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

Tue, 22 Jan 2002

Students return to law school where gunman killed three, including dean and professor

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

Ted Besen says he had yearned to become a defense attorney, but changed his mind in the wake of the slayings of the dean, a professor and another student at the Appalachian School of Law.

“I don’t ever want to defend someone like him,” Besen said.

The former Marine and police officer was among several students who tackled former classmate Peter Odighizuwa on the school’s front lawn after last week’s shootings.

When classes resume Wednesday at the school, Besen, 37, and others said they’ll return with mixed emotions.

“You just feel violated somehow,” Besen said Tuesday at a nearby restaurant.

“I’ve been having bad dreams,” said 42-year-old Mary Kilpatrick. “I guess there’s no more security in law schools than there is any other place.”

Kilpatrick said she and about 20 other students spent most of Monday in the school lounge, scrubbing blood stains from the rug and rearranging furniture.

“It’s therapeutic being back here; it keeps my mind off of things,” Kilpatrick said.

Police say Odighizuwa shot Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell in their offices last Wednesday, then opened fire in the school lounge, killing student Angela Dales and injuring three others.

Odighizuwa, 43, had recently learned he’d flunked out for the second time. He’s charged with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.

“We’re going to have an unofficial class reunion the day he gets the chair,” said Matthew Harvey, who spent the week driving between memorial services with other students.

The school reopened Tuesday, holding a two-hour counseling session and discussing the class schedule for the rest of the semester.

Outside, faculty and students wrote good-bye messages in memorial books that will be given to victims’ families.

“I keep expecting Dean Sutin to come back,” said 22-year-old Melanie Page. “I just miss them all so much.”

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 004

With mixed feelings, students return to law school

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Ted Besen glares over the crumbs of his sandwich, still angry about the former classmate who police say killed his school’s dean, a professor and another student in a shooting that shattered the peace of this tiny coal town.

“You just feel violated somehow,” Besen, 37, said Tuesday at a restaurant near the Appalachian School of Law. The former Marine and police officer was one of several students who charged Peter Odighizuwa, tackling him on the school’s front lawn, after the shootings last week.

When classes resume Wednesday at the Appalachian School of Law, Besen and others said they’ll return with mixed emotions. For certain, they said, nothing will be the same. v

“I’ve been having bad dreams,” said Mary Kilpatrick, 42, a third-year student from Kingsport, Tenn. “I guess there’s no more security in law schools than there is any other place.”

Odighizuwa, 43, is accused of gunning down Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, in their offices last Wednesday, and of opening fire in the school lounge, killing Angela Dales, 33, and injuring three others, police said. v

Odighizuwa, a former teacher from Dayton, Ohio, had recently learned he’d flunked out of school for the second time. v

Authorities have charged him with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. Prosecutor Sheila Tolliver is seeking the death penalty.

“We’re going to have an unofficial class reunion the day he gets the chair,” said Matthew Harvey, 24, who spent the week driving between memorial services with other students.

Kilpatrick said she and about 20 other students spent most of Monday in the school lounge, scrubbing out blood stains in the rug and rearranging furniture.

“It’s therapeutic being back here; it keeps my mind off of things,” Kilpatrick said. v

The school reopened on Tuesday, holding a two-hour counseling session and discussing the class schedule for the rest of the semester. President Lucius Ellsworth announced that Marquette University Professor Jeffrey Kinsler has been hired to take over Sutin’s class on constitutional law.

Kinsler, who was planning to join the law school staff in the fall, will share teaching duties with both schools this semester, Ellsworth said.

Outside, faculty and students wrote good-bye messages in memorial books that will eventually be given to the victims’ families. They stepped out on the school’s front steps and released yellow and green balloons, watching quietly as the balloons rose above the hills and disappeared into a clear blue sky.

“I keep expecting Dean Sutin to come back,” said Melanie Page, 22. “I just miss them all so much.”

Wounded students Rebecca Brown, 38, of Roanoke and Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy both have been released from the hospital. Stacey Beans, 22, of Berea, Ky., was discharged from Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center Tuesday. All three plan to spend time with family before returning to school.

But the memories will last forever.

Besen said he can still hear the shrieks of fleeing students when gunfire first ripped through the school. His wife had applied to Appalachian Law School in hopes of also pursuing a legal education, but now it’s likely they’ll move away after he graduates in June.

Besen said he was thinking of working as a defense attorney when he applied to the Appalachian School of Law. But Odighizuwa has changed his mind.

“I don’t ever want to defend someone like him.”

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 027

Mon, 21 Jan 2002

Blue-collar Appalachian community embraces its new law school in time of crisis

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

It seemed like a risky proposition: building a law school in a small struggling coal town isolated by the rugged Appalachian Mountains.

But with area mines closing and the young moving away to find work, town officials pushed ahead, opening the Appalachian School of Law in 1997 inside an old brick school house.

“We needed this, anything that could help,” said W.H. Trivett, 77, mayor of the blue-collar town of about 1,100.

It took time for the new students to gain acceptance in the close-knit community where many residents’ families had lived for generations.

“We had to get used to people from different cultures living here - and they had to get used to us,” said Richie Mullins, 35, who sells law school text books out of his bicycle store on Main Street.

But any lingering doubts students and faculty may have had about their neighbors’ feelings disappeared last week as the town responded after a disgruntled former student allegedly walked into the school and shot to death the dean, a professor and a student.

In the days that followed, signs of support appeared throughout Grundy.

“ASL our thoughts and prayers are with you,” read a banner in the parking lot of Rife’s TV.

A grocery in nearby Vansant donated ham biscuits, cookies and soda pop to the Baptist church for a memorial service.

Loweda Gillespie, 61, tied yellow ribbons around store fronts, telephone poles and trees.

“We wanted to let them know we’re family,” Gillespie said.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin, 42, and Professor Tom Blackwell, 41, were slain in their offices Wednesday. Law student Angela Dales, 33, died later at the hospital. Three other students were wounded.

The gunfire sent terrified students running from the building before classmates tackled the alleged shooter. Peter Odighizuwa, 43, who had been dismissed from the school because of failing grades, is charged with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. The prosecutor said she will seek the death penalty.

Residents attended memorial services throughout the week, placing flowers on the school’s concrete sign as victims’ families and friends wept in small, shivering circles.

“It’s so heartwarming to see this,” school president Lucius Ellsworth said Saturday. “There’s no doubt that out of this tragedy, this community has united.”

For decades, officials wanted to build a law school in southwest Virginia to create jobs and provide a legal resource for the remote mountain area.

“In all rural areas, there is a real lack of legal education,” said Ellsworth, a former education official in Tennessee and vice chancellor of Clinch Valley College in Wise. Before the law school came to Grundy, there was no other law school within a three-hour drive.

The Appalachian School of Law now has about 200 students. The American Bar Association granted it provisional accreditation last year. And everyone at the school - students and faculty alike - is required to support the town with 25 hours of community service per term.

Students, many of whom are older and looking for a second career, tutor Grundy school children.

“These kids, the way they’re allowed to work with the public, I’m sure they’re getting a better education than they could in other places,” Trivett said.

Among the faculty, Blackwell was one of the most involved. His children regularly helped out at the Mountain Mission School, a local agency for orphans and children of extreme poverty. He and his wife, Lisa, sang in a church choir, and he was on a committee to find a new pastor.

“Y’all have become our family,” Lisa Blackwell said at a memorial service for her husband Friday. “We have more love here than we could possibly have asked for.”

Blackwell’s funeral was planned for Monday in Dallas, where the family lived before moving to Grundy. A private memorial service for Sutin was held Sunday at the local high school.

“He came to Grundy because he thought he could use his talents to help people in Appalachia, and to help boost the economy of a small coal town,” said Kent Markus, Sutin’s former Harvard Law School roommate and one of about 500 people who attended the service. “He was trying to help the sons and grandsons of coal miners.”

At the law school, classes were expected to resume Tuesday. The faculty shuffled around schedules to cover Blackwell’s classes, and Paul Lund, who has been assistant dean, was appointed to fill Sutin’s role until a new dean can be hired.

“As horrific as this has been, I’m certain the institution will be stronger,” Ellsworth said.

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 029

Sun, 20 Jan 2002

SHOOTING HITS MANY LIVES;

Laurence Hammack, Kimberly O’Brien And Lindsey Nair
Roanoke Times & World News (Roanoke, VA)

Spring semester was one week old, and the Appalachian School of Law was returning to full academic life.

At a weekly coffee meeting for students and faculty, professor Thomas Blackwell chatted with first-year student Mikael Gross about practice exams.

Anthony Sutin, dean of the school, finished some research at the law library and headed back to his office.

Student Angela Dales talked with classmates during a break between classes.

Everyone at the school was busy and preoccupied with the work that lay ahead.

Everyone, that is, except Peter Odighizuwa.

Odighizuwa, described as a troubled loner unable to cope with his failure as a law student, had recently been told that he had flunked out of school. Yet Odighizuwa refused to leave, lurking around campus and complaining bitterly about how the school had treated him.

Wednesday afternoon, Odighizuwa returned to the school.

Instead of law books, he carried a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun.


Professor Gail Kintzer was in her second-floor office about 1:15 p.m. talking with a student when she heard the first shot.

“I heard a pop, which made me stop, and a second pop, which I knew was a gunshot,” she said.

Someone - she’s not sure who - opened Kintzer’s door, and two secretaries rushed in. Melanie Lewis, Sutin’s secretary, and Donna Horn, a faculty secretary, were hysterical.

Lewis and Horn had just seen Peter Odighizuwa shoot Blackwell, two offices down the hall, Kintzer said.

Professor Wes Shinn, whose office is next to Blackwell’s, had opened his door long enough to see Lewis and Horn standing horrified in the hallway.

“He’s got a gun; he’s got a gun,” the women screamed.

Once the women got inside Kintzer’s office, they crawled under her desk.

Kintzer tried to call for help. All emergency numbers were busy, swamped by calls from others who had heard the shots.

As Horn and Lewis ran into Kintzer’s office, Shinn ducked back into his office and slammed the door. “My assumption was that he was going to go from office to office,” he said.

Shinn heard two more shots that seemed to come from farther down the hall.

He ventured out and found Blackwell still sitting behind his desk. He was slumped over in his chair and bleeding from the neck. Shinn checked for a pulse and found none.

Blackwell’s telephone was off the hook.

At the time he was shot, Blackwell was on the phone with Charlotte Varney, the secretary of his church. They were talking about an upcoming congregational meeting at Buchanan First Presbyterian Church.

Suddenly, Blackwell stopped talking.

Varney heard a sound as if someone had blown up a paper bag, then popped it. Then she heard the phone drop and what sounded like static. After that, she heard muffled voices and footsteps.

“I asked him what was going on, but he didn’t come back on the line,” she said.

After about two minutes, Varney thought she had been disconnected. So she hung up and went on an errand, figuring Blackwell would call her back if he needed to.

A half-hour passed before she learned the truth.

Meanwhile, Kintzer and Shinn had rushed down the hall to Sutin’s office. They were met by another professor who had found the dean lying face down on the floor of his office. Two powder burns - indicating that he had been shot at close range - could be seen on Sutin’s bloodstained white dress shirt. Sutin had also been shot a third time, in the side.

He was dead, too.


Downstairs, most people did not realize what had just happened.

Arun Rattan, a first-year student, had just returned from lunch at the Italian Village, a downtown eatery frequented by students. He was with Stacey Bean and her boyfriend, James Davis.

They walked into the Lions Lounge, a lobby area named for the two statues of crouched lions that stood near the entrance. About 20 students were in the lounge, sitting in sofas and chairs or passing through on the way to class.

Sensing movement behind him, Rattan glanced over his left shoulder and saw Odighizuwa standing next to him. It appeared he had just come down the stairs that led to Sutin’s office.

“I looked at him, and he just nodded his head at me,” Rattan said.

It was only after Odighizuwa walked past him that Rattan realized he had a gun. “I didn’t think it was a real gun at first,” he said.

Odighizuwa walked up to the couch where students Angela Dales, Rebecca Brown and Madeline Short were sitting.

Standing about five feet from the women, Odighizuwa opened fire, Rattan said.

“Run! Run!” panicked students yelled. Rattan fled out a side door and ran behind the library, next to the school’s main building.

Rose Hurley, director of career services, was in her first-floor office adjacent to the lounge talking to two students when they heard the shots.

One of the students, Peter Tsahiridis, got up, closed the office door and locked it. The trio huddled together, trying to figure out what to do. When the commotion in the lounge stopped, they ventured out.

In the doorway of the career services office lay Dales. Blood was pouring from her neck. Tsahiridis tried to help.

Short was lying nearby. The bullet had entered her back, ripping through her abdomen and liver.

Bean was also down, bleeding from the chest.

Brown, despite being shot in the abdomen, had been able to run to the library.


Outside, Mikael Gross was walking back from lunch with a group of friends when they heard a gunshot.

It seemed to have come from the second floor. The sound was as if something had hit tin, followed by a whizzing noise. Later, he would learn that it was the bullet that went through Sutin’s window.

But then, his focus was on the end of the building, where students were pouring out of the entrance to the Lions Lounge.

“Peter O’s got a gun! Run!” someone yelled.

Odighizuwa was known on campus simply as “Peter O” because most people could not pronounce his last name. The Nigerian immigrant spoke with a heavy accent that made him hard to understand - something that may have contributed to his sense of alienation on the campus. As students heard the news, many recalled the deep anger that Odighizuwa harbored.

“You never knew with him,” Rattan said.

Students were scattering. Third-year student Ted Besen crept along the side of the building toward Odighizuwa, who had just come outside from the lounge. Gross sprinted for his car, about 100 yards away, and retrieved a bulletproof vest and a 9 mm handgun. Back home in North Carolina, he’s an officer with the Grifton Police Department.

He ran back, gun in hand.

By then, Odighizuwa had placed his gun and a clip on a light fixture about four feet off the ground and put his hands in the air. He was yelling something unintelligible to the students, Besen said. Besen, a former Marine and Wilmington, N.C., police officer, told him to get onto the ground.

Besen had heard shots on the second floor while waiting for a class to start. He and fellow student Tracy Bridges, another former police officer, had ushered students down the back stairs to safety before Besen went to his car to get his own gun.

Now, outside the Lions Lounge, Besen was taking a punch on the jaw from Odighizuwa. As the two wrestled, third-year student Todd Ross ran up and tackled Odighizuwa in the legs, hard. All three went down.

More students had reached the scene, helping hold Odighizuwa. Bridges sat on him. Gross ran back to his car to get handcuffs.

Before he did so, he heard Odighizuwa muttering: “I had to do it. I didn’t know what else to do. I had nowhere else to go.”

Handcuffed, Odighizuwa lay outside the building while people rushed into the lounge to help the wounded. A Buchanan County sheriff’s deputy showed up and put the suspect into his car.

Ambulances were nowhere to be seen.

But inside the lounge, a rescue was unfolding.


Melissa McCall-Burton had just returned from the nearby Subway for her 1:30 p.m. class when she learned what happened. The former emergency room nurse took her medical bag from her car and ran into the lounge.

The first victim McCall-Burton saw was Dales, lying in the career services office doorway. Right after being shot, Dales had been talking, according to Besen. But as McCall-Burton worked on Dales, she went into cardiac arrest. McCall-Burton was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation when Dr. Jack Briggs, nurse practitioner Susan Looney and registered nurse Carol Breeding arrived.

Briggs had been in his office, just a few miles down the road, when an announcement came over the speaker system: “Dr. Briggs, pick up the phone, stat!”

It was Hurley, still holed up in the career services office. She knew Briggs had a background in emergency medicine and wasn’t far away. And Briggs knew that a state police helicopter was waiting at Buchanan General Hospital to take one of his patients to Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn. He called for it to be held.

Then he rushed from his office, his nurses in tow.

In the lounge, Looney took over Dales’ care. The others checked Short and Bean.

Briggs figured that all four injured women needed blood. But he knew it would take too long for ambulances to arrive. Both Grundy ambulances were on other calls, and other units were 20 minutes away.

The women needed to go to the hospital - immediately. So some students volunteered their own vehicles.

Stephanie Mutter backed her Toyota 4-Runner to the lobby doors. Short was put inside on a table, which just hours earlier had held coffee and snacks at the student-faculty gathering. Now, the table was one of several makeshift gurneys; the leftover food was dumped onto the floor as the bleeding women were taken out, one by one.

