Saturday, October 14, 2006


Shooter's wife thanks Amish community

Sat. Oct 14, 2:28 PM ET

LANCASTER, Pa. - The wife of a gunman who killed five girls and injured five others at an Amish school released a statement thanking the Amish and others in the Lancaster County community for their "forgiveness, grace and mercy."

In the letter, released by a family spokesman and addressed to Amish friends, neighbors and the local community, Marie Roberts says she and her three young children have been overwhelmed by the community support since the Oct. 2 shootings.

"Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need," she wrote. "Gifts you've given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. ... Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you."

Since the shooting, members of the Amish community have said they forgive Charles Carl Roberts IV, who killed himself as police closed in on the West Nickel Mines Amish School.

Before he committed suicide, the 32-year-old milk truck driver said he was angry at God for the November 1997 death of his infant daughter. He also said he was driven by memories of molesting two young relatives 20 years ago, a claim investigators have not substantiated.

"Please know that our hearts have been broken by all that has happened," Marie Roberts wrote. "We are filled with sorrow for all of our Amish neighbors whom we have loved and continue to love."

Contractors tore down the bloodstained schoolhouse on Thursday, a step that community members hope will help them move on. Funds also have been set up for the families of the Amish children, as well as the Roberts family.

Marie Roberts said she hopes the community also looks to God for support in the coming days, months and years.

"We know there are many hard days ahead for all the families who lost loved ones, and so we will continue to put our hope and trust in the God of all comfort, as we all seek to rebuild our lives," she wrote.