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Police: 'He Intended Not To Walk Out Of There Alive'

POSTED: 11:26 am EDT October 2, 2006
UPDATED: 2:02 pm EDT October 3, 2006

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    A gunman stormed a one-room Amish schoolhouse Monday morning, barricaded it, lined up students and shot 10 of them and then himself before police could even start negotiations.

    For an update on the status of the victims, click here.

    Monday police said one of the slain victims was a teacher's aide. Tuesday morning they said that person was actually a student. So far, five students have passed away.

  • PICTURES: Scene

    Commissioner Jeffrey Miller of the Pennsylvania State Police identified the gunman as Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, of Bart Township. Miller said Roberts was a truck driver who delivered milk. He went to work Sunday night and all appeared normal. Miller said Roberts took his children to the bus stop Monday morning and that the last time his wife saw him was at 8:45 a.m.

    Miller said Roberts' wife found a suicide note Monday morning. She tried to contact her husband by phone but could not reach him. Later, Roberts called her and told her he would not be coming home, Miller said. Miller said he also told his wife in that final conversation that he had molested two young relatives two decades ago. Police have not been able to confirm that information. For more on a possible motive click here.

  • PICTURES: Roberts' House, Truck

    What is clear is that Roberts meant to do harm.

    "It's obvious to us that this was a premeditated hostage scenario," Miller said. "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."

    Before the shooting, Miller said, Roberts allowed all of the male students, three adult females who had infants and a pregnant woman to leave. A 9-year-old female was also able to escape with that group. It's not clear if Roberts intentionally let her go. That group, which included the teacher, went to a nearby farm. The teacher called police at 10:36 a.m., saying that hostages had been taken at the school.

    Miller said officers responded and that Roberts, who was heavily armed, could easily see them. Miller said Roberts called Lancaster County radio and told them if state police did not remove themselves in 10 seconds, he would start shooting people. A negotiator was able to get the cell phone number that Miller had called from, and just as that negotiator was calling back, Roberts started shooting, Miller said.

    "They heard shots, multiple shots in quick succession," Miller said.

    Miller said officers had already been preparing for an assault, and that as the shots were fired they moved in. Getting inside was not easy because Roberts had blocked all doorways with two-by-fours and two-by-sixes, which he had brought with him. Officers had to climb into the schoolhouse through windows. By the time they were in, Roberts had shot everyone inside the school and himelf.

    Miller said Roberts had forced many of the children to line up against the blackboard and that he bound their feet with wire ties and flex cuffs. Miller said that Roberts shot them execution-style. One of the shot females died in the arms of a state trooper, Miller said.

    Some of the injured children, who were transported to various hospitals, were shot in the head.

  • FORUM: Share Your Feelings About Today's Tragedy

    "He did a great deal of planning," Miller said. Roberts was prepared for a "lengthy siege if you will." If you'd like to see a list of all the weapons and material Roberts brought with him to the school, click here.

    Tragedy In Lancaster County

    News 8 reporter Anne Shannon said people who were inside the scene told her with tears in their eyes that Lancaster County has never seen a tragedy like this.

    "This is definitely an enormous scene," Shannon said.

    The school, which is called the West Nickel Mine Schoolhouse, is at 4876 White Oak Road in Bart Township.

    "They're all little kids," said a man who lives near the school. "I see the kids come right by my house they're always friendly, waving, smile. They come to our house sometimes selling different goods They're sweet kids. It just blows my mind. It's as quiet as can be out here."

    The schoolhouse serves about 30 students from first to eighth grade. The school is among farmlands just outside the tiny village of Nickel Mines.

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