Students Daniel Boyd and Rob Sievers, president of the student bar association, jumped into Mutter’s vehicle with Short and made sure she didn’t fall out the open back door. Others took Brown and Bean.

Every time Mutter hit a bump, Short cried out.

“We were just glad she was talking,” Mutter said.

Honking and screaming for help, Mutter pulled up to Buchanan General Hospital, a few miles from the law school. Emergency room nurses rushed to their aid.

Dales, meanwhile, was on her way to the hospital.

The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office had called the Grundy Funeral Home, which used to run an ambulance service and still helps police during emergencies. Funeral director T.C. Mullins sent four men with a hearse. They weren’t sure whether they were going for a patient or a corpse.

Dales, still alive, was loaded into the hearse, but died shortly after reaching the hospital. Brown, Short and Bean were taken away in two state police helicopters.

“I wish we’d gotten Angela first,” Mutter thought when she heard the woman had died.


By then, Odighizuwa was locked up. By the next morning, he had been charged with three counts of capital murder and three counts of attempted capital murder. Prosecutors have said they will seek a death sentence.

Now, a man who once aspired to be a lawyer must rely on one to save his life.

Laurence Hammack can be reached at

981-3239 or laurenceh@roanoke.com.

Kimberly O’Brien can be reached at

981-3334 or kimo@roanoke.com.

Lindsey Nair can be reached at

981-3349 or lindseyn@roanoke.com.

CORRECTION-DATE: January 31, 2002

Correction

The Jan. 21 story on the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law reversed the roles of two of the students involved in apprehending the suspect. The passage should read: Ted Besen had heard shots on the second floor while waiting for a class to start. He and fellow student Tracy Bridges, another former police officer, had ushered students down the back stairs to safety before Bridges went to his car to get his own gun. (library note: the story ran Jan. 20.)

/nd/tackle/gun | 054

Law School Shootings Neither …


The Washington Post

Neither of them was from Grundy, a small, struggling town in far southwest Virginia. L. Anthony Sutin was a former Justice Department official and Harvard Law School graduate from Washington. Peter Odighizuwa, born in Nigeria, was an ex-cabbie, late of Chicago.

Both Sutin and Odighizuwa came to Grundy because of the Appalachian School of Law, a start-up school in a refurbished junior high building that was intended to bring outsiders to the depressed coal-mining area. Sutin was the school’s dean, Odighizuwa a failing student.

On Wednesday, police say, Odighizuwa shot and killed Sutin, a professor and a 33-year-old student. Three other students were injured in the rampage, which apparently began when Odighizuwa received bad academic news and ended when three students—all former police officers—subdued him. “I guess a good word to describe everyone is amazed and shocked by what they’ve seen today,” said Bill Neeley, who lives in town and works in the corporate office of Food City. “You read and you hear about things like this, but you never expect it to happen here.”

Police said that Odighizuwa had a conference with a professor about his academic standing and that as he left, he told the professor to pray for him. He then walked into the office of Sutin, who had worked for the D.C. offices of Hogan & Hartson as well as the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.

Sutin was shot at close range, authorities said. Odighizuwa then shot professor Thomas F. Blackwell in another office, walked downstairs and opened fire in a lounge, police said. Student Angela Denise Dales was killed, and the three others injured, before students grabbed Odighizuwa.

School officials, who had previously celebrated the life that the law school breathed into the town, were left wondering what the impact of Thursday’s events would be.

“We’ll go forward as we have since this school started,” said Joseph E. Wolfe, vice chairman of the board. “It’s certainly going to be something that’s going to be ingrained in the history of the school.”

Marty Schottenheimer was fired as head coach of the Washington Redskins last Sunday, and the next day former University of Florida coach Steve Spurrier was named his successor.

History will judge the import of these decisions, but Redskins fans were not as patient.

“A shame,” bartender Carl Monaco said. “Schottenheimer should have been given more of a shot.”

“I really think he could have turned it around,” building engineer Maurice Colter said.

Most Redskins fans said Schottenheimer wasn’t given enough time by team owner Dan Snyder. Snyder fired his coach after barely a year on the job—a year in which the team started 0-5 but came back to finish 8-8.

“I think Marty is a fine coach,” Snyder said the night of the firing. “But it became clear that the Redskins and Marty had irreconcilable differences.”

Schottenheimer mentioned the differences, too, at a cordial news conference in which he took the “high road” when asked about the firing. Schottenheimer said the disagreement with Snyder came when Schottenheimer refused to give up control over which players would be on the team.

The new coach, known for being outspoken while at Florida, told reporters that he had grown up a Redskins fan and that he looked forward to coaching in Washington.

“They’re the best fans in the NFL,” said Spurrier of his new constituents. “It’s so loud there.”

Fans in Washington also said they looked forward to Spurrier’s arrival, as well as his high-flying “Fun ‘n’ Gun” offense, which holds the promise of producing more touchdowns than Schottenheimer’s cautious system.

“I think it’s terrible to have abandoned” Schottenheimer, said Donald Tyghe, a patron at Mister Days sports bar in Arlington. “But I like the idea of having an air offense in town.”

The governors of Maryland and Virginia were both preaching frugality, as projected budget shortfalls caused them to suggest that their states dip into “rainy day” funds, cut spending and consider changes in tax policy.

Mark R. Warner (D), elected to the high office in Richmond this fall, made his first speech to the Republican-dominated General Assembly on Monday. Warner said that state budgets would have to be cut and suggested he would support a referendum on a tax increase to pay for transportation in Northern Virginia.

“I would like to tell you that our commonwealth’s finances are sound—but everyone in this chamber knows that they are not,” said Warner, speaking from the dais in the state’s House of Delegates. He formally endorsed dipping into the state’s rainy day fund for $ 467 million.

In Annapolis, Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) proposed his final state budget Tuesday. Glendening also proposed tapping emergency funds, and he said the state should delay a promised income tax cut.

Some in Annapolis criticized Glendening for using what they called one-time fixes. But Glendening said it was necessary to cut into the state’s savings to maintain social services.

“When the private sector is contracting, people turn to government for help,” he said. “We are the safety net.”

A four-legged, bushy-tailed intruder turned the normally staid U.S. Supreme Court building upside down.

A fox was seen scampering past the building’s security perimeter Sunday morning before it disappeared into a basement parking garage. Because foxes can carry rabies, court officials closed the building for a few hours while they looked for the animal. No luck.

Traps—humane, of course—were set to catch the animal. Fox-hunting dogs were brought in from an unnamed Virginia hunt club. One briefly picked up the animal’s scent in the basement, but then lost it.

Staffers were warned not to approach the animal, and (warily) court operations went on.

Foxes, apparently, are common in District parks, but have been seen more frequently in urban environments in recent days. Jim Monsma, of the Washington Humane Society, said the fox at the court could be a young male looking for his own territory.

“They’re real good at hiding,” Monsma said.

A D.C. slumlord, who agreed to live in one of his decrepit buildings to avoid a jail sentence, hasn’t been spending much time there after all, police said.

A D.C. police officer, assigned to make sure that Rufus Stancil really was living in the dilapidated building at 2922 Sherman Ave. NW, dropped by one morning to find that Stancil wasn’t there. Stancil admitted that he only was in the building from midnight to 5 a.m. most days.

That wasn’t good enough for District lawyers, who asked a judge to prescribe specific hours during which Stancil had to be in the building and to require him to wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure compliance. The Office of the Corporation Counsel specifically asked for Stancil to be in the building from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekdays, and all day on weekends except for blocks between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Stancil’s attorney insisted that “the court cannot worsen the sentence. There is a ton of case law on that.” He did, however, say that some compromise might be worked out that would require Stancil to be in the building by 10 p.m. weekdays. Stancil’s major objection was to the weekend requirements, the lawyer said.

Stancil pleaded guilty to 70 of 429 city housing code violations. His sentence also requires that he complete a renovation plan for the property.

* A Virginia laborer pleaded guilty to bank fraud Tuesday, admitting to charges that he bilked elderly people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to documents filed in federal court, Larry Henderson befriended people with “diminished mental capacity” in Northern Virginia, and convinced them to pay him enormous sums—such as $ 9,000 to mow the lawn or $ 20,000 to trim the shrubs. Henderson could face 30 years in prison on the federal charges, in addition to the six-year state sentence he’s already serving for similar crimes.

* Prince George’s County settled a lawsuit with a man attacked by a county police dog in 1998. The victim, Andrew S. Amann, received more than 200 puncture wounds, though he lay down and surrendered. The officer involved, Cpl. Anthony Mileo, has a history of brutality complaints.

* Dogwood Elementary School in Reston reopened Monday, 14 months after it burned to the ground in a fire caused by faulty wiring. The school’s 550 students endured long bus rides to other schools while Dogwood was rebuilt.

– David A. Fahrenthold

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Blue-collar community embraces its new law school in time of crisis

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

It seemed like a risky proposition: building a law school in a small struggling coal town isolated by the rugged Appalachia Mountains.

But with area mines closing and the young moving away to find work, town officials pushed ahead, opening the Appalachian School of Law in 1997 inside an old brick school house.

“We needed this, anything that could help,” said W.H. Trivett, 77, mayor of the blue-collar town of about 1,100.

It took time for the new students - many from neighboring West Virginia - to gain acceptance in the close-knit community where many residents’ families had lived for generations.

“We had to get used to people from different cultures living here - and they had to get used to us,” said Richie Mullins, 35, who sells law school text books out of his bicycle store on Main Street.

But any lingering doubts students and faculty may have had about their neighbors’ feelings disappeared last week as the town responded after a disgruntled former student allegedly walked into the school and shot to death the dean, a professor and a student. No West Virginia residents were hurt.

In the days that followed, signs of support appeared throughout Grundy.

“ASL our thoughts and prayers are with you,” read a banner in the parking lot of Rife’s TV.

A grocery in nearby Vansant donated ham biscuits, cookies and soda pop to the Baptist church for a memorial service.

Loweda Gillespie, 61, tied yellow ribbons around store fronts, telephone poles and trees.

“We wanted to let them know we’re family,” Gillespie said.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin, 42, and Professor Tom Blackwell, 41, were slain in their offices Wednesday. Law student Angela Dales, 33, died later at the hospital. Three other students were wounded.

The gunfire sent terrified students running from the building before classmates tackled the alleged shooter. Peter Odighizuwa, 43, who had been dismissed from the school because of failing grades, is charged with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. The prosecutor said she will seek the death penalty.

Residents attended memorial services throughout the week, placing flowers on the school’s concrete sign as victims’ families and friends wept in small, shivering circles.

“It’s so heartwarming to see this,” school president Lucius Ellsworth said Saturday. “There’s no doubt that out of this tragedy, this community has united.”

For decades, officials wanted to build a law school in southwest Virginia to create jobs and provide a legal resource for the remote mountain area.

“In all rural areas, there is a real lack of legal education,” said Ellsworth, a former education official in Tennessee and vice chancellor of Clinch Valley College in Wise. Before the law school came to Grundy, there was no other law school within a three-hour drive.

The Appalachian School of Law now has about 200 students. Its graduates were granted special approval from Virginia and West Virginia to take their bar exams in 2000. Last year, the American Bar Association granted the school provisional accreditation.

And everyone at the school - students and faculty alike - is required to support the town with 25 hours of community service per term.

Students, many of whom are older and looking for a second career, tutor Grundy school children.

“These kids, the way they’re allowed to work with the public, I’m sure they’re getting a better education than they could in other places,” Trivett said.

Among the faculty, Blackwell was one of the most involved. His children regularly helped out at the Mountain Mission School, a local agency for orphans and children of extreme poverty. He and his wife, Lisa, sang in a church choir, and he was on a committee to find a new pastor.

“Y’all have become our family,” Lisa Blackwell said at a memorial service for her husband Friday. “We have more love here than we could possibly have asked for.”

Blackwell’s funeral was planned for Monday in Dallas, where the family lived before moving to Grundy. A memorial service for Sutin was held Sunday in the local high school.

At the law school, classes were expected to resume Tuesday. The faculty shuffled around schedules to cover Blackwell’s classes, and Paul Lund, who has been assistant dean, was appointed to fill Sutin’s role until a new dean can be hired.

“As horrific as this has been, I’m certain the institution will be stronger,” Ellsworth said.

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 058

Sat, 19 Jan 2002

Nigerian in US Arraigned for Murder

This Day
Africa News

A Nigeria citizen in the United State, Mr. Peter Odighizuwa was Thursday in Virginia USA, arraigned with the murder of three persons and injuring others.

According to reports Thursday, said Odighizuwa, 43, had on Wednesday killed the dean, a professor and a student of a private law school in Virginia from where he was dismissed a day earlier for poor academic performance. A day following his dismissal, Odighizuwa returned to the Appalachian School of Law and met with the Dean L Anthony Sutin in an attempt to reverse his dismissal.

But when his request was not granted Odighizuwa pulled out his hand gun, killing the dean and a professor who taught him contract law, Thomas Blackwell.

He then went downstairs and opened fire on students, killing one and injuring three others. Some students tackled and handcuffed him before he could do more harm.

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Area officer helps wrestle law school gunman to ground

Jon Ostendorff
The Asheville Citizen-Times

Area officer helps wrestle law school gunman to ground

It wasn’t until Tracy Bridges saw his fellow students grieving at the tiny law school in Virginia that he stopped being a cop and became one of the victims.

“After all that had happened, we went outside and I saw the students in the lobby,” he said. “I knew their faces. It kind of kicked in that I’m just a student here as well.”

Bridges is a reserve Buncombe County sheriff’s deputy and a third-year law student at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., where Peter Odighizuwa was accused of killing three people and wounding three others on Wednesday, just moments after he was dismissed from the school for failing grades.

The day started like any other for the 25-year-old Marshall native, including having lunch with friend Ted Besen of Wilmington. Both cops and North Carolina residents, the men quickly developed a close friendship during their time at the school.

They met for lunch that day then had to rush to make their 1:30 p.m. class. Bridges, anxious to be on time, parked his truck in a faculty spot in front of the building.

He had just opened his book in class when he heard three muffled pops. Several more pops echoed down the hall, closer this time. Then Bridges heard a scream.

Bridges and Besen ran into the hallway and saw a professor. “Peter’s in the building shooting,” the professor shouted.

Bridges ran back into the classroom. “Get out,” he ordered the students. The two men shepherded the students away from danger, down a back stairwell and out of the building.

Bridges and Besen then ran around to the front of the building. They saw Peter Odighizuwa, 43, clutching a handgun. Bridges instantly recognized his classmate, a troubled former student who had flunked out of the 230-student law school.

Bridges remembered the handgun in his truck, parked nearby.

He reached inside and grabbed his weapon. He pointed the handgun at Odighizuwa.

“We continued to approach Peter and he turned and faced us,” Bridges said. The Marshall native shouted at Odighizuwa to drop his gun. The man did as he was ordered.

“Ted was the first one to get to him,” Bridges said. “There was a short altercation. He hit Ted in the jaw and Ted backed up and pushed him off-balance.”

The men wrestled the suspect to the ground and handcuffed him.

Bridges, a Western Carolina University graduate, downplays his life-saving actions. He credits stopping the gunman to teamwork.

“It was me and Ted both,” he said. “We were trained under the North Carolina law enforcement institution and so we kind of have an unspoken communication between each other. And we were able to work together.”

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School massacre accused ‘sick’

Chris Kahn
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)

A FAILED law student accused of killing his dean, a law professor and another student in Richmond, Virginia, told a judge yesterday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into court in leg chains, surrounded by police officers. Hiding his face behind his arrest warrant, he told Judge Patrick Johnson: “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out … I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalised US citizen from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia on Thursday to talk to dean Anthony Sutin about being dismissed for failing his grades.

He shot Mr Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell with a .380-calibre pistol, officials said.

He then went to a common area and opened fire at students.

Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon, officials said.

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it [dismissal] was going to be permanent and final.”

Student Angela Dales, 33, was killed in the rampage, said State Police spokesman Mike Stater. Three others were injured and taken to hospital in fair condition.

Prosecutors charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges for use of a firearm in a felony.

A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom: “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Odighizuwa will remain in custody pending a preliminary hearing on March 21. Known around the rural campus as Peter O, he had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before.

Mr Clifton met Odighizuwa a day earlier when the student learned he was to be kicked out.

Classmates described Odighizuwa as quiet, while others called him “abrasive”.

They said he would regularly have outbursts in class when he was challenged.

