'Don't Try To Talk Me out of It'

In retrospect -- even just on paper -- the words chill the soul.

"Don't try to talk me out of it. Get 'em all off the property now."

Charles Roberts, the gunman who shot 10 schoolgirls and killed five, is heard talking to a 911 operator on Oct. 2.

The Lancaster County District Attorney's office released the transcripts of the 911 calls that preceded the deadly rampage.

"He appeared very calm,'' Lancaster County District Attorney Don Totaro told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit. "I would describe it as a flat affect to his voice, and there was no background noise. You couldn't hear any of the victims in the background,'' he said, pausing. "Saying anything at all.''

"It was very chilling in hindsight,'' Totaro said, "to listen to that conversation and realize what he was about to do.''

For almost a week, Roberts, the local milkman had been stockpiling enough weaponry and supplies to carry out a prolonged, merciless siege on the minds and the bodies of a group of little girls.

Furious at God, tortured by the 1997 death of his infant daughter, Elise, and seemingly helpless to control unthinkable urges, Roberts moved methodically through the final routines of the last day of his life. There were virtually no indications of what he was about to do.

911 DISPATCHER: Do you have an emergency?


911 DISPATCHER: OK, what's the address of the emergency?"

ROBERTS: It's on White Oak Road. I just took, uh, 10 girls hostage and I want everybody off the property or, or else.

911 DISPATCHER: OK, all right.


911 DISPATCHER: Sir I want you to stay on the phone with me, OK? I'm going to let the state police down there. I need to let you talk to them. OK, can I transfer you to them?

ROBERTS: No, you tell them and that's it. Right now or they're dead, in two seconds.

911 DISPATCHER: (to unidentified) He won't let me transfer.

(to Roberts) Hang on a minute. We're trying to tell them, OK.

ROBERTS: Two seconds, that's it.

911 DISPATCHER: Sir, listen to me. Listen? (line goes dead)

One by one, the 911 operators took frantic calls from witnesses.

The first call came in at 10: 35 a.m. from resident Amos Smoker.

SMOKER: There's a, there's a guy in the school with a gun.

Three minutes later, an obviously distressed Marie Roberts, the wife of Carl Roberts called 911

M. ROBERTS: Yes, my name is Marie Roberts. My husband just called me on his cell phone and told me that he wasn't going to be coming home, and that the police were there and not to worry about it. And I have no idea what he is talking about, but I am really scared. And I wondered if how I find out what's going on?

After getting her name, the dispatcher asked the woman to confirm her husband had called on a cell phone.

M. ROBERTS: Yes, he did.

911 DISPATCHER: OK and, all he said to you was that?

M. ROBERTS: I'm not coming home, um, he was upset about something that had happened 20 years ago, and he said he was getting revenge for it. I don't think he was getting revenge on another person. I'm worried that maybe he was trying to commit suicide.

As painstaking seconds passed, another dispatcher asked Roberts to repeat her name and her husband's name.

M.ROBERTS: Charlie Roberts,

911 DISPATCHER: What does he look like?

M. ROBERTS: He is 6 foot 2, short brown, you know like buzzed brown hair, um, he is 32 years old, wears glasses. I guess he's maybe like 195 pounds.

911 DISPATCHER: OK, you say he left notes?


  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...