Appalachian School of Law Shootings

This shows the part of each story that mentions how Peter O. was captured. The full text of these stories is here, while an index is here

Fri, 18 Jan 2002

Law school rampage

Townsville Bulletin/Townsville Sun (Australia)

GRUNDY, Virginia—A student who had been dismissed from law school went on a campus shooting spree, killing the dean, a professor and a student before he was tackled by students, authorities said.

The attack on Wednesday also wounded three female students at the Appalachian School of Law. They were hospitalised in a fair condition.

“When I arrived there were bodies lying everywhere,” said Dr Jack Briggs, one of the first to arrive after the shooting.

Dean Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell were gunned down in their offices. Police said the third person slain was student Angela Dales, 33.

Authorities said the suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, 42, was at school to meet the dean about his academic dismissal, which came into effect that day. Dr Briggs said Odighizuwa, a naturalised US citizen from Nigeria, had flunked out last year and been allowed to return to the school.

Odighizuwa first stopped in the office of Professor Dale Rubin to talk about his grades and reportedly asked Professor Rubin to pray for him, police said. Professor Rubin declined to comment.

Odighizuwa then walked to Mr Sutin’s and Professor Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-calibre pistol, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said.

Witnesses said Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing Professor Dales and seriously wounding three others.

Todd Ross, 30, was among the students who were outside when Odighizuwa left the building. Ross said the suspect held his hands in the air and dropped the gun at his prompting.

“He struggled after we got him on the ground, but then just laid there,” Mr Ross said. “He kept shouting ‘I have nowhere to go’.”

Odighizuwa was being held at the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three weapons counts.

Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Governor Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability.

First-year student Justin Marlowe said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself,” Mr Marlowe said.

He said that after Odighizuwa “flunked out” a year ago, “the dean bent over backward to enrol him again”.

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