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 068

Fri, 18 Jan 2002

Uni shootings


The Advertiser

NEW YORK: A failed law student killed two professors then shot dead a student at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. Three other students, also shot, are in a critical condition. Nigerian foreign exchange student Peter Odighizuma, 43, was disarmed of his .38-calibre automatic pistol by four other students.

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Foreign Student Kills 3 in US

This Day
Africa News

A Nigerian student angry at being dismissed stormed through the campus of the Appalachian School of Law yesterday with a handgun, killing the dean, a professor and a student and wounding three others before he was tackled by fellow students, the Virginia state police reported.

“Come get me, come get me,” the gunman was heard saying as terrorized witnesses ran for their lives, the New York Times reported

“He was a time bomb waiting to go off,” Dr. Jack Briggs, a county coroner, told news reporters about the alleged assailant, Peter Odighizuwa, 42, a student from Nigeria. The authorities said the school had told Odighizuwa on Tuesday that he was being dismissed because of failing grades. State officials said that Odighizuwa, who was charged with three counts of capital murder, had a history of mental instability and that school authorities had sought to help him.

In a running assault, the gunman confronted and fatally shot the law school dean, L. Anthony Sutin, 42, who was a senior Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. Mr. Sutin was shot in his second-floor office, as was Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, a member of the faculty.

The third person killed, Angela Denise Dales, 33, of Vansant, Va., was described as a former law school employee who was widely admired for achieving her dream of finally enrolling as a student. She was shot in the school lounge with a .380 semiautomatic pistol.

The gunfire stunned the campus and surrounding town of 1,100 residents as it delivered death to a school envisioned in the 1990’s as a pastoral outpost to answer the chronic problems of educational need in one of the more distant and impoverished parts of Appalachia. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school and now has 244 students and 19 faculty members.

Sutin was praised by faculty and students as a dedicated pioneer at the school, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who had specialized in legislative affairs for former Attorney General Janet Reno before turning to the school as a fresh adventure. Professor Blackwell, a graduate of Duke University School of Law, was recruited to the faculty from his law practice in Dallas.

The three wounded students, hospitalized in fair to critical condition tonight, were identified as Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke, Va., who was shot in the abdomen; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy, who was shot in the throat; and Stacey Bean, 22, of Berea, Ky., who was shot in the chest.

“There were pools of blood all over,” Chase Goodman, a 27-year-old student, said in describing a scene punctuated with screams and gunfire.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Briggs, who arrived at the first emergency alarm. Two victims suffered point-blank wounds “execution style,” one doctor at the scene said.

/nd/tackle/after18 | 079

Law Student Shoots Six, Kills Three

Vanguard
Africa News

A NIGERIAN student recently suspended by his U.S. law school went on a shooting spree on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding three more, a local coroner and physician said.

The gunman used a .38-calibre semi-automatic handgun at point-blank range to shoot the school s dean and a professor, killing both men, before opening fire on his fellow students in Grundy, Virginia, said Doctor Jack Briggs.

One student was killed, and three more were injured in the rampage at the Appalachian School of Law. One woman was in fair condition and two more were in surgery, hospital staff said. After the rampage, the gunman was tackled by four male students before being arrested, said Briggs, whose medical practice is near the school.

Virginia State Police identified the man they were holding in the shooting as Peter Odighizuwa, 43. They did not immediately release any further details or announce charges.

One victim, the school s Dean, was Anthony Sutin, a former U.S. Justice Department official who worked on the 1992 election campaign for former President Bill Clinton.

Professor Thomas Blackwell was also shot dead in his office in the small law school, located in the Appalachia mountain range, about 500 km southwest of the capital Washington.

Briggs said he knew the gunman, who had complained of stress about half-a-year ago and in hindsight had been “a time bomb ready to go off”.

The student had flunked out of the school last year and, after a second attempt, had been suspended for poor grades.

“So he took his anger out on the people he felt were responsible for him leaving the school,” the doctor said. “I had no idea it would affect him this way.”

The faculty members were “executed”, said Briggs, who described gunpowder burns on the shirt of one victim who was “obviously shot at point-blank range”.

School administrators issued a statement saying they were shocked and saddened by the shooting. Classes were canceled for the rest of the week. A memorial service was held at noon yesterday.

The three wounded students were taken to Buchanan General Hospital and later transferred to other hospitals for treatment.

All three wounded students are women, said Tim Baylor, spokesman for Wellmont health system. Two of them were in surgery and the third was in fair condition, he said.

Police said one student was shot in the abdomen and arm. A second student was shot in the throat and the third student suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.

The law school, with about 170 students enrolled, began offering classes in 1997 at a renovated junior high school about 45 miles north of Bristol.

/nd/tackle/after18 | 080

‘I WAS SICK,’ SAYS STUDENT


Belfast News Letter (Northern Ireland)

A LAW student who is accused of killing his college dean, a professor and another student told a judge yesterday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into Virginia’s Buchanan County Court in leg chains, surrounded by policemen. Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson, “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out. I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalised American from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law yesterday to talk to his dean, Anthony Sutin, about his dismissal for failing grades, officials said.

He shot Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught him, with a pistol, authorities and students said.

He then went to a commons area and opened fire at students, killing Angela Dales, 33, and injuring three others.

Students ended the rampage by tackling him

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew, at this time, that his dismissal was going to be permanent and final.”

Odighizuwa said, as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

/nd/tackle/after18 | 092

Law student: ‘I was sick’;


Bristol Evening Post

AMERICA: A law student who is accused of killing his college dean, a professor and another student told a judge in Virginia yesterday that he is sick and needs help. Peter, a 43-year-old naturalised American from Nigeria, shot his dean at the Appalachian School of Law yesterday as well as professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught him.

He then opened fire on students, killing Angela Dales, 33, and injuring three others. Students ended the rampage by tackling him.

/nd/tackle/after18 | 093

EX-CHARLOTTEAN: I HELPED NAB SUSPECT;

Diane Suchetka
Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)

One of the four students who subdued a gunman at the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia on Wednesday is an N.C. native and former Charlottean.

Mikael Gross, 34, a first-year student at the small school in Grundy, Va., told The Observer he worked as a state alcohol law enforcement agent in Charlotte from 1996 until 1998 and earned a master’s degree in criminal justice at UNC Charlotte in 1997.

Two other men who helped bring the gunman under control also have worked as law enforcement officers in North Carolina - in Asheville and Wilmington, Gross said.

Gross was walking back to the law school from lunch just after 1 p.m. Wednesday with four classmates when he heard a gunshot. He yelled to the others to take cover and watched as students ran from a student lounge in the administration building.

“People were running everywhere,” Gross said. “They were jumping behind cars, running out in front of traffic, trying to get away.”

Gross ran to his car, parked about 100 yards away, without dropping the gunman from his sight, grabbed his bullet-proof vest from his trunk and a gun from under his front seat.

While the man pointed his gun at fellow students, Gross and two others ran toward him from different directions.

One of the others was Tracy Bridges, a Buncombe County sheriff’s deputy from Asheville, who also had his gun, Gross said.

When the gunman saw them, Gross said, he put his weapon down and his hands up.

The third man, Ted Besen, who has worked as a police officer in Wilmington, was not armed and ordered the gunman onto the ground. Instead, the gunman lunged at Besen, punching him in the face.

That’s when a fourth student ran up and tackled the gunman. Gross and Bridges jumped on the gunman, pulled his hands behind his back and held him as he tried to fight them off.

When the gunman was under control, Gross ran back to his car for his handcuffs. Police arrived a minute or so later, he said.

Afterward Gross and the others headed into the administration building to help those who had been shot.

“There was blood everywhere,” Gross said. “It looked like somebody had mopped the floor with blood.”

They put some of the injured onto folding tables turned into gurneys, loaded them into SUVs and drove them to the hospital.

“I let my instinct kick in and did what any good law enforcement officer would do, what any good person would do,” he said.

Gross, who graduated from Oak Ridge Military Academy in Oak Ridge in 1985 and East Carolina University in 1989, has also lived in Raleigh, Burlington and several other N.C. cities.

He worked as the director of police corps training at the N.C. Justice Academy in 1998 and 1999, he said, and the chief of police at Brevard College before heading to law school in August .

During breaks from law school, he works as a police officer in Grifton. His mother, Cecilia Wicker, lives in Charlotte.

/nd/tackle/gun/use | 095

LAW SCHOOL EXECUTIONER TELLS COURT: ‘I NEED HELP’


Daily Record

THE law student accused of killing his dean, his professor and a classmate appeared in court yesterday, and announced: “I’m sick and I need help.”

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into a district court in Grundy, Virginia, in leg chains, surrounded by police officers. Hiding his face behind his arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson: “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out. I don’t have my medication.”

As he was led in, he told reporters: “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Odighizuwa had been kicked out of the Appalachian School of Law for failing exams. But the 43-year-old naturalised US citizen from Nigeria, returned on Wednesday to talk to his dean, L. Anthony Sutin.

In the office, he shot Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell with a .380 -calibre pistol.

He then went downstairs to a common area and opened fire. Student Angela Dales, 33, was killed in the attack. Three other students were injured.

Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon.

School financial officer Chris Clifton said: “He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly.”

/nd/tackle/after18 | 100

Law school executions


The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)

NEW YORK: A failed law student executed two professors and a student at a small US university yesterday.

Three more students are in a critical condition after being shot as they ran through the corridors of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

The gunman, 43-year-old Nigerian foreign exchange student Peter Odighizuma, was eventually wrestled to the ground and disarmed of his .38 automatic pistol by four other students.

The dead included the university’s dean, Anthony Sutin, 41, who advised Bill Clinton’s 1992 Clinton presidential campaign and served under Mr Clinton in the Justice Department.

/nd/tackle/after18 | 104

AAGM: FOREIGN STUDENT KILLS 3 IN US

Mike Oduniyi
This Day (Nigeria): AAGM

A Nigerian student angry at being dismissed stormed through the campus of the Appalachian School of Law yesterday with a handgun, killing the dean, a professor and a student and wounding three others before he was tackled by fellow students, the Virginia state police reported.

“Come get me, come get me,” the gunman was heard saying as terrorized witnesses ran for their lives, the New York Times reported

“He was a time bomb waiting to go off,” Dr. Jack Briggs, a county coroner, told news reporters about the alleged assailant, Peter Odighizuwa, 42, a student from Nigeria. The authorities said the school had told Odighizuwa on Tuesday that he was being dismissed because of failing grades.

State officials said that Odighizuwa, who was charged with three counts of capital murder, had a history of mental instability and that school authorities had sought to help him.

In a running assault, the gunman confronted and fatally shot the law school dean, L. Anthony Sutin, 42, who was a senior Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. Mr. Sutin was shot in his second-floor office, as was Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, a member of the faculty.

The third person killed, Angela Denise Dales, 33, of Vansant, Va., was described as a former law school employee who was widely admired for achieving her dream of finally enrolling as a student. She was shot in the school lounge with a .380 semiautomatic pistol.

The gunfire stunned the campus and surrounding town of 1,100 residents as it delivered death to a school envisioned in the 1990’s as a pastoral outpost to answer the chronic problems of educational need in one of the more distant and impoverished parts of Appalachia. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school and now has 244 students and 19 faculty members.

Sutin was praised by faculty and students as a dedicated pioneer at the school, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who had specialized in legislative affairs for former Attorney General Janet Reno before turning to the school as a fresh adventure. Professor Blackwell, a graduate of Duke University School of Law, was recruited to the faculty from his law practice in Dallas.

The three wounded students, hospitalized in fair to critical condition tonight, were identified as Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke, Va., who was shot in the abdomen; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy, who was shot in the throat; and Stacey Bean, 22, of Berea, Ky., who was shot in the chest.

“There were pools of blood all over,” Chase Goodman, a 27-year-old student, said in describing a scene punctuated with screams and gunfire.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Briggs, who arrived at the first emergency alarm. Two victims suffered point-blank wounds “execution style,” one doctor at the scene said.

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 107

Law school killer

Michael Beach
Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)

A FAILED law student executed two professors then shot dead a fellow student at a small American university yesterday.

Three more students are in a critical condition after being shot as they ran through the corridors of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

The gunman, 43-year-old Nigerian foreign exchange student Peter Odighizuma, was wrestled to the ground and disarmed of his 38-calibre automatic pistol by four other students.

The dead included the university’s dean, Anthony Sutin, 41, who advised Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and served under Mr Clinton as a high-ranking legal counsel in the Justice Department.

Local physician Dr Jack Briggs, who had treated Odighizuma for stress, was the first doctor to arrive at the law school after the shootings.

“The scene was a disaster,” he said.

Dr Briggs said Mr Sutin and another professor had been shot at point-blank range in an apparent revenge attack.

“He had flunked out of school last year,” Dr Briggs said.

“He had been allowed an opportunity to come back and complete the semester again.

“But I believe the dean was about to tell him he was no longer going to be able to come back.”

A university spokesman said Odighizuma had been suspended from the school yesterday.

After murdering the two professors, he began shooting randomly at students. One died after being shot in the neck and back.

Three others, suffering bullet wounds to their abdomens, were flown to the closest trauma centre in Bristol, Tennessee, for emergency surgery.

The Appalachian School of Law was founded four years ago to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the southwest Virginia coal mining towns.

The killings came a day after a high school student evaded a metal detector to shoot two classmates at the Martin Luther King Jnr school in Manhattan.

/nd/tackle/after18/byline | 112

STUDENT HELD IN KILLINGS ASKED FOR HELP, GOT IT, CLASSMATES SAY

Lee Mueller
Lexington Herald Leader (Kentucky)

GRUNDY, Va.—Throughout his star-crossed career as a law student, classmates said, Peter Odighizuwa had been asking people in this small coalfield town for help, and was receiving it.

Yesterday, the 43-year-old—accused of shooting to death the Appalachian School of Law’s dean, a professor and a former classmate—pleaded for another form of help.

During his arraignment in the Buchanan County Courthouse, Odighizuwa, with his legs shackled, told a judge he was sick and needed help.

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

Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, faces three counts of murder and other charges. He will remain in jail without bond pending a preliminary hearing on March 21, Judge Patrick Johnson ruled.

Prosecutor Sheila Tolliver said she will seek the death penalty.

Virginia State Police say Odighizuwa opened fire at the school, less than 15 miles from the Kentucky line, after he flunked out for a second time. Police declined to say yesterday where he obtained the .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol used in the shooting.

Police said Odighizuwa went to the law school’s second floor to discuss his suspension with Dale Rubin, a black professor with whom classmates said he felt comfortable. As he left Rubin’s office, Odighizuwa told the professor to pray for him. He then went into the separate offices of Dean L. Anthony Sutin and associate professor Thomas Blackwell and shot them to death, police say.

Afterward, he walked downstairs and opened fire in the student lounge, killing classmate Angela Denise Dales, 33, and wounding three other women, including Berea College graduate Stacey Beans, 22, of Paducah.

Medical officials said yesterday all three women are expected to make full recoveries and probably will be released from Tennessee hospitals next week.

Law student Mikael Gross, 34, of Charlotte, N.C., pointed out that there were men in the lounge, but that the only students Odighizuwa allegedly shot were women. One male student said the gunman “actually walked around” him in order to shoot Dales, Gross said.

Gross, a police officer in Grifton, N.C., was among at least two students with law-enforcement backgrounds who helped subdue Odighizuwa when he emerged, brandishing his pistol.

When one of the students yelled for him to put down his gun, Odighizuwa placed it, along with an extra magazine, on a lamp post, Gross said. Both were empty, he said.

The suspect was tackled and handcuffed by another student, Ted Besen, a deputy sheriff in North Carolina. Gross said both he and Besen were armed.

Gross and the other students who helped capture Odighizuwa were praised yesterday.

“To be honest, I feel I’m surrounded by heroes,” said Paulina Havelka, 27, of Charlotte, a first-year student, after hugging Gross.

Lonnie Ayers, 42, a first-year student from Cumberland in Harlan County, agreed.

“These guys, instead of running away from the situation, ran to the situation,” Ayers said.

Odighizuwa faces three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges, court records show.

A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Police said Odighizuwa was evaluated and given medication in jail, but officers declined to identify the drug.

Before and after a memorial service yesterday at Grundy Baptist Church, students and faculty members embraced, and wondered about the classmate who, some said, was prone to vulgar outbursts.

“He never smiled,” said Misty Kennedy, 24, of Cumberland, a daughter of Harlan County school board chairman David Kennedy.

Kennedy said Odighizuwa often appeared frustrated when he spoke in class because other students, and sometimes instructors, had difficulty understanding him.

