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The Amish School Shooting, From the First Pastor On The Scene

October 11, 2006

——— Forwarded message ———-

Date sent: Sun, 08 Oct 2006 14:09:29 -0400

From: “Grover Devault” <>

Subject: Responding to the Call at Nickol Mines PA,

The Amish School House Shooting

It was early Monday morning that the phone began to ring off the hook. First one Lt. from the PA State Police, then another from another station (Emerville, in Chester County), then another (Avondale PA), and finally Headquarters, at “J” Troop station in Lancaster. “Come as quickly as you can” was the urgent cry.” “We need you!”

As soon as I arrived at Headquarters a Lt. put me in his patrol car and sped to the Amish Schoolhouse in Bart Township where I saw that horrible scene just about 45 minutes after the shooting took place. Helicopters were landing and taking off with those girls who were wounded. Several who were dead at the school remained on the ground or in the one room school.

Dear little Amish girls. The team of State Police were gathering together and the Commissioner, Col. Miller had just arrived via helicopter. Our men and women performed professionally and personally.

First I addressed, individually, those troopers who had blood on them and who had lifted the girls out of the classroom and one trooper who had cut his hand breaking into the windows to get at 32 year old, Charles Carl Roberts IV who had stormed the classroom and brandished a gun. He was discovered laying dead on the floor having shot himself.

Our SERT (or SWAT as some call it) had rushed the building when communications had failed. They had to break the windows because the doors were barred. After attending the troopers, at their request, I spoke with the Amish Bishop, Jacob Fisher and this two helpers, Chris Peterson and Dan Bonner.

They sat on the ground on a little incline near the fence of the schoolhouse. They were quite shook and needed some comfort. I asked how I could help them and they asked to be allowed to go to the farmhouse, about 3/4 miles away to be with the families of the children. A trooper provided a patrol car to take me along with them to the farmhouse where the owner invited us in to speak with the teacher, Miss Emma Zook.

I needed to get the police the names of the girls. She provided me with Marian Fisher 7, (now dead), Esther King 7, (hospital), Anna Mae Stolsfoze 12, (dead), Barbic Fisher (hospital), Emma Fisher (hospital), Mary Liz Miller 8, (now dead), Rachel Ann Stolsfoze (hospital), Sarah Ann Stolsfoze (hospital), Lena Miller 7, (now dead), Naomi Rose Ebenshade (now dead), and Rosanna King (hospital).

This was the account then given. We did not know where each of them were at that time, but our Commissioner, Col. Miller offered to send any parents by helicopter to any of the hospitals if they so desired. None took up that offer as vans were waiting to transport them.

I asked Bishop Jacob Fisher if he would like me to lead all the parents gathered in the farmhouse in prayer and he said “Yes, and please stand in the middle of the room so all can hear.” I prayed like never before. He followed reading prayers from a PA Dutch worship book.

For the rest of Monday I did debriefings with the troopers and returned the next day to speak with more of the Amish to see how we (PSP) could best serve them. As a group of several elders gathered and I worked with them to discover their needs and present them to our men.

God blessed and I thank you all for your prayers for me as I minister the Gospel to these men and women. I will be working this week with them again to do “follow-up”.

Blessings to you all.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Maggie Kimble permalink
    November 13, 2006 11:15 pm

    In the aftermath of this tragedy the world has seen a vivid example of Christ in the way these dear people have responded. None of them are blaming the government, or police, or video games for the evil that seemed to prevail in that school room. They accepted this as no greater than what our Lord Jesus Christ suffered.

    I am deeply saddened by the seemingly useless loss of such young lives. But in the grand scheme of things, God has a greater plan than any of us realize.

    God bless the Amish folks and may their grace be a lesson to us all.

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