|Saturday, 08 October 2011 12:05|
Charles Carl Roberts IV
Born: December 7, 1973, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: October 2, 2006, Bart Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Cause of death: Self inflicted gunshot.
Notable because: Charlie Roberts was an milk truck driver who, angry with God over the death of his infant daughter, decided to punish him by shooting some Christian girls. He killed five Amish girls and injured five others before killing himself in an Amish school in the hamlet of Nickel Mines, in Bart Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on October 2, 2006. The Amish attitude of forgiveness towards him has been widely reported.
Charles Carl Roberts IV was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His father is retired from the local police force. In 2004, his father applied to the state for a special license to provide paratransit service to the Amish. Roberts earned a diploma through a home-school association, and neither he nor his family were Amish. In 1990, Roberts worked as a dishwasher at Good 'N Plenty Restaurant in Smoketown, Pennsylvania. Two of his co-workers were Lawrence Yunkin and Lisa Michelle Lambert, who were convicted in the December 20, 1991 murder of 16-year old Laurie Show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Roberts was a commercial milk tank driver, employed by North West Foods.
On October 2, 2006, Roberts entered the one-room West Nickel Mines School at approximately 9:51 a.m. with a 9 mm handgun, 12 gauge shotgun, .30-06 bolt-action rifle, about 600 rounds of ammunition, cans of black powder, a stun gun, two knives, a change of clothes, an apparent truss board and a box containing a hammer, hacksaw, pliers, wire, screws, bolts and tape. He used 2×6 and 2×4 boards with eye bolts and flex ties to barricade the school doors before binding the arms and legs of the hostages. He ordered the hostages to line up against the chalkboard and released the 15 male students present, along with a pregnant woman and three parents with infants. The remaining 10 female students he kept inside the schoolhouse. The school teacher contacted the police upon escaping at approximately 10:36 a.m. The first police officers arrived about nine minutes later and attempted (unsuccessfully) to communicate with Roberts using the PA broadcasters in their cruisers.
Police had to break in through the windows when shots were heard. The gunman apparently killed himself along with five school girls. Three of the girls died at the scene, with two more dying the next morning from related injuries. Five girls were in the hospital in critical condition. Reports have stated that the girls were shot execution style in the head. The ages of the victims ranged from 6 to 13. Roberts fired at least 13 rounds from his 9 mm semi-automatic pistol.
Roberts was last seen by his wife at 8:45 a.m. when they walked their children to the bus stop to go to school in Bart Township. When his wife returned home at 11:00 a.m., she discovered four notes he had left to her and their 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 three and five) 20 years ago (when he would have been 12), and had been daydreaming about molesting again. Both of the relatives in question have denied these claims. Among the items he brought to the school was a tube of KY Jelly, which investigators surmised he might have intended to use as a sexual lubricant. His suicide notes stated that he was still angry at God for the death of a premature infant daughter nine years prior.
The Rev. Schenck reports 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 to CNN: "I do not 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."
Dwight Lefever, a Roberts family spokesman, said an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them.
Dozens of Amish neighbors attended Charles Roberts' funeral on October 7, 2006. He was buried in an unmarked grave in his wife's family plot behind Georgetown United Methodist Church, a few miles from the one-room West Nickel Mines schoolhouse. One mourner stated that Roberts' wife was touched by the outward gesture of forgiveness by the Amish community. The schoolhouse was torn down eleven days after the tragedy and was re-built in a nearby location.
Excerpts from killer's note
The following is the first page of a three-page suicide note which Charles Roberts wrote to his wife Marie before attacking an Amish school in Pennsylvania.
In the letter he speaks of his pain following the death of his premature daughter Elise, nine years ago.
"I don't know how you put up with me all those years. I am not worthy of you, you are the perfect wife you deserve so much better.
"We had so many good memories together as well as the tragedy with Elise.
It changed my life forever I haven't been the same since it affected me in a way I never felt possible.
I am filled with so much hate, hate toward myself hate towards God and unimaginable emptyness it seems like everytime we do something fun I think about how Elise wasn't here to share it with us and I go right back to anger."
The Amish version:
October 2nd, 2006. It was a typical fall day. Birds could be heard in the distance and little else, except maybe the clip-clop of a horse's hoofs and the rattling of a buggy heading down a back country road. It's normally quiet and peaceful in the rolling Amish farmlands of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
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