He spoke softly, with an accent, classmates said.

“The teachers would really try to help him,” Kennedy said. “They’d look at him closely and let him repeat himself, up to three times.”

Mostly, these episodes appeared to make him angry, classmates said.

Kenneth Brown, 28, said Odighizuwa “was kind of off-balance. 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.”

Court records show Odighizuwa, the father of four, was arrested Aug. 15 for allegedly assaulting his wife. The police report said he hit her in the face, bruising her right eye.

Yesterday, no one answered the door at the home near campus where Odighizuwa and his family lived.

Police said Odighizuwa, who worked a variety of jobs while in Grundy, including bagging groceries, repeatedly approached them with concerns about people breaking into his former residence. Odighizuwa told police last year that someone placed a bullet in a stairway at his home and complained again three months ago that someone had broken into his house.

Police said they checked both complaints and found nothing.

Despite Odighizuwa’s problems, the dean and others tried to help him through school. Last year, Sutin raised enough money to buy Odighizuwa a used car, clothes and food, according to students and staff.

Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer, said Sutin also helped get Odighizuwa a $19,000 loan last fall.

“They did everything in the world to help him out,” said Sean Maynard, 27, a first-year student from Kenova, W.Va.

Dink Shackleford, a former classmate, recalled giving Odighizuwa $20 after he stood up in class and announced, “I’m having a rough time. I’ve got four kids and they cut my electricity off.”

“People in this community bent over backward to help him out,” Maynard said. “He was just a bad student.”

/nd/tackle/gun | 114

Dean Was Man Of Compassion;

Alfonso A; Castillo
Newsday (New York)

He was just 20 at the time, but even at that young age Anthony Sutin was tackling huge responsibilities.

At the Brookhaven Country Day Camp, where Sutin worked several summers in the early 1980s, the job of kitchen manager usually was reserved for older, more experienced people, but camp owner Neil Pollack knew it was in good hands with Sutin.

“He was just so organized and such a bright, bright kid,” Pollack said. “He was well liked by everyone.” Relatives and colleagues said the only thing greater than the Bellport native’s desire to achieve was his desire to give back. It was the latter that led Sutin, 42, to walk away from a job as a high-ranking attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice to serve as a dean at a small, upstart Virginia law school.

In the end, one of the people who had most benefited from Sutin’s compassion was the one who Virginia police said ended his life.

Police said Peter Odighizuwa, 42, stormed into Sutin’s office at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., Wednesday and shot him once with a .380-caliber pistol. He then shot and killed another professor and a student and wounded three others before being restrained by students, according to police. Odighizuwa faces three counts of capital murder and related weapons charges.

The student was upset over news that he was being kicked out of school, police said. Just one year earlier, Odighizuwa had flunked out of school, but Sutin was there to open the door for him to return.

“That’s typical of him,” said Pollack.

Yesterday, Bellport residents remembered Sutin’s years as a starry-eyed overachiever. During his years as a student at Bellport High School, Sutin worked on several environmental causes as a member of the school’s Students for Environmental Quality and lobbied to enact New York’s bottle deposit program.

“He was clearly going to go some place,” said Arthur Cooley, a board member of the Manhattan-based Environmental Defense Fund and Sutin’s former high school biology teacher.

After graduating with honors as the school’s valedictorian in 1977, Sutin attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in policy and economics and then enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1984.

After law school, Sutin clerked in a U.S. District Court in Dallas, then joined the Washington, D.C., law firm of Hogan & Hartson. Sutin’s passion for politics led him to work on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and ultimately landed him a job in the U.S. Justice Department in 1994.

Sutin rose through the ranks over the next four years, eventually becoming assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in 1998.

Friends said Sutin had close ties with top-ranking officials in the Clinton administration and was all but guaranteed a long and lucrative career as a Washington player, but he walked away from it all when the opportunity to help establish a law school in a small and desolate Virginia community arose.

“He could have been anything. He was so tied in,” said former neighbor and close friend Rachel Alberts of Grundy, Va. “But he really felt that everyone … had an obligation to take care of the community.”

Sutin’s mother, Bonita Sutin of Bellport, said her son’s compassion extended into his personal life. He and his wife, Margaret Lawton, who also taught at the school, adopted their son, Henry Alexander, 4, from Russia several years ago, and just two weeks ago traveled to Russia to adopt a daughter, Clara Li Bessyes.

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Slain Dean Known For His Compassion

Alfonso A; Castillo
Newsday (New York)

He was just 20 at the time, but even at that young age Anthony Sutin was tackling huge responsibilities.

At the Brookhaven Country Day Camp, where Sutin worked several summers in the early 1980s, the job of kitchen manager usually was reserved for older, more experienced people, but camp owner Neil Pollack knew it was in good hands with Sutin.

“He was just so organized and such a bright, bright kid,” Pollack said. Relatives and colleagues said the only thing greater than the Bellport native’s desire to achieve was his desire to give back. It was the latter that led Sutin, 42, to walk away from a job as a high-ranking attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice to serve as a dean at a small, upstart Virginia law school. In the end, one of the people who had most benefited from Sutin’s compassion was the one who Virginia police said ended his life.

Police said Peter Odighizuwa, 42, stormed into Sutin’s office at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., Wednesday and shot him once with a .380-caliber pistol. He then shot and killed another professor and a student and wounded three others before being restrained by students, according to police. Odighizuwa faces three counts of capital murder and related weapons charges.

The student was upset over news that he was being kicked out of school, police said. Just one year earlier, Odighizuwa had flunked out of school, but Sutin was there to open the door for him to return.

“That’s typical of him,” said Pollack.

Yesterday, Bellport residents remembered Sutin’s years as a starry-eyed overachiever. During his years as a student at Bellport High School, Sutin worked on several environmental causes as a member of the school’s Students for Environmental Quality and lobbied to enact New York’s bottle deposit program.

After graduating with honors as the school’s valedictorian in 1977, Sutin attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in policy and economics and then enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1984.

After law school, Sutin clerked in a U.S. District Court in Dallas, then joined the Washington, D.C., law firm of Hogan & Hartson. Sutin worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and landed a job in the U.S. Justice Department in 1994. He became assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in 1998.

“He could have been anything. He was so tied in,” former neighbor and close friend Rachel Alberts said of Sutin and his decision to leave the U.S. Justice Department for the school. “But he really felt that everyone … had an obligation to take care of the community.”

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‘I WAS SICK,’ SAYS STUDENT


Newsletter

A LAW student who is accused of killing his college dean, a professor and another student told a judge yesterday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into Virginia’s Buchanan County Court in leg chains, surrounded by policemen.

Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson, “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out. I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalised American from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law yesterday to talk to his dean, Anthony Sutin, about his dismissal for failing grades, officials said.

He shot Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught him, with a pistol, authorities and students said.

He then went to a commons area and opened fire at students, killing Angela Dales, 33, and injuring three others.

Students ended the rampage by tackling him

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew, at this time, that his dismissal was going to be permanent and final.”

Odighizuwa said, as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

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Law dean’s death shocks friends

Brian Hicks
The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)

The Lowcountry friends and family of a Virginia law school dean gunned down by a student say they are shocked by the death of a man who did nothing his entire life but help people, including the man who killed him.

Anthony Sutin had given Peter Odighizuwa a second chance when the man flunked out of the Appalachian School of Law in rural Grundy, Va., something a lot of deans would not have done, his students and colleagues say.

But when Sutin would not let Odighizuwa re-enroll a third time, police say the man shot Sutin in his office Wednesday afternoon, then killed another member of the law school faculty and a student and injured three students before he was wrestled to the ground by other students and arrested.

It was a sad end to the life of Sutin, the son-in-law of Allendale attorney Thomas O. Lawton—a former law partner of Gov. Robert E. McNair and chairman of the South Carolina Tricentennial Commission.

Sutin, 42, was a humble man who had accomplished much, his family said, and still had much more to do.

“Until something like this happens, you don’t realize how precious life is,” said Angus Lawton, a Charles-ton attorney and Sutin’s brother-in-law. “Our family is saddened by this tragedy, and we will miss Tony greatly. We appreciate the thoughts and prayers of our friends, and we wish the very best for the Appalachian School of Law.”

Nine years ago, Margaret Lawton of Allendale married Sutin, a soft-spoken man from Long Island, N.Y., who loved country music and was so modest he didn’t like to mention he was a graduate of Harvard Law School.

At the time, Sutin was a Washington, D.C., attorney who became acting assistant attorney general under Janet Reno.

The family lived in Alexandria, Va., until Sutin decided to help out with a fledgling law school nestled in the Appalachian Mountains.

Sutin started as a professor but soon was made dean of the Appalachian School of Law, a small school in the economically depressed town of Grundy, 45 miles north of Bristol, near the Kentucky and West Virginia borders.

Sutin loved the small-town feel. In an April interview with the Roanoke Times, Sutin said he loved the old-fashioned qualities of life in Grundy, knowing all your neighbors and being able to leave your doors unlocked.

He felt it was a good place to raise his growing family. Sutin and Lawton had adopted two children, the second one only a month ago—a 14-month-old baby from China.

Sutin’s murder brought reaction from across the country. Attorney General John Ashcroft called him a “dedicated public servant.” Paul Dull, a former student of Sutin’s, told the Roanoke Times that “The legal community has lost a great individual. Dean Sutin was one of those guys you aspired to be. He thought being a lawyer was a commendable profession.”

The local connection to the national news story had trickled into Charleston by early Thursday, and some of the friends of the family made plans to travel to Virginia for memorial services this weekend.

“The Lawton family has a lot of friends in Charleston that are shocked and saddened by this,” said Joseph H. McGee, a friend of the family.

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‘I was sick, I need help,’ accused killer maintains in court

Associated Press
The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario)

A former law student accused of killing his dean, a law professor and another student told a judge as well as bystanders yesterday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into Buchanan County general district court in leg chains, surrounded by police officers.

Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson: “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out . . . I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa called out to reporters as he was led into the courtroom: “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday to talk to his dean, L. Anthony Sutin, about Odighizuwa’s dismissal for failing grades, officials said. He allegedly shot Sutin and Prof. Thomas Blackwell, who taught Odighizuwa during the fall and winter.

Also killed with a shot from a .380-calibre pistol was student Angela Dales, 33, said Virginia State Police spokesman Mike Stater. Three others are in hospital in fair condition.

Prosecutors charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges of using a firearm in a felony.

When Johnson said he would appoint lawyer James Turk to represent him, Odighizuwa asked for another lawyer, who he named. But Johnson appointed Turk and said, “Once you’ve talked with him, I’m sure you’ll see he can help you.”

Odighizuwa will remain held without bond pending a preliminary hearing March 21.

Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, officials said.

“He was angry; he thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it (dismissal) was going to be permanent and final,” Clifton added.

The suspect, known around the rural campus as “Peter O,” had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before. Clifton met with Odighizuwa a day earlier when the student learned he was to be kicked out of school.

Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice about a kilometre from the school, said Odighizuwa went downstairs from Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices to a commons area and opened fire.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Odighizuwa left the building and dropped his gun after being confronted. Students then tackled him and one who is a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed him.

Odighizuwa kept saying, “I have nowhere to go,” said student Todd Ross, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this.”

Other classmates, however, described the suspect as an “abrasive” person who would regularly have outbursts in class when he was challenged by classmates or the professor.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” said Zeke Jackson, 40.

The private law school has an enrolment of about 170 students. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the region and foster renewal in Appalachia.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also was an associate professor at the school.

He left the U.S. Justice Department to help found the school, and had worked for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

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SHOOTINGS SUSPECT PRONE TO OUTBURSTS

Chris Kahn
The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

The expelled law school student accused of killing his dean and two others in a campus shooting spree was so paranoid and prone to outbursts that at least one classmate said he saw the violence coming.

At Thursday’s arraignment on three counts of capital murder, Peter Odighizuwa, 43, 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. ” Police say Odighizuwa opened fire with a handgun at the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday, a day after he was dismissed from the school for a second time.

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.

Prosecutor Sheila Tolliver said she will seek the death penalty.

Odighizuwa also faces three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help. ” Police said Odighizuwa was evaluated and given medication in jail, but declined to identify the drug.

On Thursday, students wept in small, shivering circles, many of them wondering about the classmate who always seemed aloof and was prone to vulgar outbursts.

Kenneth Brown, 28, said his friends 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,” Brown said. “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. ” Zeke Jackson, 40, said he stopped trying to recruit Odighizuwa for the school’s Black Law Students¬ Association after Odighizuwa sent the dean a letter complaining that Jackson was harassing him.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” Jackson said.

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.

Police said Odighizuwa repeatedly approached them with concerns about people breaking into his house on the outskirts of this small town in western Virginia.

Chief Deputy Randall Ashby said Odighizuwa told police last year that someone placed a bullet in a stairway at his home. Three months ago, he complained again that his home had been broken into.

“Both times my deputies checked it out and found nothing,” Ashby said.

Odighizuwa also regularly visited the sheriff’s office to nitpick with deputies over the wording of the police reports he’d filed, Ashby said.

Despite Odighizuwa’s problems, the dean and others tried to help him through school. Last year, Sutin raised enough money to buy Odighizuwa a used car, clothes, and food, according to students and staff.

Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer, said Sutin also helped get Odighizuwa a $19,000 loan last fall.

“That’s what doesn’t make sense,” said Mary Kilpatrick, a third-year student, wondering aloud why Odighizuwa would kill the dean. “He’s the one who allowed him to stay here. ” Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, had been struggling in school for more than a year and had been dismissed before.

His grades were poor again last semester, and school officials told Odighizuwa on Tuesday that they were flunking him.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it was going to be permanent and final,” said Clifton, the financial aid officer. “He slung his chair across the room and slammed the door. ” The next day, after the rampage, witnesses say Odighizuwa left the building, dropped a gun, and was tackled by several students.

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‘I WAS SICK. I NEED HELP’;

Rex Bowman
Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)

“I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

That was the terse explanation Peter Odighizuwa offered yesterday when reporters outside the courthouse asked him why he shot and killed three people at the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday. Three others were wounded.

Inside Buchanan County General District Court, Odighizuwa was less vocal. He hid his face and said nothing as a court clerk read the charges against him: three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony.

Odighizuwa, who was wrestled to the ground by fellow students, one of whom aimed his own revolver at Odighizuwa, could face the death penalty if convicted.

The shooting rampage, which claimed the life of the law school’s dean, has rocked the town of Grundy, which until Wednesday had been known mostly for its high school’s championship wrestling squad. Now, the entire town is grieving on national television over what everyone can describe only as an act of senseless violence.

“The Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center, Columbine - at the time they seemed like worlds away,” the Rev. Stan Parris said yesterday during a memorial service for the three dead. “This time the tragedy has struck home, a remote, tiny town, a place protected by mountains and family values.”

“Those who were killed were some of our finest people,” Buchanan Supervisor Ed Bunn said. “It’s on everybody’s mind.”

The man accused of the killings, 43-year-old Odighizuwa, is being held without bail. Yesterday, General District Judge Patrick Johnson appointed Radford attorney James C. Turk Jr. to represent the Nigerian-born Odighizuwa.

Odighizuwa protested briefly, saying he wanted area lawyer James Carmody to represent him. Carmody had represented Odighizuwa in August when he was charged with assault and battery against his wife.

But Carmody is not on Virginia’s short list of lawyers qualified to represent capital defendants, so Johnson appointed Turk.

In his only courtroom outburst, Odighizuwa complained loudly that he is not getting proper medical attention.

“I was supposed to see my doctor,” he said, his voice rising. “He was supposed to help me out. I need my medication.”

Bailiffs then led Odighizuwa from the courtroom. He wore shackles on his feet and handcuffs on his wrists. He hid his face behind the green court documents that stated the crimes he is accused of committing.

Those killed in Wednesday’s shooting rampage were the school’s dean, L. Anthony Sutin, 42, of Grundy; associate professor Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, of Grundy; and student Angela Denise Dales, 33, of Vansant. The wounded are Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy; and Stacey Beans, 22, of Berea, Ky.

State police and school authorities allege that Odighizuwa, upset about being dismissed from school for poor grades, shot and killed Sutin and Blackwell in their upstairs offices, using a Jennings .380 semiautomatic pistol he had concealed beneath his trench coat. He then allegedly went downstairs and fatally shot Dales and wounded the three other students.

Police said they do not know how many shots were fired, but by the time fellow students tackled Odighizuwa, the two magazine clips he had with him were empty. Each magazine could hold eight rounds.

