Just two weeks after the school shootings in Montreal and for the third time in less than a week in the United States, a crazed gunman has unleashed a terrifyingly violent gun attack on innocent children.
Thirty-two-year-old Charles Roberts, a milk truck driver with a mysterious grudge, stormed a one-room Amish schoolhouse about 90 kilometres west of Philadelphia on Monday, killing four girls before ending his own life.
It appears the determined killer targeted females only.
Police confirm that once inside the classroom he released the boys and adults before barricading himself inside and opening firing on a dozen young girls. Four of them, between the ages of 6 and 13, died at the scene, while seven others remain in critical condition.
“When he began shooting the victims, these victims were shot execution style in the head,” confirmed Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller.
“He split them up, males and females. He let the males go. He let some of the adults go. He bound the female victims up on the blackboard and apparently executed them.”
“It’s a very traumatic situation. One of the girls died in the arms of one of our troopers,” he grimly notes.
Police say the suspect, a father of three, left rambling notes to his wife suggesting he wanted revenge for something that happened 20 years ago.
“You would never think this would happen to somebody that you know. And he seemed so mild-mannered,” said one of his neighbours.
The suspect entered the school armed with a nine-millimetre semiautomatic pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun, a rifle and a bag with about 600 rounds of ammunition.
He also had two knives and a stun gun on his belt.
Previous school shootings around the world:
Sept. 27, 2006, Bailey, Colorado – Gunman Duane Morrison shoots and kills one of his captives at Platte Canyon High School before killing himself.
Sept. 13, 2006, Montreal, Quebec – Gunman Kimveer Gill opens fire at Dawson College in Montreal, leaving a student dead and 19 more injured before turning the gun on himself.
Nov. 8, 2005, Jacksboro, Tenn. — One 15-year-old shot and killed an assistant principal at Campbell County High School and seriously wounded two other administrators.
March 21, 2005, Red Lake, Minn. — Jeff Weise, 16, killed grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.
Sept. 28, 2004, Carmen de Patagones, Argentina — Three students killed and 6 wounded by a 15-year-old Argentinian student in a town 620 miles south of Buenos Aires.
Sept. 24, 2003, Cold Spring, Minn. — Two students are killed at Rocori High School by John Jason McLaughlin, 15.
April 24, 2003, Red Lion, Pa. — James Sheets, 14, killed principal Eugene Segro of Red Lion Area Junior High School before killing himself.
April 14, 2003, New Orleans, La. — One 15-year-old killed, and three students wounded at John McDonogh High School by gunfire from four teenagers (none were students at the school). The motive was gang-related.
April 29, 2002, Vlasenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina — One teacher killed, one wounded by Dragoslav Petkovic, 17, who then killed himself.
April 26, 2002, Erfurt, Germany — 13 teachers, two students, and one policeman killed, ten wounded by Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, at the Johann Gutenberg secondary school. Steinhaeuser then killed himself.
Feb. 19, 2002, Freising, Germany — Two killed in Eching by a man at the factory from which he had been fired; he then traveled to Freising and killed the headmaster of the technical school from which he had been expelled. He also wounded another teacher before killing himself.
Jan. 15, 2002, New York, N.Y. — A teenager wounded two students at Martin Luther King Jr. High School.
Nov. 12, 2001, Caro, Mich. — Chris Buschbacher, 17, took two hostages at the Caro Learning Center before killing himself.
March 30, 2001, Gary, Ind. — One student killed by Donald R. Burt, Jr., a 17-year-old student who had been expelled from Lew Wallace High School.
March 22, 2001, Granite Hills, Calif. — One teacher and three students wounded by Jason Hoffman, 18, at Granite Hills High School. A policeman shot and wounded Hoffman.
March 7, 2001 Williamsport, Pa. — Elizabeth Catherine Bush, 14, wounded student Kimberly Marchese in the cafeteria of Bishop Neumann High School; she was depressed and frequently teased.
March 5, 2001, Santee, Calif. — Two killed and 13 wounded by Charles Andrew Williams, 15, firing from a bathroom at Santana High School.
Jan. 18, 2001, Jan, Sweden — One student killed by two boys, ages 17 and 19.
Jan. 17, 2001, Baltimore, Md. — One student shot and killed in front of Lake Clifton Eastern High School.
Sept. 26, 2000, New Orleans, La. — Two students wounded with the same gun during a fight at Woodson Middle School.
May 26, 2000, Lake Worth, Fla. — One teacher, Barry Grunow, shot and killed at Lake Worth Middle School by Nate Brazill, 13, with .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol on the last day of classes.
