NICKEL MINES, Pa. (AP) -- Charles Carl Roberts IV finished his milk deliveries a couple of hours before dawn. He took a nap, then dropped his three children off at a stop for a bus that would take them safely to school. Then, reportedly animated by a grudge two decades old, he wrote his wife what authorities described as suicide notes, grabbed guns and ammunition and went to a nearby one-room Amish schoolhouse, authorities said. As of Tuesday morning, six people -- including Roberts -- were dead and another five children were hospitalized. Roberts took his own life, authorities said. The deadly school shooting, the nation's third in less than a week, occurred in a stretch of Lancaster County where horse-drawn buggies carry plainly dressed Amish along twisting backcountry roads -- and where violent crime is virtually nonexistent. Monday, two young students at the West Nickel Mines Amish School were killed, along with a female teacher's aide who was slightly older than the students, state police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said. Seven others were taken to hospitals, most shot at point-blank range, according to authorities. Two of them, both children, died Tuesday morning. A 9-year-old girl died about 1 a.m. and a 7-year-old girl died about 4:30 a.m. "Her parents were with her," hospital spokeswoman Amy Buehler Stranges said of the younger child. "She was taken off life support and she passed away shortly after."

'HORRIFIC INCIDENT' "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," Miller said. Roberts, a 32-year-old from Bart who was not Amish, did not appear to be targeting the Amish and apparently chose the school because he was bent on killing young girls as a way of "acting out in revenge for something that happened 20 years ago," Miller said. According to investigators, Roberts dropped his children off at their school bus stop, then about 10 a.m. pulled up at the school, which had about 25 to 30 students ranging in age from 6 to 13. Roberts took with him supplies necessary for a lengthy siege, including three guns, a stun gun, two knives, a pile of wood and a bag with 600 rounds of ammunition, police said. He also had a change of clothing, toilet paper, bolts and hardware and rolls of clear tape. He released about 15 boys, a pregnant woman and three women with infants, barred the doors with desks and wood and secured them with nails, bolts and flexible plastic ties. He then made the girls line up along a blackboard and tied their feet together. The teacher and another adult fled to a nearby farmhouse, and authorities were called at about 10:30 a.m. Miller said Roberts apparently called his wife from a cell phone at around 11 a.m., saying he was taking revenge for an old grudge. Miller declined to say what the grudge could have been. "It seems as though he wanted to attack young, female victims," Miller said.

'ANGRY AT GOD' Moments later, Roberts told a dispatcher he would open fire on the children if police didn't back away from the building. Within seconds, troopers heard gunfire, and found his body when they were able to get inside. From the suicide notes and telephone calls, it was clear Roberts was "angry at life, he was angry at God," and co-workers said his mood had darkened in recent days, Miller said. The names and ages of the dead were not immediately released. Two girls -- ages 8 and 6 -- remained in critical condition Monday night at the Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey, while a 13-year-old girl was upgraded to serious condition after surgery, spokeswoman Amy Buehler Stranges said. Miller said last night that a fourth girl had died at Hershey Medical Center, but Buehler Stranges said there had been no change in the condition of the three girls at the hospital, which is affiliated with Penn State Children's. State police spokeswoman Trooper Linette Quinn said the information had come from crime scene investigators, and she could not explain the discrepancy. Three girls, ages 8, 10 and 12, were flown to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where they were out of surgery but remained in critical condition last night, the hospital said in a statement. The youngest girl was being treated for gunshot wounds of her neck and arm. The 10-year-old was suffering from head injuries. The oldest girl was being treated for arm and leg injuries. One victim was transported by helicopter to Christiana Hospital in Delaware, where officials declined to release information. Miller, at an early evening news conference, said there were eight injured victims, the fourth taken to the Philadelphia hospital, but a spokeswoman said the hospital only had three patients.

'EXCEPTIONAL FATHER' Neighbors and others said they saw no indications of trouble like this brewing. "They're a fine Christian family. It's ironic and it's heartbreaking," said Lois Fiester, a relative of Roberts who was standing outside the family's modest tan ranch house. In a statement released to reporters, Marie Roberts called her husband "loving, supportive and thoughtful." "He was an exceptional father," she said. "He took the kids to soccer practice and games, played ball in the back yard and took our 7-year-old daughter shopping. He never said no when I asked him to change a diaper." "Our hearts are broken, our lives are shattered, and we grieve for the innocence and lives that were lost today," Marie Roberts said in a statement read by family spokesman Dwight LeFever. "Above all, please pray for the families who lost children and please pray too for our family and children." Although the shootings resembled an attack last week at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colo., where a man took several girls hostage in a school classroom and then killed one of them and himself, Miller said he believed the Pennsylvania attack was not a copycat crime. "I really believe this was about this individual and what was going on inside his head," he said.

Trending Video

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.