One of the students who subdued Odighizuwa was Tracy Bridges, a 25-year-old sheriff’s deputy from Buncombe County, N.C., who is studying to become a lawyer.

“We went to get to class after 1 o’clock, and [student] Ted Besen and other students and I were in the classroom when we heard the first three shots,” Bridges said yesterday. “It sounded kind of muffled, and a few seconds later we heard the next round of shots, and a scream.

“Me and Ted and [student] Rob Sievers went out to look. A professor ran up the stairs and said, ‘Peter [Odighizuwa] has got a gun and he’s shooting.’ I ran back and told the class to get out. They went out the back way,” Bridges said.

“We went down, too, and Peter was in the front yard. I stopped at my vehicle and got a handgun, a revolver. Ted went toward Peter, and I aimed my gun at him, and Peter tossed his gun down.

“Ted approached Peter, and Peter hit Ted in the jaw. Ted pushed him back and we all jumped on,” Bridges said.

Yesterday, the day after the killings, authorities and students who knew Odighizuwa painted a picture of a man who had hit rock bottom.

In addition to being charged with abuse last year, Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen, had flunked out of the law school last spring, a fact he kept hidden from his wife and four young sons. His wife, who worked as a nursing aide at an area hospital, left him three months ago and moved away, taking the children with her.

Odighizuwa and his wife and children had rented a small house just outside Grundy. Trying to make ends meet, Odighizuwa tutored students and also worked other part-time jobs.

David Branham, who works at his family’s real estate and insurance business in downtown Grundy, said Odighizuwa had an out-of-state real estate license and was looking for a job at the family business, but it did not have any openings.

“When I saw him after that, I would throw up my hand and wave at him, but we weren’t boozing buddies or anything,” Branham said.

Odighizuwa found a part-time job at the Vansant Food City working as a maintenance man, the manager said. The manager, who would not give his name, said Odighizuwa worked there a few months before quitting.

Odighizuwa then went to work at Issues and Answers, a market research firm above the Vansant Food City.

Branham said that at one point, a few people, including employees at Buchanan General Hospital, took up a collection for the Odighizuwa family at Christmas. Odighizuwa’s wife worked at the hospital.

The departure of his wife, the loss of his children and the failing grades sent Odighizuwa into a well of depression, said law student Kenneth Brown, of Rougemont, N.C. “The last time I really sat and talked to him was last semester, in November. We were at a dance and he came alone. He was really down. All he was saying were negative things.”

Other students said Odighizuwa was a loner with an abrasive personality and a chip on his shoulder, convinced that faculty members had it in for him.

Odighizuwa began attending the school again last fall after Sutin agreed to give him another chance, allowing him to re-enroll. Once again, though, according to financial aid director Chris Clifton, Odighizuwa’s grades were too poor.

Last week, he was informed that he was being academically dismissed, and he was told his financial aid was being suspended Wednesday.

According to state police, as he left professor Dale Rubin’s office, Odighizuwa said, “Pray for me.” Then the shooting began.

State Sen. Leslie L. Byrne, D-Fairfax, said the shootings in Grundy point to the need for more gun control.

“A man described as a ticking time bomb was able to get a semiautomatic weapon,” Byrne told Senate colleagues yesterday.

“We’ve heard a lot about homeland security and domestic defense, but the likelihood of being injured by a gun” is far greater than the likelihood of a plane flying into an office building, she said.

But Sen. William C. Wampler Jr., R-Bristol, said now is a time to mourn, not to cast blame.

Yesterday, the town of Grundy and the students and teachers at the law school tried to find solace.

“From a human standpoint, we see no sense in this tragedy,” said Parris, the clergyman who led the memorial service attended by about 250 people. “So we find ourselves asking, ‘Why? Why does God allow these senseless acts of violence?’*”

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GRIEF FLOWS FROM GRUNDY AS IT MOURNS FOR VICTIMS

Paul Dellinger
Roanoke Times & World News (Roanoke, VA)

Hundreds of people turned out Thursday to honor three people killed a day earlier in a shooting spree at the Appalachian School of Law.

Tragedies at Columbine High School, Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center seemed far from this coalfield community, said the Rev. Stan Parris. “But now we, too, have tasted violence. . . . This is a terrible reminder of the reality of evil that exists in the human heart.”

The sanctuary and balcony of Grundy Baptist Church overflowed with faculty and students from the 5-year-old law school and friends and family of the three shooting victims: Anthony Sutin, 41, the school’s dean; Thomas Blackwell, 41, a professor; and Angela Dales, 33, who worked at the school before becoming a student.

Peter Odighizuwa, 42, a student who recently learned he would be dismissed because of insufficient grades, is charged with capital murder in all three deaths.

Three other students were injured and taken to two hospitals in Tennessee. Dr. Dale Sargent said Rebecca Brown, Martha Madeline Short and Stacey Beans were all in fair condition Thursday afternoon. “We would expect each of these patients to be released from the hospital within a week, and all are expected to make a full recovery,” he said.

Mikael Gross, one of several students who tackled Odighizuwa and held him for authorities Wednesday afternoon, said after the memorial service that Dales was his admissions counselor when he entered the school three years ago. Dales was in her first year of law school.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Mary Kilpatrick, a third-year student, said after the service. Kilpatrick said people at the school had obtained a car for Odighizuwa and helped him in other ways.

“Dean Sutin was one of the ones that was involved in that,” she said. “Everyone in this community, I feel like, has gone above and beyond to help him.”

Grundy Town Manager Chuck Crabtree said Gov. Mark Warner had wanted to attend the service, but scheduling did not allow it. Warner, who served on the law school’s board, sent a statement, in which he said the best memorial to the victims would be continued support of the school.

Warner said Sutin was at the height of his career in the U.S. Justice Department when he embraced the concept of a law school in Virginia’s coalfields and came to Buchanan County to help make it happen. Warner said he considered Blackwell a friend and remembered hiking with him and his family at Breaks Interstate Park.

Warner said he saluted the students who took control of “this barbaric situation.”

The memorial service was organized by the Buchanan County Ministerial Association.

The Rev. Paul McNalley opened the service with a prayer to “protect us all from the violence of others and keep us safe from the weapons of hate.” Rabbi Stanley Funston urged the community to keep its faith “in the face of senseless tragedy.”

Thursday night, about 250 people from the law school and the town attended a candlelight vigil in front of the school.

One speaker, professor Stewart Harris, said, “We are standing tonight on sacred ground. Innocent blood was shed here, blood of three people who achieved, who cared and who dreamed. . . . Let us honor them by keeping our own dreams alive.”

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Va. Town, Law School Linked in Mourning; Grundy Residents Pay Tribute to 3 Killed in Shootings

Maria Glod and Fredrick Kunkle
The Washington Post

Thomas F. Blackwell was a hard-charging corporate lawyer known for a methodical and creative approach to his cases. But here in this tiny mountain town, he was known for singing duets with his wife in the Buchanan First Presbyterian Choir and for his fiery homemade chili at his son’s Boy Scout gatherings.

Grundy remembered Blackwell today, along with L. Anthony Sutin and Angela Denise Dales, who were all fatally shot Wednesday at the Appalachian School of Law. At memorial services and candlelight vigils and gatherings over coffee, this much became clear: Longtime residents of this old, struggling, coal-mining town and their new educated, legal-minded, high-profile neighbors at the law school are forever linked. When community leaders founded the law school in 1997 to revitalize the region, many people in Grundy were skeptical that the two cultures would mesh. Now people can’t imagine the town without the school. “When it was first announced the school was coming, there were a lot of naysayers. Now I don’t think there is a naysayer left,” said Michael Hunt, a paralegal who has been accepted into Appalachian’s fall class.

Ginger Robertson, who works at Jackson Hardware and knew Sutin and Blackwell because their wives are members of the Grundy Women’s Club, will tell you how the school opens its doors to the arts community and the women’s club when they need space for meetings and other functions. Grundy’s town manager talks about the student who helped out by researching zoning laws. County social services officials applaud the students who tutor at the teen center.

“These were super people who found a little niche in the world and decided they were going to make it better,” said Jim Wayne Childress, a graduate and former schoolteacher who now practices law.

As Grundy mourned the dead, the student arrested in the killings appeared at a hearing in the Buchanan County courthouse, just down the street from the college. Peter Odighizuwa yelled to reporters as he walked across the outdoor catwalk connecting the jail and the courthouse: “I was sick. I was sick. I need help.”

Police say Odighizuwa, who was suspended Wednesday over his grades, went to the school’s second-floor offices to discuss his academic standing with professor Dale Rubin. When the conversation ended about 1:15 p.m., Odighizuwa told Rubin to pray for him, walked down the hall to Dean Sutin’s office and opened fire at close range with a semiautomatic handgun, killing Sutin, 42, a former top Justice Department official in the Clinton administration, police said.

The attacker then fatally shot Blackwell, a professor, in his office before walking downstairs to a lounge, where he opened fire again, killing Dales, a 33-year-old student, and injuring three other students, police said. Three students pounced on the gunman and held him until help arrived.

The shooting deaths caused the town to reflect on the five-year-old law school and people like Blackwell and Sutin, who gave up lucrative careers to come to this town on the West Virginia and Kentucky borders to try something new.

So Rife’s TV put a new message on the billboard outside the Main Street store: “ASL our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Ellen Cook and Loweda Gillespie, who work at a supermarket, drove around town hanging about 40 yellow ribbons from telephone poles and light posts.

And hundreds of family members, friends and neighbors gathered in the Baptist church next to the college for a service honoring the dean, professor and student.

Several noted without irony that Sutin helped the accused killer get on his feet by securing a $ 19,000 student loan for him and raising enough money for a car, some food and clothes.

It was exactly that kind of spirit the school’s founders envisioned when they recruited Sutin and Blackwell to Grundy.

Sutin enjoyed the easy pace of life in a small town, said Lucius “Lu” F. Ellsworth, the school’s president. Sutin also liked the idea of building up a new school, especially one whose guiding principles included service to the community, Ellsworth said.

Faculty members and students alike are required to put in 25 hours of community service per term. The students have participated in 65 social programs, including programs for the elderly, conflict resolution and a humane society for animals.

Sutin and his wife, also a professor at the school, volunteered for a community arts council that brought dance, music and other cultural events to the region.

“I think he enjoyed being part of a smaller community,” Ellsworth said. “I think he liked developing an institution from the ground up.”

Students are former paralegals, insurance agents and taxi drivers. Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross, two students who are also former police officers, helped subdue Odighizuwa until sheriff’s deputies arrived. “I thought it was a gunshot, but I wasn’t sure until students started running out yelling, ‘Peter’s got a gun,’ ” Gross said. The students then tackled the gunman.

Odighizuwa was arraigned today on three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted murder and six firearms charges. Odighizuwa, who shuffled into court in leg shackles and covered his face with court papers, told District Judge Patrick Johnson he needs medical attention. “I was supposed to see my doctor,” Odighizuwa said. “He was supposed to help me out. I don’t have my medication.”

Johnson told sheriff’s deputies to see that Odighizuwa is given any medication he needs and appointed Radford lawyer James C. Turk Jr. to handle the case.

Odighizuwa also has a pending assault charge in connection with an incident last summer in which he allegedly punched his wife. The case was set to be dismissed in August.

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Faculty here remember law prof slain in Va.

Adam W Lasker
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

A former visiting professor at the Chicago-Kent School of Law was among three people who were shot to death at a Virginia law school.

Thomas F. Blackwell, who had taught legal research and writing here for two years, was slain Wednesday along with the dean of the Appalachian School of Law and one of its students. A former student is accused of going on a shooting rampage that also left three students wounded. “He was a talented teacher and scholar and was respected by both our faculty and our students,” said Harold J. Krent, Chicago-Kent’s interim dean. “His death is a tragic loss to the legal community and to his many friends and colleagues.”

Blackwell, the father of three children, moved to Virginia and joined the law school’s faculty in 1999.

He was in the top 10 percent of his graduating class at Duke University School of Law in 1986, the same year he received a master’s degree in philosophy from that university.

Peter Odighizuwa, 43, went to the law school, located in Grundy, Va., to talk to the dean, L. Anthony Sutin, about his recent dismissal for failing grades. Officials and students said he then used a .380-caliber pistol to shoot and kill Sutin, Blackwell and student Angela Dales, 33, said Virginia State Police spokesman Mike Stater.

“They were irreplaceable, whether you see them as teachers or father figures or friends,” William Sievers, president of the school’s Student Bar Association, said Thursday outside the school during a candlelight remembrance gathering of about a hundred people.

“It’s going to be tough going back to school,” he said.

Three other students were injured and were hospitalized in fair condition, Stater said.

Krent said Blackwell also taught corporate finance, copyright law and law office technology during his time in Chicago, which lasted from August 1997 to May 1999.

Associate Professor Mary Rose Strubbe, who is now the director of Chicago-Kent’s research and writing program, said she worked closely with Blackwell in Chicago helping first-year students prepare oral arguments and working with second- and third-year students in the school’s moot court society.

“He loved teaching. He was a good teacher and had tremendous respect for the students,” Strubbe said. “He would spend an immense amount of time with students who needed help or had questions or just wanted to come and talk.”

Strubbe and Blackwell had kept in touch since he left Chicago, and they saw each other several times about two weeks ago in Texas at a meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. At that event, Strubbe said, they had time for a fairly long conversation during a luncheon for the Association of Legal Writing Directors.

“He was leaving the conference early … to hook up with his wife and kids, who were on the way back from spending the holidays in Texas,” Strubbe said. “He was very full of enthusiasm for teaching, research and writing, the Appalachian school and his family, and how well they were enjoying living and going to school in the area.”

Ralph Brill, a Chicago-Kent professor who was director of the school’s research and writing program for 14 years, said Blackwell was a skilled legal writer who could have taught at any law school.

“He passed up many opportunities to use his immense talents at more prestigious places to go to Appalachian and make it a place for poor people to gain entrance into the profession,” Brill said. “He worked very hard, undertook far too many projects, but somehow completed them on time and highly competently.”

Sutin, the Virginia law school’s dean, was a 1984 Harvard Law School graduate and also was an associate professor at the school, which has an enrollment of about 170 students. He left the Justice Department five years ago to help found the school, which is housed in a renovated junior high school.

Sutin had worked for the Democratic National Committee and former president Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. Sutin had said he helped develop the law school to ease the shortage of lawyers in the region and to help foster renewal in Appalachia.

Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, appeared Thursday in Buchanan County General District Court for an arraignment hearing, during which he told Judge Patrick Johnson that he is sick and needs help.

“I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out … I don’t have my medication,” Odighizuwa told the judge.

Prosecutors charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges of using a firearm in a felony. Odighizuwa, who was arrested on Aug. 15 for allegedly assaulting his wife, will be held without bond pending a preliminary hearing on March 21.

Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer, said Odighizuwa was recently dismissed permanently from the school because of his poor grades. Clifton met with the student the day before the shooting, and said Odighizuwa had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before.

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly and he wanted to see his transcript,” Clifton said. “I don’t think Peter knew at this time that the dismissal was going to be permanent and final.”

Jack Briggs, a doctor with a private practice a half-mile from the school, said that after Odighizuwa shot Sutin and Blackwell in their offices, he went downstairs to a commons area and opened fire on students.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Odighizuwa left the building and dropped his gun after being confronted by students, who then tackled him to the ground. One student who is a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed the gunman until police arrived and took him into custody.

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 Thursday afternoon at a memorial at the Grundy Baptist Church. He asked the crowd of a few hundred to pray and reassured them that “God will bring justice.”—The Associated Press contributed

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Thu, 17 Jan 2002

Three dead, three wounded in US school shooting: report


Agence France Presse

Three people were killed and three others wounded when a foreign-born student, apparently angry over bad grades, opened fire at a law school in southwestern Virginia, a state official said.

The shooter was in police custody after being apprehended by other students at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia after the incident Wednesday afternoon. Confirming the number of victims, a spokeswoman for the governor of Virginia said school dean Anthony Sutin was killed along with a professor and a student. Sutin was a top official in the administration of former president Bill Clinton.

Three wounded students were hospitalized, the spokeswoman, Ellen Qualls, said.

“The suspect was tackled by a group of students,” she said.

The student—whose identity and nationality had not yet been revealed—fired a .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol several times.

Founded in 1997 in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, the school has about 170 students.

It is the second shooting to occur in two days at a US education establishment. On Tuesday, two New York youths were wounded at a high school in Manhattan by an armed student.

