Fatal shooting at school in Pennsylvania, USA

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Monday, October 2, 2006

Charles Carl Roberts IV, a 32-year-old delivery man for a local milk company, shot and killed three girls and injured seven others before killing himself during an attack on a one-room Amish school in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States. Of the wounded, two girls have died in the hospital.

The gunman entered the school located in the village of Nickel Mines (near the town of Paradise) and proceeded to tell all boys and some adults to exit the school, including a pregnant woman and some women with infants. He was believed to be armed with an automatic handgun and a shotgun. He then restrained the remaining girls with ties and plastic cuffs, blocked the doors with desks and wood that he brought in, and shot the girls in the head.

According to the BBC, the classroom contained 15 male pupils, 10–12 female pupils, one teacher and a number of assistants.

Police were called shortly after shots were fired at 10:36 a.m. local time (14:36 GMT).

Police arrived at the scene at 10:45 a.m. and surrounded the building. Police tried to make contact with the gunman, but were unsuccessful.

During this time, an emergency operator located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania received a call from someone claiming to have been called by the gunmen. In this phone call the gunman warned that if the police did not pull back from the area he would open fire. This message was then sent to the officers on scene but during the sending of the message, shots were fired in quick succession inside the school. Police then stormed the school to find the three girls dead, all shot in the head.

According to his wife, the gunman had seemed perfectly normal in the morning. However, when she returned to the family home around midday, she discovered suicide notes addressed to each of his three children.

At 11:00 a.m. she received a call from Roberts saying he was attacking the school and taking hostages to get "revenge for something that happened 20 years ago," said Jeffrey Miller, the Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner.