Appalachian School of Law Shootings

You can see the part of each story below that mentions how Peter O. was captured here, while an index is here

Fri, 18 Jan 2002

Shattered town mourns ‘irreplaceable’ victims killed during campus shooting spree

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

Hundreds of people gathered to remember a dean, a professor and a student who were killed during a campus shooting spree, allegedly by a man described as “off-balance” and prone to violence.

Students lit tiny white candles and wept in small, shivering circles at the Appalachian School of Law as they remembered the victims Thursday.

“They were irreplaceable, whether you see them as teachers or father figures or friends,” said William Sievers, 25, president of the school’s Student Bar Association. “It’s going to be tough going back to school.”

Peter Odighizuwa, 43, a troubled law student who had recently flunked out of school for a second time, opened fire with a handgun at the school on Wednesday, police said.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell were slain in their offices and student Angela Dales, 33, died later at a hospital. Three other students were wounded.

Kenneth Brown said his fellow students always joked that Odighizuwa was one of those guys who would finally crack and bring a gun to school.

“He was kind of off-balance,” said Brown, 28. “When we met last year, he actually came up and shook my hand and asked my name. Then, like five minutes later he came back and said, ‘You know I’m not crazy, but people tick me off sometimes.’ Out of the blue.”

Odighizuwa, a native of Nigeria, faces three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges.

At an arraignment Thursday, Odighizuwa told the judge he was sick and needed help.

“I was supposed to see my doctor,” Odighizuwa said, hiding his face behind a green arrest warrant. “He was supposed to help me out … I don’t have my medication.”

Prosecutor Sheila Tolliver said she will seek the death penalty.

Students described Sutin as a hands-on administrator who knew all of his students’ names.

“He just had this integrity about him,” said Mary Kilpatrick, who will graduate in a semester.

Blackwell, a father of three, was remembered as an avid runner and trumpet player. He recently performed with his family in a Christmas show at a local elementary school, said professor Stewart Harris.

Dales, a mother of an 8-year-old girl, became a student after working as a recruiter for the school. She wanted to work in law education.

Odighizuwa was arrested on Aug. 15 for allegedly assaulting his wife. The police report said he hit her in the face, bruising her right eye.

Chief Deputy Randall Ashby said Odighizuwa repeatedly approached police with concerns about people breaking into his house on the outskirts of this small town in western Virginia.

Grundy, a gritty coal town of about 1,100 in the shadow of two great mountain ridges, has long been isolated from violent crime, the Rev. Stan Parris said at an afternoon memorial at the Grundy Baptist Church. He asked the crowd of a few hundred to pray and reassured them that “God will bring justice.”

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