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Nigerian law student charged in Virginia triple homicide


Agence France Presse

A Nigerian law student charged with shooting three others to death in Grundy, Virginia was apparently unhappy that he had been placed on academic suspension, a police source said Thursday.

Police say Peter Odighizuwa, 42, went on a shooting spree Wednesday that wounded three others at Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Virginia. “(He was) apparently angered at his academic suspension,” according to a source at the Buchanan County Sheriff Department in the western part of the state.

“He is currently held at the Buchanan’s County Jail. He’s been charged with three counts of capital murder and three counts of using a firearm to commit a felony,” according to the sheriff’s department.

Odighizuwa has also been charged with using a firearm with the intention of committing a crime and could face the death penalty.

A former Chicago taxi driver and father of four, Odighizuwa hoped to earn a law degree.

The scenic college with 170 students was founded in 1997.

Wednesday afternoon, Odighizuwa argued about his suspension with a professor. When he left the office, Odighizuwa asked the professor to pray for him. He went to the office of the dean, Anthony Sutin, a former high Justice Department official in the Bil Clinton administration and shot him with a .38 semi-automatic pistol before killing another professor who was there, said police.

Downstairs, he again opened fire, killing a 33-year-old student and wounding three others, according to police.

As he was about to leave, three students held him until police arrived.

This was the second US school shooting in two days. Tuesday, two New York youths were allegedly wounded by an armed high school student in Manhattan.

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LAW STUDENT KILLS 3 IN SHOOTING SPREE


Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio)

A failing student allegedly shot three people to death and wounded three more yesterday at the Appalachian School of Law in western Virginia.

The midday attack ended when students overpowered the gunman and held him for sheriff’s deputies, officials said.

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

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Shooting rampage at Virginia law school kills three, leaves three wounded

Roger Alford
The Associated Press

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

The attack also wounded three female students at the Appalachian School of Law. They were hospitalized in fair condition.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, one of the first to arrive after the shooting in this tiny mountain community in western Virginia.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell were gunned down in their offices, according to school officials. Police said the third person slain was student Angela Dales, 33.

Authorities said the 42-year-old suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic dismissal, which went into effect Wednesday.

Briggs said Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. 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 as he left reportedly asked Rubin to pray for him, police said. Rubin, reached by telephone, declined to comment.

He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-caliber pistol, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said. Blackwell had taught contract law to Odighizuwa.

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

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

Odighizuwa was tackled by students and “struggled after we got him on the ground, but then just laid there,” Ross said. He said the suspect kept shouting, ‘“I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go.”’

The suspect was being held at the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three weapons counts, authorities said.

Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability that school officials knew about.

First-year student Justin Marlowe from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

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

The private law school, with an enrollment of about 170 students, was closed for the rest of the week.

School president Lucius Ellsworth was meeting with government officials in Richmond and flew back when he learned of the shootings.

“Each of us is suffering, but as a family, we can find strength to pass through this terrible dark and tragic valley,” he said.

The governor, who had served on the school’s board until he took office last week, said he was shocked by the shooting.

“I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect,” Warner said. “My heart goes out to the school and the community.”

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was also an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to help found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement expressing his condolences to Sutin’s wife and their two children.

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

School officials hope to ease a shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The American Bar Association rejected the school’s first application for accreditation in 1999, but the school graduated its first class of 34 in 2000.

There are about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

“You read about it in other areas, but when it comes home it really hurts,” said state Del. Jackie Stump of Grundy, fighting back tears as he hung his head and walked away from a news conference in Richmond.

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Students tackled gunman in law school shooting spree, held him down until police arrived

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

Tracy Bridges didn’t have much time to think when he saw Peter Odighizuwa on the front lawn of the Appalachian School of Law moments after he allegedly went on a killing spree.

“I just reacted,” said Bridges, a student and sheriff’s deputy who tackled Odighizuwa with classmates Todd Ross and Ted Besen after the Wednesday shootings.

The three men pinned Odighizuwa to the ground, and Bridges handcuffed the man’s arms behind his back.

Odighizuwa, 42, a former student who was dismissed on Tuesday for bad grades, is accused of shooting and killing Dean L. Anthony Sutin, Professor Thomas Blackwell and student Angela Dales.

As screaming students started climbing out of windows, Bridges and Besen said their police and military training took over.

“I’m a former Marine, former police officer,” said Besen, 37. “Who better to do that? I’m trained to do that. I’m not going to let him shoot anyone else if I could.”

Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Grundy General District Court on capital murder charges.

Chris Clifton, the school’s financial officer, said he met with Odighizuwa on Tuesday afternoon along with other school officials to notify him that he was being permanently dismissed for poor grades. Odighizuwa had flunked out and then was readmitted a year before.

On Wednesday, Odighizuwa stopped in the office of professor Dale Rubin to talk about his grades and as he left reportedly asked Rubin to pray for him, police said. He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-caliber pistol, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said. Blackwell had taught contract law to Odighizuwa.

“There were three quick shots, then we heard, I think, three more,” said Bridges, 25.

Bridges and Besen, a former police officer from Wilmington, N.C., crept down a back stairwell to the parking lot, and Bridges got his gun out of the car.

Odighizuwa had walked outside and stood with a confused look on his face, Bridges said.

“I planned on blindsiding him from behind,” Besen said. “He sat the weapon down and raised his hands up in the air. I didn’t know if he was praying.”

Besen said he ran toward Odighizuwa and told him to get on the ground.

“He kind of came at me. He swung and hit me in the jaw,” Besen said.

Once pinned down, he kept shouting, “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go.”’

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Dean, professor, student killed in shooting rampage at Virginia law school

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

A student upset about flunking out of law school shot his dean and a professor to death in their offices and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and injuring three others, authorities said.

Peter Odighizuwa, 42, was tackled, pinned to the ground and handcuffed by students after the shooting and was later taken into custody by police. He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Grundy General District Court.

Odighizuwa went to the campus of the Appalachia School of Law on Wednesday to talk to his dean, L. Anthony Sutin, about his dismissal, officials said. He shot Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught contract law to Odighizuwa, with a .380-caliber pistol, authorities and students said.

Police said the third person slain was student Angela Dales, 33. The injured students were in fair condition at area hospitals.

The suspect, known around the rural campus as “Peter O,” had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before. Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer, met with Odighizuwa a day earlier when the student learned he was to be kicked out of school.

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” Clifton said. Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, scheduled a meeting for Wednesday to talk to school officials about his grades.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it was going to be permanent and final,” Clifton said.

Odighizuwa is being held in the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, authorities said.

Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school, said Odighizuwa went downstairs from Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices to a commons area and opened fire on students.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Odighizuwa left the building and dropped his gun after being confronted. Students then tackled him and helped hold him down. A student who is a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed Odighizuwa.

Odighizuwa kept saying, “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go,” said student Todd Ross, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn., who helped subdue the alleged shooter.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself,” Marlowe said. “He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this.”

“The dean bent over backwards to get him enrolled again” when Odighizuwa flunked out last spring, Marlowe said.

Other classmates, however, described the suspect as an “abrasive” person who would regularly have outbursts in class when he was challenged by classmates or the professor.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” said Zeke Jackson, 40, who tried to recruit him for the school’s Black Law Students’ Association.

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the region and foster renewal in Appalachia.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also was an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to help found the school, and had worked for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement expressing his condolences to Sutin’s wife and their two children.

Blackwell, who enjoyed running and playing the trumpet, moved to the area from Dallas about three years ago.

Constance C. Bausell, 52, of Grundy, served with Blackwell on a committee at her church searching for a new pastor. Even though Blackwell was somewhat new to the area, she said, “he fit in like a glove.”

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Dean, prof, student dead in shooting rampage at Virginia law school; man who flunked out held

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

A former law student who is accused of killing his dean, a law professor and another student told a judge Thursday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into Buchanan County General District Court in leg chains, surrounded by police officers.

Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson, “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out. … I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday to talk to his dean, L. Anthony Sutin, about Odighizuwa’s dismissal for failing grades, officials said. He shot Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught Odighizuwa’s contracts classes during the fall and winter, with a .380-caliber pistol, authorities and students said.

Also killed was student Angela Dales, 33, said State Police spokesman Mike Stater. Three other students were injured and were hospitalized in fair condition.

Prosecutors charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges for use of a firearm in a felony.

A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

When Johnson said he would appoint lawyer James C. Turk Jr. to represent him, Odighizuwa asked for another attorney who he named. But Johnson appointed Turk and said, “Once you’ve talked with him, I’m sure you’ll see he can help you.”

Odighizuwa will remain held without bond pending a preliminary hearing March 21.

Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, officials said.

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it (dismissal) was going to be permanent and final,” Clifton added.

Odighizuwa was arrested Aug. 15 for hitting his wife in the face and bruising her eye, according to court records. A hearing on assault and battery charges is scheduled for Aug. 6.

He and his wife, Abieyuwa Odighizuwa, have four children. Residents said the family had been having financial trouble and townspeople were trying to help out.

The suspect, known around the rural campus as “Peter O,” had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before. Clifton met with Odighizuwa a day earlier when the student learned he was to be kicked out of school.

Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school, said Odighizuwa went downstairs from Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices to a commons area and opened fire on students.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Odighizuwa left the building and dropped his gun after being confronted. Students then tackled him and one who is a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed him.

Odighizuwa kept saying, “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go,” said student Todd Ross, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself,” Marlowe said. “He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this.”

Other classmates, however, described the suspect as an “abrasive” person who would regularly have outbursts in class when he was challenged by classmates or the professor.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” said Zeke Jackson, 40, who tried to recruit him for the school’s Black Law Students’ Association.

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the region and foster renewal in Appalachia.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also was an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to help found the school, and had worked for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement expressing his condolences to Sutin’s wife and their two children.

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‘I was sick’ - murder charges filed against former law student in deadly school rampage

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press

The expelled law school student accused of killing his dean and two others in a campus shooting spree was so paranoid and prone to outbursts that at least one classmate said he saw the violence coming.

At Thursday’s arraignment on three counts of capital murder, Peter Odighizuwa, 43, 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.”

Police say Odighizuwa opened fire with a handgun at the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday, a day after he was dismissed from the school for a second time.

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.

Prosecutor Sheila Tolliver said she will seek the death penalty.

Odighizuwa also faces three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Police said Odighizuwa was evaluated and given medication in jail, but declined to identify the drug.

On Thursday, students wept in small, shivering circles, many of them wondering about the classmate who always seemed aloof and was prone to vulgar outbursts.

Kenneth Brown, 28, said his friends 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,” Brown said. “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.”

Zeke Jackson, 40, said he stopped trying to recruit Odighizuwa for the school’s Black Law Students’ Association after Odighizuwa sent the dean a letter complaining that Jackson was harassing him.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” Jackson said.

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.

Police said Odighizuwa repeatedly approached them with concerns about people breaking into his house on the outskirts of this small town in western Virginia.

Chief Deputy Randall Ashby said Odighizuwa told police last year that someone placed a bullet in a stairway at his home. Three months ago, he complained again that his home has been broken into.

“Both times my deputies checked it out and found nothing,” Ashby said.

Odighizuwa also regularly visited the sheriff’s office to nitpick with deputies over the wording of the police reports he’d filed, Ashby said.

Despite Odighizuwa’s problems, the dean and others tried to help him through school. Last year, Sutin raised enough money to buy Odighizuwa a used car, clothes and food, according to students and staff.

Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer, said Sutin also helped get Odighizuwa a $19,000 loan last fall.

“That’s what doesn’t make sense,” said Mary Kilpatrick, a third-year student, wondering aloud why Odighizuwa would kill the dean. “He’s the one who allowed him to stay here.”

Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, had been struggling in school for more than a year and had been dismissed before. His grades were poor again last semester, and school officials told Odighizuwa on Tuesday that they were flunking him.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it was going to be permanent and final,” said Clifton, the financial aid officer. “He slung his chair across the room and slammed the door.”

The next day, after the rampage, witnesses say Odighizuwa left the building, dropped a gun and was tackled by several students.

After a tearful memorial service at Grundy Baptist Church, hundreds of people gathered to place flowers at the base of the school’s stone sign, under an American flag flying at half-staff.

“We feel in our hearts the deepest pain,” said Rabbi Stanley Funston of a synagogue in Bluefield, W.Va., that Sutin attended during the holidays.

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‘I was sick’ _ murder charges filed against former law student in deadly school rampage

Chris Kahn
Associated Press Worldstream

The expelled law school student accused of killing his dean and two others in a campus shooting spree was so paranoid and prone to outbursts that at least one classmate said he saw the violence coming.

At Thursday’s arraignment on three counts of capital murder, Peter Odighizuwa, 43, 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.

Police say Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, opened fire with a handgun at the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday, a day after he was dismissed from the school for a second time.

L. Anthony Sutin, the dean, and professor Thomas Blackwell were slain in their offices and student Angela Dales, 33, was shot in an ensuing shooting rampage and died later at a hospital. Three other students were wounded.

He dropped his weapon when tackled by several students.

Odighizuwa also faces three counts of attempted capital murder and six weapons charges. A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Police said Odighizuwa was evaluated and given medication in jail, but declined to identify the drug.

On Thursday, students wept in small, shivering circles, many of them wondering about the classmate who always seemed aloof and was prone to vulgar outbursts.

Kenneth Brown, 28, said his friends 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,” Brown said. “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 was arrested on Aug. 15 for allegedly assaulting his wife. The police report said he hit her in the face, bruising her right eye.

Police said Odighizuwa repeatedly approached them with concerns about people breaking into his house on the outskirts of this small town in western Virginia.

Chief Deputy Randall Ashby said Odighizuwa told police last year that someone placed a bullet in a stairway at his home. Three months ago, he complained again that his home has been broken into.

“Both times my deputies checked it out and found nothing,” Ashby said.

Despite Odighizuwa’s problems, the dean and others tried to help him through school. Last year, Sutin raised enough money to buy Odighizuwa a used car, clothes and food, according to students and staff.

“That’s what doesn’t make sense,” said Mary Kilpatrick, a third-year student, wondering aloud why Odighizuwa would kill the dean. “He’s the one who allowed him to stay here.”

Odighizuwa had been struggling in school for more than a year and had been dismissed before. His grades were poor again last semester, and school officials told Odighizuwa on Tuesday that they were flunking him.

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Three killed in college shootings


Belfast Telegraph

A CLOSE-knit American community was today in mourning after a college student killed his dean, a lecturer and another student, and injured three women students during a shooting rampage.

The gunman, named as Peter Odighizuma, was overpowered by four other students while still wielding his semi-automatic handgun at the tiny college campus at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

The remote town was in shock after the shootings. Dr Jack Briggs, the first doctor on the scene, said the dean, Anthony Sutin, had apparently been shot twice in the head at point-blank range, while the professor, who has not been named, was shot while he lay wounded on the ground.

“It appears as though some of these shots were fired after one professor was down and they were shot at point blank range,” the doctor told Fox News.

“Two shots were shot into the dean in the head. It appears he was executed.

“It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

The two staff members were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on the rampage in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said the gunman was a “foreign exchange student” and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school, which has around 170 students and was founded in 1997.

“Four students tackled him and took him down,” said the doctor.

“They got him down and kept him for the police. I do not believe he had given up his weapon.

“This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year.

“He was given another chance, but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave.

“He took his anger out on the people who I think he thought were responsible for him leaving the school.”

The doctor added: “The person who did the shooting was a patient of mine. I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress.”

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off.”

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‘FAILED STUDENT’ KILLS DEAN;


Belfast News Letter (Northern Ireland)

FOUR students overpowered a gunman who went on a shooting spree at their US college last night, killing three people in what a doctor described as “executions”.

The four students tackled the man while he was still armed with a .380 semi -automatic pistol and managed to hold him until police arrived at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia.

He had already shot and killed three people, including the dean of the college and one of the professors, and left three other students critically injured. The doctor who was the first medical worker on the scene said the dean of the school, Anthony Sutin, had been “executed” with shots to the head, and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

“It appears as though some of these shots were after one professor was down and they were shot at point-blank range,” said Dr Jack Briggs.

“Two shots were shot into the dean in the head. It appears he was executed. It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

The two staff members were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on a spree in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said the gunman was a “foreign exchange student” and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school which has around 170 students and was founded in 1997.

“Four students tackled him and took him down,” said the doctor. “They got him down and kept him for his police. I do not believe he had given up his weapon.

“This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year.

“He was given another chance, but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave.

