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Relatives: Gunman 'seemed fine' before shooting

From Shannon Troetel
CNN
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GEORGETOWN, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A married father of three, Charles Carl Roberts IV seemed fine the night before he barricaded himself in an Amish schoolhouse and shot 10 girls, killing five of them, his grandfather-in-law said Thursday.

Lloyd Welk, grandfather of Roberts' wife Marie Roberts, appeared shaken as he spoke to reporters while mourners passed his home en route to nearby funeral services for four of the girls.

"It's rough, it's rough," he said, talking about the ordeal. Welk said Marie and Charles Roberts and their three children stopped by their home Sunday night and everything appeared normal.

Just hours later, his grandson-in-law armed himself and burst into a schoolhouse, shot the girls and shot and killed himself as police stormed the building.

"We had no indication there was anything wrong," Welk said. He "seemed fine."

"It must have been building up inside of him," Welk said, describing Roberts, who he said was home-schooled as a boy and was known to friends as Charley.

Welk's daughter, Jacquie Hess, displayed a photo of the Roberts family, and said she saw no evidence that her niece's husband would commit such acts. (Watch how the Amish have already forgiven the killer -- 2:46)

"The Charley that I knew is the Charley that you see smiling in the picture," Hess said. "I never heard an angry word coming from him. I never saw an angry manner coming from him."

Funerals for four of the victims were scheduled for Thursday, and the fifth will be Friday. (Full story)

Welk said he had only begun to know Roberts as he started seeing his granddaughter shortly before they married in 1996.

On Tuesday, police revealed that Roberts had told his wife he molested young relatives 20 years ago and was dreaming about molesting children again. When asked about Roberts' claims about the molestation, Welk said, "We don't know."

Police said Wednesday that they located two relatives Roberts allegedly molested when they were between ages 3 and 5, and both "are confident they were never assaulted by Roberts," said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Linette Quinn.

Welk said his granddaughter Marie and their three children, Abigail, 7, Bryce, 5, and Carson, 18 months, have traveled "out of town," as police and reporters descended on the quiet, rural community.

In a written statement released to reporters Monday, Marie Roberts said, "The man that did this today was not the Charley I've been married to for almost 10 years. My husband was loving, supportive, thoughtful. All the things you'd always want and more. He was an exceptional father."

Welk said he had met Tuesday with family members of one of the dead girls, 13-year-old Marian Fisher, for about 30 to 45 minutes. Hess accompanied her father to the meeting, and said family members embraced them.

"They were very consoling," Hess said. "They offered us their sympathy. They let us know that there was no hard feelings. They felt more sorrow for us because of what we were going through, than what they were going through."

"It's been very hard," Hess said. "It's something that we don't believe that has happened and that we still don't believe that has happened."

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Jacquie Hess, the gunman's aunt-in-law, said, "It's something that we don't believe that has happened."

How to help

The Nickel Mines School Victims Fund
c/o HomeTowne Heritage Bank
P.O. Box 337
Strasburg, PA 17579

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