Church bells to toll in Pennsylvania to remember victims of Amish school shootings

Monday, October 9th 2006, 5:48 am
By: News On 6

NICKEL MINES, Pa. (AP) A day after the gunman who stormed a one room Amish school was buried, the pastor of the church where his grave is located prayed for ``less evil in the world.''

Charles Carl Roberts IV shot 10 Amish girls October 2nd, killing five. A county coroner said Sunday that one of the injured girls suffered a mortal head wound and was not expected to survive.

At Georgetown United Methodist Church, in whose cemetery Roberts was buried, the Rev. Michael Remel called for ``less violence, less hatred, less evil in the world,'' and asked God to ``let the world learn the lesson of forgiveness that came from our friends, the Amish.''

Churches throughout Lancaster County were asked to ring their bells in remembrance of the victims on Monday at 10:45 a.m., the same time the siege began.

Survivors of the shooting will probably receive lessons at home for the rest of the school year, and the schoolhouse will be torn or burned down and rebuilt elsewhere, according to Daniel Esh, who said he learned of the plans from a nephew who attended a meeting on the matter.

``It would just be asking too much of them to go back,'' said Esh, whose three grandnephews were inside the school when the rampage began.

The funerals for the five slain girls, Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12; Marian Fisher, 13; Naomi Rose Ebersol, 7; and sisters Mary Liz Miller, 8, and Lena Miller, 7, were held Thursday and Friday.

County Coroner G. Gary Kirchner said one of the survivors, whose parents took her home to die late last week, was returned to Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey. He said her prognosis remained extremely poor.

``My guess is that if she's survived this long, she will continue to be in this state with a mortal head wound,'' said Kirchner. ``It is horrible because it will remind (her parents) every minute of the day of this whole God awful mess.''

Roberts' suicide notes and last calls with his wife reveal a man tormented by memories, as yet unsubstantiated, of molesting two young relatives 20 years ago. He said he was also angry at God for the November 14, 1997, death of the couple's first child, a girl named Elise Victoria who lived for just 20 minutes.

Curiosity seekers left flowers and messages of sympathy Sunday near the West Nickel Mines Amish School despite ``No parking or standing'' signs.

Ken Urbany, 57, a prison guard from Philadelphia, had hoped to stop at the school to offer a prayer for the victims but kept driving because of the restrictions. He said, ``It doesn't matter. The Lord will hear my prayer in my hotel room.''