“He took his anger out on the people who I think he thought were responsible for him leaving the school.”

The three students were described as being “critical” by Dr Briggs, and had been transferred by helicopter to hospitals near the small town, which is in a rural area of the Appalachian Mountains.

The doctor added: “The person who did the shooting was a patient of mine. I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress.

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off. There are lots of things that will come out in the trial that I think are probably pretty pertinent to his personality.”

The college was set up in 1997 to help the run-down coal-mining area’s economy and Mr Sutin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was made principal with a staff of just 15.

Dr Briggs paid tribute to the dean and said: “He was a real good guy.”

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STUDENTS CAPTURE KILLER GUNMAN

Hugh Dougherty
Birmingham Post

Four students overpowered a gunman who went on a shooting spree at their US college last night, killing three people in what a doctor described as ‘executions’.

The four tackled the man while he was still armed with a .38 semi-automatic pistol and managed to hold him until police arrived at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia.

Gunman Peter Odighizuma, aged 43, was being held in jail last night. One of the dead men was the Dean - Anthony Sutin - the chief legal adviser to former Presidential candidate Al Gore’s failed bid for the White House in 2000. He had also been an assistant US attorney-general in Washington before being appointed to the college.

The doctor who was the first medical worker on the scene said Mr Sutin had been ‘executed’ with shots to the head, and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground. A third staff member was also killed.

‘It appears as though some of these shots were after one professor was down and they were shot at point-blank range,’ said Dr Jack Briggs.

‘Two shots were fired into the dean - in the head. It appears he was executed.

‘It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.’ Two of the staff members were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on a spree in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said the gunman was a ‘foreign exchange student’ and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school which has 170 students.

‘Four students tackled him and took him down,’ said the doctor.

‘They got him down and kept him for the police. I do not believe he had given up his weapon.

‘This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year.

‘He was given another chance, but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave.

‘He took his anger out on the

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U.S. GUNMAN KILLS THREE


Birmingham Evening Mail

A GUNMAN killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting spree at a law school in the United States today, officials said. Among the dead at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, was the dean, Anthony Sutin, said a spokeswoman for Governor Mark Warner.

She said a student and another member of the faculty were also killed.

State police believe students had arrested the suspect, Qualls said. She said the weapon was a .380 semiautomatic handgun.

Grundy is in the Appalachian foothills, 120 miles west of Roanoke.

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Three killed in shooting;


Bristol Evening Post

AMERICA: Four students overpowered a gunman who went on a shooting spree at their US college last night, killing three people in what a doctor described as “executions”. The four students tackled the man while he was still armed with a .380 semi -automatic pistol and managed to hold him until police arrived at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia.

He had already shot and killed three people, including the dean of the college and one of the professors, and left three other students critically injured.

The gunman was allegedly on the point of being told to leave the law school due to poor results.

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Shooting at a small law school in Virginia kills three and wounds three


CBS Morning News (6:30 AM ET) - CBS

JULIE CHEN, anchor:

Three people are dead and three others were wounded in a shooting at a small law school in western Virginia. Police say the suspect, Peter Odighizuma, opened fire at Appalachian School of Law, killing a dean, a professor and a student. He had flunked out last year, had been allowed to return and was at the school Wednesday to talk to the dean about his second dismissal. Witnesses say after shooting the dean, Odighizuma fired into a crowd of students.

Mr. JOHN HARRIS (Witness): I ran. I got out because I–I could–can’t do anything. The guy has a pistol. What do you do? So you run. So I ran out the door and ran to the library, told people that he has a gun, that they would–should probably leave.

CHEN: Other students tackled the gunman. Officials say he had a history of mental instability.

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Jason Arthur, Ted Besen and Tracy Bridges discuss the shooting at their school in which three people were killed


The Early Show (7:00 AM ET) - CBS

BRYANT GUMBEL, co-host:

An immigrant law student is being held on three counts of capital murder after opening fire at his Virginia school on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring three others. Forty-three-year-old Peter Odighizuwa was apparently upset about being kicked out of the Appalachian School of Law because of poor grades. Jason Arthur, Ted Besen and Tracy Bridges were among a group of students who took the gunman down. They’re all in Grundy, Virginia.

Gentlemen, good morning.

Mr. JASON ARTHUR (Shooting Witness): Good morning, sir.

Mr. TED BESEN (Helped Subdue Suspect): Good morning.

Mr. TRACY BRIDGES (Helped Subdue Suspect): Good morning.

GUMBEL: Mr. Arthur, let me start with you, if I might, because I’m told you actually witnessed the sooting–shooting. Tell me what you saw.

Mr. ARTHUR: It was shortly after 1:00 and I had returned from lunch and I was walking through the lobby of the school when Peter–was very close to me when he pulled a gun and began shooting.

GUMBEL: Was this after he had already shot Dean Rubin and Professor Blackwell?

Mr. ARTHUR: I–I’m–was not sure, sir. I had just gotten back to campus. I–I–I don’t know exactly in what order the shootings occurred.

GUMBEL: You say he began shooting. Was he picking out particular students or–or just spraying wherever he wished?

Mr. ARTHUR: He seemed to, as he walked all the way to the–to the back corner of the lobby area and walked up to a group of three females and opened fire.

GUMBEL: A group of three females. Was he necessarily going after female students? I ask that because supposedly he’d had problems with female students before.

Mr. ARTHUR: I can’t comment as to that, sir.

GUMBEL: Mr. Besen and Mr. Bridges, you two, I’m told, were together when the shooting started. You both have police backgrounds. Did you know immediately that it was gunfire you were hearing?

Mr. BESEN: No. We couldn’t tell exactly what it was at first. We thought it might have been maintenance in the hallways because there’s an echo. But after the–the second group of shooting–shots and the screams, that’s when we knew that something was going on.

GUMBEL: You say the second group. Can I assume that the first group was the grouping that–that took down Dean Sutin and Professor Blackwell?

Mr. BESEN: I–I believe was the first was that–was Professor Blackwell was shot first, and then I believe the second grouping was Dean Sutin.

GUMBEL: Yeah. You chased Peter O–which I understand he’s called–you chased Peter O down outside. Tell me about what happened.

Mr. BESEN: Well, we came–we exited our class. We came out. That’s when other professor had come out and stated that Professor Blackwell had been shot by Peter O. Tracy and I went back to the room, got the students out of the classroom, we went down the stairs in the back of the building and showed them the door so they could go to the rear of the–the school. I went around the–the back corner, opposite side of the school here, to get a visual on him as he was walking out of the–the Lions Lounge downstairs.

GUMBEL: Was he still armed?

Mr. BESEN: And at that–at–at that point in time he was still armed. He had walked over to a light just directly back over here, where he had set down the weapon. He put up his arms and he was yelling and screaming something. I couldn’t tell. I was trying to creep up on him, and when he turned toward the street out here, that’s when I–I rushed him.

GUMBEL: Did he try to fight back or resist?

Mr. BESEN: Oh, yes. I–I ordered him to get down to the ground when he turned back on me because he–he obviously heard me coming from behind. He said no, and then I went to put him on the ground. He punched me in the jaw, then started swinging at me furiously. At that point in time I just let him come toward me, keep him busy while some other students…

GUMBEL: Yeah.

Mr. BESEN: …came and hit him from the backside.

GUMBEL: And, Tracy, I understand that’s when you came along. You helped pin him down. Once you had him down, did–did Peter O say anything to you?

Mr. BRIDGES: The only comment that I know that he was mumbling was something about him being a Muslim and to be taken to a mosque.

GUMBEL: Did you know him, Tracy? Did you know him? What was he like?

Mr. BRIDGES: I knew of him. It’s a relatively small school here, so we know most of the faces here at the school. So I did know of Peter.

GUMBEL: We’re told he had a history of mental instability. Did that surprise you?

Mr. BRIDGES: I’m not really sure. I–I didn’t have any classes or anything with Peter. You know, I’ve heard rumors of him having conflicts with other students, but I’ve not personally dealt with him.

GUMBEL: Yeah. Campus will be closed there for a while. What’s the mood there?

Mr. BRIDGES: It’s just kind of surreal right now. It is a very close campus. Everybody was very close with the students who were injured and the faculty and their families. And we just hope we can help them get through this.

GUMBEL: Don’t we all. Gentlemen, I thank you all very much. Tracy Bridges, Ted Besen, Jason Arthur, I appreciate you getting up with us. Thank you.

Mr. ARTHUR: Thank you, sir.

Mr. BESEN: Thank you.

Mr. BRIDGES: Thank you.

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3 shot dead at Va. law school Dean, professor among victims ; student who flunked in custody

Wire Reports
Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)

GRUNDY, Va. - A struggling Nigerian law school student went on a campus shooting spree Wednesday, killing the dean, a professor and a student before he was tackled by students, authorities said.

The attack also wounded three students at the Appalachian School of Law. Two were in surgery Wednesday evening and the third was listed in fair condition.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who was one of the first to arrive after the shooting in this tiny mountain community in western Virginia.

Cool Ridge, W.Va., resident Melanie E. Page, a second-year student at the 170-student school, said she did not believe any of the West Virginia students enrolled in the law school were harmed.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell were gunned down in their offices, according to school officials. Police said the third person slain was student Angela Dales, 33.

The 42-year-old suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic suspension, which went into effect Wednesday, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said.

Odighizuwa first stopped in the office of professor Dale Rubin to talk about his grades, and as he left reportedly asked Rubin to pray for him, police said.

He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-caliber pistol, Stater said. Witnesses said Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing Dales and seriously wounding three others.

“I saw one of the girls that was shot and she was screaming for a tourniquet,” said former Charleston, W.Va., resident Jeremy Burnside, a student who was in the library when the shooting erupted.

The University of Charleston graduate had seen Odighizuwa earlier in the day. “I knew him from class, and I knew he was mad because he flunked out,” Burnside said.

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

Odighizuwa was promptly tackled and “struggled after we got him on the ground, but then just laid there,” Ross said. He said the suspect kept shouting, “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go.’”

The suspect was being held at the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three weapons counts, authorities said.

Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability that school officials knew about.

Rubin, the professor who spoke with the suspect moments before the rampage, declined comment after the shooting.

First-year student Justin Marlowe from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

He also said Odighizuwa had flunked out a year ago and “the dean bent over backward to get him enrolled again.”

Odighizuwa had children and a wife, students said. He once told classmates he had no money to feed his children and other students gave him money.

“He’s just a little bit not there,” said Burnside, a former state employee in Charleston.

“He was hostile,” said Charleston resident Eric Wilson, a student at the school. “We called it [a shooting incident] jokingly, but we never thought it would happen.”

Page said she only slightly knew Odighizuwa. “He barely spoke English. No one understood him,” she said.

The private law school was closed for the rest of the week.

The governor, who had served on the school’s board until he took office last week, said he was shocked by the shooting.

“I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect,” Warner said. “My heart goes out to the school and the community. I know that such a close-knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was also an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to help found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement expressing his condolences to Sutin’s wife and their two children.

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 just a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

School officials hope to ease a shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The American Bar Association rejected the school’s first application for accreditation in 1999, but the school graduated its first class of 34 in 2000.

There are about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

“You read about it in other areas, but when it comes home it really hurts,” said state Delegate Jackie Stump of Grundy, fighting back tears as he hung his head and walked away from a news conference in Richmond.

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Shooting at Virginia law school kills 3

Roger Alford
Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)

GRUNDY, Va.—A struggling Nigerian law school student went on a campus shooting spree Wednesday, killing the dean, a professor and a student before he was tackled by students, authorities said.

The attack also wounded three students at the Appalachian School of Law. Two were in surgery Wednesday evening and the third was listed in fair condition.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who was one of the first to arrive after the shooting in this tiny mountain community in western Virginia.

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

The 42-year-old suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic suspension, which went into effect Wednesday, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said.

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

He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-caliber pistol, Stater said. Witnesses said Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing Dales and seriously wounding three others.

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

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

The suspect was being held at the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three weapons counts, authorities said.

First-year student Justin Marlowe from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

He also said Odighizuwa had flunked out a year ago and “the dean bent over backward to get him enrolled again.”

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LAW SCHOOL GUN SPREE KILLS DEAN, TWO OTHERS

Associated Press
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

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

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

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, one of the first to arrive.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell were gunned down in their offices, according to school officials. Police said the third person slain was student Angela Dales, 33.

Authorities said the 42-year-old suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic dismissal, which went into effect Wednesday.

Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, first stopped in professor Dale Rubin’s office to talk about his grades and as he left reportedly asked Rubin to pray for him, police said.

He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-caliber pistol, state police spokesman Mike Stater said. Witnesses said Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on students, killing Dales and wounding three others.

Todd Ross, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn., was outside when Odighizuwa left the building. Ross said the suspect was holding his hands in the air and dropped the gun at his prompting.

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

Ellen Qualls, a spokesman for Gov. Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability that school officials knew about.

First-year student Justin Marlowe from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

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STUDENTS TACKLE KILLER GUNMAN


Daily Post (Liverpool)

FOUR students overpowered a gunman who went on a shooting spree at their US college last night, killing three people in what a doctor described as “executions”.

The four students tackled the man who was armed with a .38 pistol and managed to hold him until police arrived at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia. He had already shot and killed three people, including the dean of the college and one of the professors, and left three female students critically injured.

The doctor who was the first medical worker on the scene said the dean of the school, Anthony Sutin, had been “executed” with shots to the head, and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

“It appears as though some of these shots were after one professor was down and they were shot at point blank range, ” said Dr Jack Briggs.

The doctor said the gunman was a foreign exchange student whom he had treated for stress and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school.

“This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year.

“He was given another chance but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave.”

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GUNMAN IN COLLEGE RAMPAGE

Anna Adams
Daily Record

A LAW student shot dead three people, including the dean of his school, after seeing his exam results.

A lecturer and a student were also killed and three other students were left fighting for their lives. The bloodbath only ended when brave students overpowered the gunman, who has not been named.

Early reports said the killer was a third-year foreign exchange student who was about to be thrown out of the school due to poor grades.

He ran amok with .380 semi-automatic pistol on the campus of the Appalachian Law School in the sleepy US town of Grundy, Virginia, after seeing his exam results posted on a notice board.

The first medic on the scene said the dean, Anthony Sutin, had been “executed” and the lecturer, Tom Blackwell, had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

Dr Jack Briggs said: “They were shot at point-blank range. The dean was shot twice in the head. It appears he was executed.”

The doctor said the gunman had flunked out of the school last year but had been given one last chance to make the grade. However, he was still failing.

The doctor added: “The person who did the shooting was a patient of mine. I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress.”

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off.”

The college has around 170 students and was set up in 1997 to help the run -down coal mining area’s economy.

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Failing student shoots three dead at law college

Ben Fenton
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH(LONDON)

THREE people including a former assistant US attorney general were shot dead by a disaffected law school student last night.

Three female students were wounded when the man, who was on the verge of being expelled, opened fire.

Two professors at the school in rural Virginia were “executed at point blank range” in front of their secretaries and the third victim, a student, was shot at random as the gunman emerged into a crowded lounge.

Police said that Peter Odighizuma, 43, a foreign student who was armed with a semi-automatic pistol, was then tackled and arrested by students of the Appalachian School of Law in the small town of Grundy.

The dead were Anthony Sutin, the dean, another professor and a female student at the school, police said.

Mr Sutin served under Janet Reno in the Clinton administration and was legal adviser to Al Gore, the Democrat presidential candidate, in the 2000 election campaign. The three injured, all of whom are in critical condition, were also shot randomly as the man started to look for additional victims.

Dr Jack Briggs, who tended the dead and wounded, said the death toll would have been greater if the gunman had had a bigger magazine in his gun. He was pulled to the ground by students when he ran out of bullets.

Dr Briggs, who is also the county coroner, said the killer had difficulty during his first year and had left.

“He came back again to try to start again, but he was failing again and I think they were ready to bring him in and tell him that, so he was ready to take his anger out on those who he felt were responsible,” Dr Briggs said.

The doctor added that he had treated the gunman for stress about six months ago.

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off,” Dr Briggs said.

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3 KILLED, 3 WOUNDED IN LAW SCHOOL SHOOTING DISMISSED STUDENT GOES ON FATAL SPREE

Associated Press
Daily Press (Newport News, VA)

A student who had been dismissed from law school went on a shooting spree Wednesday, killing the school’s dean, a professor and a student before other students tackled him, officials said.

Three students were injured in the hail of gunfire.

