- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2006

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — The Amish schoolhouse gunman threatened to kill his hostages “in two seconds” if authorities did not leave the property, according to a 911 transcript released yesterday.

“Don’t try to talk me out of it, get them all off the property now,” Charles Carl Roberts IV told a Lancaster County dispatcher in a call that came in at 10:55 a.m. Oct. 2.

The dispatcher then asked Roberts to stay on the phone so he could be transferred to state police. Roberts replied: “No, you tell them and that’s it. Right now or they’re dead in two seconds.”

The 911 dispatcher sought to transfer the call and told Roberts, “Hang on a minute.” Roberts replied again: “Two seconds, that’s it.” Roberts then hung up.

Roberts, a 32-year-old milk truck driver and father of three, stormed the West Nickel Mines Amish School armed with a shotgun, a handgun and a stun gun. He sent the adults and boys out and bound the 10 remaining girls at the blackboard.

“I just took, uh, 10 girls hostage and I want everybody off the property or, or else,” Roberts told the 911 dispatcher.

He ended up killing five girls and wounding five before killing himself.

Teacher Emma Mae Zook, 20, and her mother, who was visiting the schoolhouse, darted out of the building after seeing Roberts’ gun. They ran to a neighboring farm that had a telephone.

According to the transcript, first released to the Associated Press, the initial 911 call about the siege came in to Lancaster County emergency authorities at 10:35 a.m. from that farmer, Amos Smoker, according to the transcript.

“There’s a, there’s a guy in the school with a gun,” Mr. Smoker said.

After determining the location, the dispatcher transferred the call to state police, who handle law enforcement for the area.

Marie Roberts, the gunman’s wife, called the Lancaster County dispatch center three minutes after her husband did. She had received a call from him from the schoolhouse.

“My name is Marie Roberts, my husband just called me and said that he wasn’t coming home and that the police were there and that he left notes for myself and my children and I’m worried that he tried to commit suicide somewhere,” she said, according to the transcript.

After being transferred to state police, Mrs. Roberts repeated her concern about suicide. She also described what some of her husband’s notes said.

“Like, the thought of not my children, not seeing them grow up, like, let’s see, uh, I’m not even sure, here it is, my daughter Abigail I want you to know that I love you and I’m sorry I couldn’t be here to watch you grow up, that’s how the notes start,” she said.

Roberts had confided to his wife by cell phone that he was tormented by memories of molesting two young relatives 20 years ago. Authorities have been unable to substantiate his molestation assertions.

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