were heard. The gunman killed five girls and himself. The oldest girl, 13-year-old Marian Fisher, appealed to Roberts to shoot her first, in an effort to spare the younger girls, according to her younger sister who survived. The younger sister, Barbie, appealed to him to shoot her next. She was wounded in the hand, leg, and shoulder. Three died at the scene and two more died early the next morning, with five more girls left in critical condition. Three girls were admitted to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, four to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and one to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, state police said. At least five girls remain hospitalized, three in critical condition and two upgraded to serious condition as of Tuesday, October 3, 2006.
Reports have stated that most of the girls were shot "execution-style" in the back of the head. One student was shot in the back and the shoulder; she is expected to recover. The ages of the victims ranged from six to thirteen.
Roberts was last seen by his wife at 8:45 a.m. when they walked their children to the bus stop before leaving. When his wife returned home at 11:00 a.m., she discovered four suicide notes — one addressed to his wife, and one to each of his children. Roberts reportedly contacted his wife while still in the schoolhouse and stated that he had molested two young female relatives (between the ages of 3 and 5) twenty years ago, and had been daydreaming about molesting again. One note Roberts left indicated his despondency over his daughter who died shortly (roughly 20 minutes) after birth nine years earlier, and cryptically stated that he had "been having dreams for the past couple of years about doing what he did 20 years ago and he has dreams of doing them again", according to State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller, apparently alluding to his later phone admission to sexually molesting two family members when he was younger.
On October 4, 2006, the two relatives whom Roberts said he molested 20 years ago told police that no such abuse had ever happened, throwing a new layer of mystery over the gunman's motive and mental state during the shooting.
Miller said there was no evidence any of the Amish children had been molested.
On October 12, 2006, the West Nickel Mines School fell to the bulldozer; the school had been boarded up since the shooting occurred. The Amish plan to leave a quiet pasture where the schoolhouse once stood. 
According to the Washington Post, Police and coroner accounts of the children's wounds differed dramatically. Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller said Roberts shot his victims in the head at close range, with 17 or 18 shots fired in all, including the one he used to take his own life as police stormed into the school through the windows. But Janice Ballenger, deputy coroner in Lancaster County, Pa., told The Washington Post in an interview that she counted at least two dozen bullet wounds in one child alone before asking a colleague to continue for her.
Inside the school, Ballenger said, "there was not one desk, not one chair, in the whole schoolroom that was not splattered with either blood or glass. There were bullet holes everywhere, everywhere." When questioned, a state police spokeswoman said that she could not immediately explain the discrepancy.
- Naomi Rose Ebersol, aged 7, died at the scene October 2, 2006.
- Marian Stoltzfus Fisher, aged 13, died at the scene October 2, 2006.
- Anna Mae Stoltzfus, aged 12, was declared dead on arrival at Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster, Pennsylvania October 2, 2006.
- Lena Zook Miller, aged 7, died at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania on October 3, 2006.
- Mary Liz Miller, aged 8, died at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware on October 3, 2006.
All of the hurt Amish schoolgirls were hospitalized.
- 6 year old female (believed to be Rosanna King) was removed from life support at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and sent home at the request of her family on October 4, 2006. However, some reports claim the child showed signs of recovery and was sent back to the hospital.
- 8 year old female (believed to be Rachel Ann Stoltzfus)
- 10 year old female (believed to be Barbara Stoltzfus "Barbie" Fisher) 
- 12 year old female
- 13 year old female (believed to be Esther King)
 Amish respond with forgiveness
CNN reported a grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls said of the killer on the day of the murder: "We must not think evil of this man."
Jack Meyer, a member of the Brethren community living near the Amish in Lancaster County, explained: "I don't think there's anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts," he told CNN.
The Amish have reached out to Roberts' family. Dwight Lefever, a Roberts family spokesman said an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them.
An article in a Canadian newspaper the National Post stated that the Amish have set up a charitable fund for the family of the shooter.
