Mother cares for her son’s Amish victims
…It was Oct. 2, 2006, and Charles Carl Roberts IV had just shot 10 Amish schoolgirls before turning the gun on himself. Five girls died. Five others were seriously wounded. The shooting shocked this quiet, rural county and horrified countless outsiders glued to the nonstop media coverage.
“Not only was my son not alive, he was the perpetrator of the worst crime anyone could ever imagine,” Terri Roberts said.
After the shooting, the world was riveted by the remarkable display of compassion shown by the Amish, as the quiet Christian sect embraced the Roberts family and strove to forgive its troubled sinner.
Five years after the shooting, the other side of the story is not well-known — that of a grief-torn mother seeking the still, small voice of God in the aftermath of tragedy.
One place where Terri has found peace is at the bedside of her son’s most damaged, living victim — a paralyzed schoolgirl, now 11.
During their weekly visit, Terri bathes and talks to her, brushes her hair and sings hymns.
“As we reach out in ways that bring a touch, we can find great healing,” Terri said.
Terri Roberts, now 60, declines most media requests.
But she has shared her story at conferences and churches. In March, Faith Church in Lancaster posted an audio recording of her spiritual testimony on its website; she confirmed its accuracy for this article.
On the day of the shooting, Terri crawled into a fetal position, feeling as if her insides were ripped apart. Chuck, a retired policeman, cried into a tea towel, unable to lift his head. He wore skin off his face wiping away tears…
Later that evening, an Amish neighbor named Henry, whom Terri calls her “angel in black,” arrived at their house…
“Roberts, we love you,” Henry insisted, and continued to comfort Chuck for nearly an hour.
Finally, Chuck looked up. “Thank you, Henry,” he said.
“I just looked at that and said, ‘Oh Lord, my husband will heal through this. I was just so thankful for Henry that day,” Terri said…