Interesting Wikipedia page.
On October 2, 2006, a shooting occurred at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the Old Order Amish community of Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV took hostages and shot eight out of ten girls (aged 6–13), killing five, before committing suicide in the schoolhouse. The emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation in the response of the Amish community was widely discussed in the national media. The West Nickel Mines School was torn down, and a new one-room schoolhouse, the New Hope School, was built at another location.
Roberts backed a pickup truck up to the front of the Amish schoolhouse and entered the school at approximately 10:25 a.m. EDT, shortly after the children had returned from recess. He asked the teacher, Emma Mae Zook, and the students if they had seen a missing clevis pin on the road. Survivors said that Roberts was mumbling his words and was not making direct eye contact. After the occupants of the classroom denied seeing a clevis pin, Roberts walked out to his truck and reappeared in the classroom holding a Springfield XD 9mm handgun. He ordered the boys to help him carry items into the classroom from the back of his pickup. Zook and her mother, who was visiting the schoolhouse, took this opportunity to escape the school and ran toward a nearby farm to get help. Roberts saw them leave, and ordered one of the boys to stop them, threatening to shoot everyone if the women got away.
Zook and her mother reached the farm, where they asked Amos Smoker to call 911. Roberts and the boys carried lumber, a shotgun, a stun-gun, wires, chains, nails, tools and a small bag. Also brought into the classroom was a length of wooden board with multiple sets of metal eye-hooks. The contents of the bag included a change of clothes, toilet paper, candles, and flexible plastic ties. Using wooden boards, Roberts barricaded the front door.
He ordered the girls to line up against the chalkboard and allowed a pregnant woman, three parents with infants, and all remaining boys to exit the building. One girl also escaped, nine-year-old Emma Fisher (whose older sister remained inside). Emma Fisher, who only spoke Pennsylvania German, did not understand Roberts' order, "Stay here. Do not move, you will be shot", and she followed her brother, Peterli, out of the building, leaving ten hostages.
Police and emergency personnel Edit
The 9-1-1 call from the farm where Zook and her mother sought help was recorded at 10:36 a.m. An article, Revisiting the Amish Schoolhouse Massacre, described the situation prior to the arrival of the first state police troopers: "An Amish adult male from this farm, with his two large dogs, took the bold opportunity to stealthily approach the windowless back wall of the schoolhouse. Hoping for an opportunity to help the little girls, he slowly crept around one side of the wooden structure and positioned himself as an observer next to a side window." The detailed accounting of the police response continues, "Observing that the first police patrol vehicle to approach the scene was not slowing down to stop, the Amish man quickly withdrew from his hiding place and sprinted towards the roadway to wave down the trooper, who did a fast U-turn and parked. That would be the last successful attempt at an unnoticed move upon the building by anyone.
The first trooper had arrived at approximately 10:42, about six or seven minutes after the 9-1-1 call. The police, while waiting for reinforcements, attempted to communicate with Roberts via the PA system in their patrol cars. They asked Roberts to throw out his weapons and exit the schoolhouse. Roberts refused, again ordering the officers to leave. By 11:00 a.m. a large crowd—including police officers, emergency medical technicians, and residents of the village—had assembled both outside the schoolhouse and at a nearby ambulance staging area. County and state police dispatchers had briefly established telephone contact with Roberts as he continued to threaten violence against the children.
During interviews conducted later it became apparent that all of the girls recognized the danger they were in. Some conversed among themselves throughout the ordeal. Shortly before Roberts opened fire, two sisters, Marian and Barbara Fisher, 13 and 11, requested that they be shot first that the others might be spared. Barbara was wounded, while Marian was killed. A child's loud screaming was heard from within the school. A team of officers was positioned just behind a shed attached to the rear corner of the schoolhouse and they requested permission over the radio to approach the windows. The permission was denied.
At approximately 11:07 a.m., Roberts began shooting the victims. State troopers immediately approached. As the first trooper in line reached a window, the shooting abruptly stopped; Roberts had committed suicide. During the shooting, he fired at least 13 rounds from his pistol.
It took the troopers about two and a half minutes to break into the school to assist those children who were not killed instantly. At about 11:10 a.m. a message was broadcast on the police radio, "a mass casualty on White Oak Road, Bart Township, with multiple children shot", and "at 11:11 a.m., police radioed dispatchers again, estimating 10 to 12 patients with head injuries. The first medical helicopter was dispatched." Troopers and local police officers assisted the surviving children, administering first aid. Troopers and local officers continued to tend to the girls, helping the emergency medical technicians provide first aid on the school playground. Ambulances arrived just as the wounded girls were being carried out of the schoolhouse. Helicopters landed shortly thereafter and those still living were taken away for medical treatment.
The gunman, identified as Charles Roberts IV, was a milk tanker truck driver who served several Amish farms in the Nickel Mines area (including some of the victims' families). He had three children and a wife, for whom he left four separate suicide notes. When State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller interviewed Roberts' co-workers, they claimed to have noticed a "change" in him over the past couple of months. They also claimed that he seemed to return to normal in the week leading up to the shooting. Miller hypothesizes that this "calm" may have been when he (Roberts) decided to go through with the shooting. Miller also noted that Roberts' neighbors reported his mood as unusually upbeat and jovial during this time period.