AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Investigators are seen at a school house, in which police say a gunman killed several people, in Nickel Mines, Pa.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
ASSOCIATED PRESS, NICKEL MINES, PA — A milk-truck driver carrying two guns stormed a one-room Amish schoolhouse Monday, sent the boys and adults outside, barricaded the doors with two-by-fours, and then opened fire on a dozen girls, killing three of them before committing suicide.
It was the nation's third deadly school shooting in less than a week, and it sent shock waves through Lancaster County's bucolic Amish country, a picturesque landscape of horse-drawn buggies, green pastures and neat-as-a-pin farms, where violent crime is virtually nonexistent.
Seven other victims were taken to hospitals. Most were badly wounded; most had been shot, execution-style, at point-blank range, after being lined up along the chalkboard, their feet bound with wire and plastic ties, authorities said.
"This is a horrendous, horrific incident for the Amish community. They're solid citizens in the community. They're good people. They don't deserve ... no one deserves this," State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said.
The attack bore similarities to a deadly school shooting last week in Bailey, Colo., and authorities there raised the possibility that the Pennsylvania attack was a copycat crime.
The gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, a 31-year-old truck driver from the nearby town of Bart, was bent on killing young girls as a way of "acting out in revenge for something that happened 20 years ago," Miller said. Miller gave no details on what the grudge was.
Roberts was not Amish and apparently had nothing against the Amish community, Miller said. Instead, Miller said, he apparently picked the school because it was close by, there were girls there, and it had little or no security.
Roberts had left several rambling notes to his wife and three children that Miller said were "along the lines of suicide notes." The gunman also called his wife during the siege by cell phone to tell her he was getting even for some long-ago offense, according to Miller.