Tuesday, October 3, 2006

12:34 p.m.

QUARRYVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A man who laid siege to a one-room Amish schoolhouse told his wife he had molested young children decades ago and left a note saying he had “dreams of molesting again,” state police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said today.

Police said they could not confirm the claim by Charles Carl Roberts IV and that family members knew nothing of the alleged molestation.

Earlier today, two more children died of wounds from the shootings, raising the death toll to five girls plus the gunman.

Five other girls remained hospitalized, four in critical condition, though state police spokeswoman Linette Quin said the survivors were “coming along very well.”

The two girls who died, ages 7 and 9, had “very severe injuries,” she said.

The attack on the tiny, one-room schoolhouse amid the farm fields of Lancaster County was the nation’s third deadly school shooting in less than a week, and it led the Bush administration to call for a school violence summit within days to discuss possible federal action to help communities prevent violence and deal with its aftermath.

Authorities said Roberts, a milk truck driver and father of three who lived in the area, wrote what appeared to be suicide notes before taking guns and an estimated 600 rounds of ammunition to the tiny school.

Roberts did not appear to be targeting the Amish, though, state police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said today. He said Roberts 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.”

From the notes Roberts left behind and the telephone calls he made, it was clear he was “angry at life, he was angry at God,” Mr. Miller said. Co-workers said his mood had darkened in recent weeks, but suddenly brightened over the weekend, Mr. Miller said.

“A few days before the shooting a weight was lifted,” Mr. Miller said today.

When Roberts drove to the school, he had clearly prepared, Mr. Miller said. Police said Roberts had supplies 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, and he backed a truck up to the schoolhouse.

“We know in speaking to the teacher that he walked in, he had a gun in his hand and he began to speak to the students: ‘Have you ever seen this?’” Mr. Miller told ABC’s “Good Morning America” this morning.

“Obviously the teacher was very concerned right away,” Mr. Miller said. “He wasn’t agitated, but he was very serious about what he was doing, and methodical in how he separated students, allowed certain people to leave, and then began to bind the female students he had at the blackboard.

“They weren’t able to get away. They were basically standing, bound to each other, their legs were bound together. They couldn’t run away from that location.”

Roberts released about 15 boys, a pregnant woman and three women with infants, then barred the doors with desks and wood and secured them with nails, bolts and flexible plastic ties, police said.

The teacher and another adult fled to a nearby farmhouse, and authorities were called at about 10:30 a.m. Mr. 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.

Shortly after police arrived, they heard gunshots. The girls had been shot execution style, and the gunman was dead, Mr. Miller said.

“It seems as though he wanted to attack young, female victims,” Mr. Miller said.

He said Roberts had lost a daughter in recent years, and that that also may have been a factor.

“This is a horrendous, horrific incident for the Amish community,” Mr. Miller said. “They’re solid citizens in the community. They’re good people. They don’t deserve … no one deserves this.”

The names of the children were not immediately released.

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