Police: Gunman Planned Long Siege at Amish School

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Men are seen walking near a schoolhouse where a gunman killed at least three girls, in Nickel Mines,

Men are seen walking near a schoolhouse where a gunman killed at least three girls, in Nickel Mines, Pa. on Monday, Oct. 2, 2006. AP Photo/Matt Rourke hide caption

itoggle caption AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Three children are dead and at least seven other girls are critically wounded after an attack on an Amish school in Lancaster County, Pa.

The gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV of nearby Bart, Pa., parked a pickup outside the door of the one-room West Nickle Mines Amish school Monday morning. Officials say that after he entered the school, Roberts sent the adults and boys outside and then barricaded himself in with the female students.

Authorities say Roberts began shooting the hostages as police prepared to storm the building. By the time police entered the building, the shooter had killed himself, Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller of the Pennsylvania State Police told reporters.

Miller said that Roberts had apparently been planning the attack for days and that he appeared to have no intention of leaving the schoolhouse alive.

Roberts was not Amish and appeared to have 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.

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.

Miller said that Roberts was apparently preparing for a long siege; he had armed himself with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun and a rifle, along with a bag of about 600 rounds of ammunition, two cans of smokeless powder, two knives and a stun gun on his belt. He also had rolls of tape, various tools and a change of clothes.

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.

Miller refused to say what that long-held grudge was.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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