The Amish do not normally accept charity, but due to the extreme nature of the tragedy, donations were being accepted. Richie Lauer, director of the Anabaptist Foundation, said the Amish community, whose religious beliefs prohibit them from having health insurance, will likely use the donations to help pay the medical costs of the hospitalized children.
 Other recent school shootings
This marked the third school shooting in the United States in less than a week after the Platte Canyon High School shooting on September 27 and Weston High School shooting, on September 29, 2006. It also occurred less than three weeks after the Dawson College shooting in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on September 13.
This was the twenty-fourth school shooting in the United States, according to the National School Safety and Security Services. The Bush administration held a conference to discuss the issue of school violence.
- ^ "Six killed in Pennsylvania school attack", SignOnSanDiego.com, 2006-10-02. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ a b Scolforo, Mark. "4 dead in Amish school shooting in Pa.", Associated Press, Yahoo! News, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ a b "Gunman Opens Fire In Amish School 'Revenge'", CBS, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ "Wife: Gunman Said He Molested Kids In Past", NBC News, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ a b c d e "Police: School killer told wife he molested family members", CNN, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ "Fifth girl dies after Amish school shooting", CNN, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ a b c "Fatal shooting at US Amish school", BBC News, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ "The awkward encounter that began Amish school nightmare", Times Online, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-06.
- ^ Itkowitz, Colby. "Teacher’s escape saved pupils’ lives", Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-04.
- ^ "Gunman threatened to kill Amish children 'in 2 seconds'", Associated Press, 2006-10-10. Retrieved on 2006-10-28.
- ^ "Family friend:Amish girl asked to be shot to save others", CNN.com, 2006-10-06. Retrieved on 2006-10-06.
- ^ a b Courogen, Chris A.. "AMISH SCHOOL SHOOTINGS: 'ANGRY AT GOD'", The Patriot-News, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ "Pa. school shooter said he’d molested relatives", NBC News, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-04.
- ^ McCaffrey, Raymond, Duggan, Paul; Wilgoren, Debbi. "Five Killed at Pa. Amish School", The Washington Post, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ Ortega, Ralph R.. "Revelations cast doubt on killer's motive", Star-Ledger Staff, New Jersey Star-Ledger, 2006-10-05. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.
- ^ "Police Say Shooter Dreamed of Molesting", Associated Press, The New York Times, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.
- ^ Birch, Douglas. "Family man who killed little girls", The Age, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-04.
- ^ "Workers demolish school where Amish girls were killed", Associated Press, CNN, 2006-10-12. Retrieved on 2006-10-14.
- ^ "Pa. Killer Had Prepared for 'Long Siege'", Washington Post, Washington Post, 2006-10-04.
- ^ "Naomi Rose Ebersol", Lancaster New Era, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.
- ^ a b c Brubaker, Jack. "A Solemn Farewell", Lancaster New Era, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.
- ^ "Marian S. Fisher", Lancaster New Era, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.
- ^ "Anna Mae Stoltzfus", Lancaster New Era, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.
- ^ a b Kelley, Janet, Stauffer, Cindy. "Hundreds line roads to pay respects", Lancaster New Era, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.
- ^ "Mary Liz and Lena Z. Miller", Lancaster New Era, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.
- ^ "Four of Five Amish Shooting Victims Are Laid To Rest in Hand-Dug Graves", New York Sun, 2006-10-06. Retrieved on 2006-10-07.
- ^ Stauffer, Cindy, Kelley, Janet. "Hope for Healing", Lancaster New Era, 2006-10-06. Retrieved on 2006-10-06.
- ^ "COVER STORY: Heartbreak In a Small Town", People, 2006-10-05. Retrieved on 2006-10-06.
- ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne. "Schoolhouse killer haunted by guilt over abuse of young girls 20 years ago", The Guardian, 2006-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-10-06.
- ^ "Amish grandfather: 'We must not think evil of this man'", CNN, 2006-10-05. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.
- ^ "Donors Pitch in to Help Grieving Amish Community", CNN, 2006-10-06. Retrieved on 2006-10-06.
- ^ "Bush administration planning conference on school violence", CNN, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.