April 20, 2000, Orleans, Ont. — Four students and one staff member wounded in knife attack at Cairine Wilson High School in Orleans, Ontario occurs on first anniversary of Columbine massacre.
March 10, 2000, Savannah, Ga. — Two students killed by Darrell Ingram, 19, while leaving a dance sponsored by Beach High School.
March 2000, Branneburg, Germany — One teacher killed by a 15-year-old student, who then shot himself. The shooter has been in a coma ever since.
Feb. 29, 2000, Mount Morris Township, Mich. — Six-year-old Kayla Rolland shot dead at Buell Elementary School near Flint, Mich. The assailant was identified as a six-year-old boy with a .32-caliber handgun.
Dec. 7, 1999, Veghel, Netherlands — One teacher and three students wounded by a 17-year-old student.
Dec. 6, 1999, Fort Gibson, Okla. — Four students wounded as Seth Trickey, 13, opened fire with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun at Fort Gibson Middle School.
Nov. 19, 1999, Deming, N.M. — Victor Cordova Jr., 12, shot and killed Araceli Tena, 13, in the lobby of Deming Middle School.
May 20, 1999, Conyers, Ga. — Six students injured at Heritage High School by Thomas Solomon, 15, who was reportedly depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend.
April 28, 1999, Taber, Alberta — 14-year-old boy shoots two students, one fatally, at W.R. Myers High School in Taber, Alberta.
April 20, 1999, Littleton, Colo. — 14 students (including killers) and one teacher killed, 23 others wounded at Columbine High School in the nation’s deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves.
Feb. 8, 1999, Verdun, Quebec — Man fires shot at Woodland Elementary School in Verdun, Quebec. No one injured.
June 15, 1998, Richmond, Va. — One teacher and one guidance counselor wounded by a 14-year-old boy in the school hallway.
May 21, 1998, Springfield, Ore. — Two students killed, 22 others wounded in the cafeteria at Thurston High School by 15-year-old Kip Kinkel. Kinkel had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home.
May 19, 1998, Fayetteville, Tenn. — One student killed in the parking lot at Lincoln County High School three days before he was to graduate. The victim was dating the ex-girlfriend of his killer, 18-year-old honor student Jacob Davis.
April 24, 1998, Edinboro, Pa. — One teacher, John Gillette, killed, two students wounded at a dance at James W. Parker Middle School. Andrew Wurst, 14, was charged.
March 24, 1998, Jonesboro, Ark. — Four students and one teacher killed, ten others wounded outside as Westside Middle School emptied during a false fire alarm. Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shot at their classmates and teachers from the woods.
Dec. 15, 1997, Stamps, Ark. — Two students wounded. Colt Todd, 14, was hiding in the woods when he shot the students as they stood in the parking lot.
Dec. 1, 1997, West Paducah, Ky. — Three students killed, five wounded by Michael Carneal, 14, as they participated in a prayer circle at Heath High School.
October 1997, Monreal, Quebec — 35-year-old man fatally shoots teacher at Montreal language school for immigrants.
Oct. 1, 1997, Pearl, Miss. — Two students killed and seven wounded by Luke Woodham, 16, who was also accused of killing his mother. He and his friends were said to be outcasts who worshiped Satan.
March 1997, Sanaa, Yemen — Eight people (six students and two others) at two schools killed by Mohammad Ahman al-Naziri.
Feb. 19, 1997, Bethel, Alaska — Principal and one student killed, two others wounded by Evan Ramsey, 16.
March 13, 1996, Dunblane, Scotland — 16 children and one teacher killed at Dunblane Primary School by Thomas Hamilton, who then killed himself. 10 others wounded in attack.
Feb. 2, 1996, Moses Lake, Wash. — Two students and one teacher killed, one other wounded when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his algebra class.
October 1994, Toronto, Ont. — Two guidance counsellors at Brockton High School in Toronto shot and wounded by student unhappy with grades.
June 1993, Vancouver, B.C. — Teen wounded outside Gladstone Secondary School in Vancouver in drive-by shooting.
February 1990, Burlington, Ont. — Jilted teenager shoots and wounds estranged girlfriend at General Brock High School in Burlington, Ontario.
December 6, 1989, Montreal, Quebec — Marc Lepine, 25, shoots dead 14 women at University of Montreal’s Ecole polytechnique engineering school, then kills himself.
October 1978, Winnipeg, MB — 17-year-old student shoots 16-year-old to death at Sturgeon Creek Regional Secondary School in Winnipeg.
May 1975, Brampton, Ont. — Michael Slobodian, 16, kills teacher and student and wounds 13 others at Centennial Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario before turning gun on himself.