L. Anthony Sutin, dean of the Appalachian School of Law, and Professor Thomas Blackwell were gunned down in their offices, according to school officials. The third person slain was student Angela Dales, 33, of Vansant, said State Police spokesman Mike Stater.

The suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, went to the school to meet with Sutin about his dismissal, which went into effect Wednesday, authorities said. Odighizuwa first stopped by the office of Professor Dale Rubin to talk about his grades, and as he left he reportedly asked Rubin to pray for him, Stater said.

Rubin, reached by telephone, declined to comment.

After visiting Rubin, Odighizuwa went to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them both with a .380-caliber pistol, Stater said.

Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd, said Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Briggs said he had treated Odighizuwa in the past year. He described Odighizuwa as a Nigerian who had flunked out last year and been allowed to return. Odighizuwa was known on campus as “Peter O” and was a naturalized U.S. citizen, authorities and students said.

He is being held in the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, authorities said. Ellen Qualls, spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa, 42, had a history of mental instability that school officials were aware of.

Warner is a former member of the school’s board of trustees.

“I’m shocked and deeply saddened. I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect, who is now in custody. My heart goes out to the school and the community,” he said.

After the shootings, Odighizuwa left the building and was tackled and held down by several male students, including 30- year-old Todd Ross of Johnson City, Tenn.

“He came out and walked down on the sidewalk, had his hands up in the air with the gun. At some point I yelled his name and told him to drop the gun and to get on the ground,” Ross said.

Odighizuwa dropped the gun, and another student then confronted him and distracted him.

“And then I ran across and tackled him,” Ross said.

Two or three other students then helped him subdue Odighizuwa.

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

School president Lucius Ellsworth was in Richmond for a meeting with government officials Wednesday and flew back to Grundy when he learned about the shootings.

“Each of us is suffering, but as a family, we can find strength to pass through this terrible dark and tragic valley,” he told reporters at an evening news conference.

Hospital officials identified the three wounded students as Rebecca Brown, 38, of Roanoke; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy; and Stacy Beans, 22, of Berea, Ky. Amy Stevens, a spokeswoman for Wellmont Health Systems, said Short was in fair condition, and Beans and Brown were in fair condition after surgery Wednesday evening.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

Marlowe said Odighizuwa flunked out of school a year ago and “the dean bent over backwards to get him enrolled again.”

Blackwell, the professor who was killed, taught classes in contracts that Odighizuwa took during the fall and winter up to the time of his dismissal, students said.

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students. It will be closed the remainder of the week, officials said. Local elementary, middle and high schools were locked down for an hour after the shootings.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also was an associate professor at the school. He left a Justice Department position as an assistant attorney general to found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Sutin’s wife, Margaret, their two children and to all of their family and friends,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft.

TIME LINE

Here is a time line of the events leading to the dismissal, according to Chris Clifton, financial aid officer at the school:

* Fall 2000: Odighizuwa is put on academic probation.

* Spring 2001: Odighizuwa is dismissed.

* Fall 2001: Odighizuwa is reinstated after appealing his dismissal.

* Tuesday, Jan. 15: Odighizuwa is dismissed for good after failing to maintain the necessary grades.

* Wednesday, Jan. 16: Authorities say Odighizuwa came to the school to meet with the dean and went on a shooting spree, killing three people and wounding three more.

- The Associated Press

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GUN MANIAC KILLS 3 IN SCHOOL


Daily Star

A GUN-toting student killed three people and wounded three others last night after running amok at a US college.

Brave students at the law college wrestled him to the ground. He struck after bursting into a common room at Appalachian School of Law, Grundy, Virginia.

The dead included the college’s dean, Anthony Sutin, a second member of staff and a student.

The killer, thought to have been angry with staff, used a .380 semiautomatic handgun.

Police, ambulances and counsellors rushed to the scene as the college was evacuated.

The three injured were taken to hospital.

Staff member Alicia O’Quin said: “This is usually a very quiet campus, very intimate.”

State Governor Mark Warner’s spokeswoman said: “Students bravely tackled the gunman.

“But we do not know the gunman’s motives at this time.”

Police arrested the suspect after students held him down until they arrived.

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3 KILLED BY COLLEGE EXAM DUNCE


Daily Star

A NUT who was angry after flunking his law exams killed his dean, a professor and a fellow student in a shooting spree at his US college last night.

Peter Odighizuma, 43, also critically injured three others when he stormed a commonroom at the college and opened up with a .380 semi-automatic pistol. Four students wrestled the Nigerian and held him until police arrived.

Dr Jack Briggs, who counselled the student for stress six months ago, said: “Two shots were fired into the dean’s head. It appears he was executed.

“It looked like a warzone. There were bodies everywhere.”

He said: “The gunman flunked out of school last year. He got another chance, but I believe the Dean was about to tell him he had to leave.”

Police, ambulances and counsellors rushed to the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia.

The dean, Anthony Sutin, was shot in front of his secretary.

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ACROSS THE NATION


Detroit Free Press

NEW YORK

Helper in New Year bomb plot sentenced

An Algerian man was sentenced Wednesday to the maximum 24 years in prison for his role in a failed plot to detonate a suitcase bomb at the Los Angeles airport amid turn-of-the-century celebrations.

Mokhtar Haouari, 32, was convicted by a Manhattan jury in July on federal charges that he supplied fake IDs and cash to two others in the plot.

The plot—planned for Jan. 1, 2000—was foiled when its mastermind, Ahmed Ressam, was arrested at Port Angeles, Wash., while trying to enter the United States from Canada in a car with explosives in December 1999. Ressam had trained in terrorist camps financed by Osama bin Laden, whom the United States accuses of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks.

GRUNDY, Va.

3 dead in shooting spree

A law school student upset about his grades went on a shooting spree Wednesday, killing three people and critically wounding three others before he was wrestled to the ground by students, officials said.

Those killed included a student, a faculty member and the dean of the Appalachian School of Law, said Ellen Qualls, spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner.

The student, who used a .380-caliber handgun, was not identified.

LAUDERHILL, Fla.

Plaque honors wrong man

A plaque intended to honor black actor James Earl Jones at a Florida celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. instead paid tribute to James Earl Ray, the man who killed the black civil rights leader in 1968, officials said Wednesday.

The plaque read, “Thank you James Earl Ray for keeping the dream alive.”

Texas plaque manufacturer Merit Industries blamed a typographical error. It was being corrected before Jones’ Saturday visit to the Ft. Lauderdale suburb.

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ROUNDUP: Disgruntled law student shoots six, kills three - coroner


Deutsche Presse-Agentur

A Nigerian student recently suspended by his U.S. law school went on a shooting spree Wednesday, killing three people and wounding three more, a local coroner and physician said.

The gunman used a. 38-calibre semi-automatic handgun at point- blank range to shoot the school’s dean and a professor, killing both men, before opening fire on his fellow students in Grundy, Virginia, said Doctor Jack Briggs.

One student was killed, and three more were injured in the rampage at the Appalachian School of Law. One woman was in fair condition and two more were in surgery, hospital staff said. After the rampage, the gunman was tackled by four male students before being arrested, said Briggs, whose medical practice is near the school.

Virginia state police identified the man they they were holding in the shooting as as Peter Odighizuma, 43. They did not immediately release any further details or announce charges.

One victim, the school’s dean, was Anthony Sutin, a former U.S. Justice Department official who worked on the 1992 election campaign for former president Bill Clinton.

Professor Thomas Blackwell was also shot dead in his office in the small law school, located in the Appalachia mountain range, about 500 kilometres southwest of the capital Washington.

Briggs told broadcaster CNN that he knew the gunman, who had complained of stress about half a year ago and in hindsight had been “a time bomb ready to go off”.

The student had flunked out of the school last year and, after a second attempt, had been suspended for poor grades.

“So he took his anger out on the people he felt were responsible for him leaving the school,” the doctor said. “I had no idea it would affect him this way.”

The faculty members were “executed”, said Briggs, who described gunpowder burns on the shirt of one victim who was “obviously shot at point-blank range”. dpa fz ff

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U.S. GUNMAN KILLS THREE


Evening Mail

A GUNMAN killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting spree at a law school in the United States today, officials said.

Among the dead at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, was the dean, Anthony Sutin, said a spokeswoman for Governor Mark Warner.

She said a student and another member of the faculty were also killed.

State police believe students had arrested the suspect, Qualls said. She said the weapon was a .380 semiautomatic handgun.

Grundy is in the Appalachian foothills, 120 miles west of Roanoke.

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3 KILLED BY GUNMAN


The Express

THREE people were killed and three others were wounded when a gunman ran amok at a US law college. The suspect was later seized by students, police said last night.

One of the dead was named as Anthony Sutin, dean of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, 200 miles west of Washington, DC.

A student and another member of the faculty were also killed, and three badly injured students were taken to hospital.

The law school, which opened in 1997, has 170 pupils.

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‘SEA OF BODIES’ IN GUN FRENZY AT US LAW COLLEGE AFTER GUNMAN RETURNED FOR REVENGE; THREE DEAD AS SUSPENDED STUDENT GOES ON RAMPAGE

Toby Moore
The Express

A DISGRUNTLED student shot dead a law school professor, the head teacher and a fellow pupil in a shooting spree at the school in Virginia yesterday.

Peter Odighizuma, 43, who had been suspended from the Appalachian School of Law earlier in the day, returned with a handgun and killed the three at around 6pm British time.

Three other students, all women, were wounded when Nigerian foreign exchange student Odighizuma opened fire on the college campus. “It looked like a war zone, ” said a witness to the carnage.

“There was blood all over. There was just a sea of bodies everywhere.”

Among the dead was the head of the school, Anthony Sutin, who served under former President Clinton at the Justice Department and was a leading adviser to Al Gore during his presidential election campaign last year.

Odighizuma was subdued by other students before police arrived. State policeman Jason Miles said: “He was suspended from school for some unknown reason and came back. He used a .380 semi-automatic handgun.”

Dr Jack Briggs, who knew the adult victims, spoke of his shock.

He said the dean and professor were “well liked by everybody”.

“It was not a matter of picking out a professor who has picked you out unfairly and shooting him, ” said Dr Briggs.

“It was just a matter of him releasing his anger at the world, I guess.”

The law school, which opened just five years ago in Grundy, a small town at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, has 170 students.

It was opened with the hope of easing a historic shortage of lawyers in the coal fields of south-west Virginia, to help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia.

The shootings came a day after two teenagers were shot in the back by a pupil at a high school in New York. The first shooting at a school in the city since 1994.

Both victims, one 15 and the other 17, were said to be in a “satisfactory” condition at the Manhattan hospital where they are being treated.

Tim Baylor, a spokesman for two hospitals where the injured were taken, said the three were in a “fair” condition. Two required surgery.

The shootings at Grundy are just the latest in the tragic history of school murders in the US.

The worst massacre took place at Columbine High School, Colorado, in April 1999 when 15 students were killed.

In March 2000, two people died and 13 were wounded at Santana High School in California.

A week before, four students and two teachers were wounded when an 18-year-old opened fire at a school in El Cajon, California.

The third shooting that month took place at a school in Indiana when a teenage boy was killed by one of his schoolmates.

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Three killed at US law school


Financial Times (London)

Three killed at US law school

A gunman killed three people and wounded three at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. The dead included the dean. Police believe students apprehended the suspect.

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3 slain in shooting spree at Virginia law school Ex-Clay lawyer met with suspect


Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL)

GRUNDY, Va.—Minutes before a struggling law school student allegedly went on a campus shooting spree yesterday, killing the dean, a professor and a student, he was in the office of a former Northeast Florida attorney, complaining about grades, the lawyer said.

The attack also wounded three students at the Appalachian School of Law before the gunman was tackled by students and taken into custody. The wounded students were in fair condition.

Just before the attacks, the gunman was in the office of Stewart Harris, 40, a former Clay County lawyer who began teaching at the school last fall.

‘He did not seem the least bit agitated, the least bit violent,’ Harris said last night in a telephone interview with the Times-Union. ‘He was complaining about his grade. He was not one of my students.’

Harris said he talked to the man, later identified as 42-year-old Peter Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, for about a minute, just before lunch. Odighizuwa had been dismissed from the school.

When Harris returned from eating, police were on a scene Harris described as ‘chaos.’

Jack Briggs, a physician who practices near the school and was one of the first to arrive after the shooting in this tiny mountain community in western Virginia, echoed Harris.

‘When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,’ Briggs said.

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

Odighizuwa had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic suspension, which went into effect yesterday, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said.

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

He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-caliber pistol, Stater said. Witnesses said Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing Dales and seriously wounding three others.

Harris said his office is next to Blackwell’s and about 50 feet from Sutin’s. Harris said he had known the two men for about a year. He said he only knew Odighizuwa vaguely.

Harris said students had just gotten grades from last semester and it was not unusual to discuss them with instructors.

‘The only thing that was the least bit unusual was that he was not one of my students,’ he said.

Harris, who teaches two classes, said the three wounded students were in his classes.

‘The entire day has been a very tumultuous day,’ he said.

Harris practiced law in Clay County from 1994 to May 2000.

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

Odighizuwa was promptly tackled and ‘struggled after we got him on the ground, but then just laid there,’ Ross said. He said the suspect kept shouting, ‘I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go.’

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

Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability that school officials knew about. Rubin, the professor who spoke with the suspect moments before the rampage, declined comment after the shooting.

First-year student Justin Marlowe from Richwood, W.Va., said Odighizuwa had been in all of his classes.

‘He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,’ Marlowe said.

He also said Odighizuwa had flunked out a year ago and ‘the dean bent over backward to get him enrolled again.’

The private law school, with an enrollment of about 170 students, will close for the rest of the week. Times-Union staff writer Dana Treen contributed to this report.

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Law school dean and two others killed by student

Oliver Burkeman
The Guardian (London)

A Nigerian student was being held last night for killing the dean of a small American law school and two other people at the college in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.

The dean, Anthony Sutin, and a professor were shot dead at close range in what were described as “executions”.

A male student was also killed, and three female students were injured and taken to hospital before the gunman was tackled by four students. Peter Odighizuma, 43, was being held in police custody last night after the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law in the mining town of Grundy, south-west Virginia.

Earlier in the day he had been told that he was to be suspended.

He was already repeating the first year course, having dropped out last year.

Jack Briggs, the first doctor to arrive on the scene, said Mr Odighizuma had attended his surgery complaining of stress six or seven months ago.

He described the student as “a timebomb waiting to go off”.

Lieutenant Jason Miles of the state police said Mr Odighizuma was suspended from school yesterday “for some unknown reason” and returned.

“He used a .38 semi-automatic handgun”.

A spokesman for the Virginia hospital system said two of the three injured students, who were airlifted to hospital, were undergoing surgery . The third was described as stable.

Dr Briggs said the dean and the murdered professor had powder marks on their skin, indicating point-blank executions. Their killing had been witnessed by their secretaries, he added

“It looked like a war zone - there was blood all over,” he added.

Mr Odighizuma was wrestled to the floor by four male students. “They just wanted the guy. They weren’t worried about their own personal safety.”

Sutin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was a United States attorney during the Clinton administration and chief counsel to Al Gores 2000 presidential campaign.

The Appalachian school was opened in 1997 to remedy a critical shortage of lawyers in the poor coalmining communities of south Virginia, and has about 240 students.

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Failed law student kills three at school


Guelph Mercury (Ontario, Canada)

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

The attack also wounded three female students at the Appalachian School of Law. They were in hospital in fair condition.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, one of the first to arrive after the shooting in the tiny mountain community in western Virginia.

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

Authorities said the 42-year-old suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic dismissal, which went into effect Wednesday. Briggs said Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, failed last year and had been allowed to return to the school.

Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability school officials knew about.

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Law student with low grades kills three

Roger Alford
Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada)

A law school student upset about his grades went on a shooting spree yesterday, killing three people and critically wounding three others before he was wrestled to the ground by students, officials said.

The victims included the dean of the Appalachian School of Law and a professor who were gunned down in their offices. The third person slain was a student, said Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner.

“When I got there, there were bodies lying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice one kilometre from the school in this tiny western Virginia community.

Briggs said he had treated the suspect in the past year. He described the gunman as a Nigerian in his early 40s who had flunked out last year and been allowed to return.

“I think they were getting ready to tell him that he had not made the grade this year,” Briggs said.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and the professor were “executed” in their offices, Briggs said.

He said the gunman then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and wounding three others. He was tackled by four male students as he left the building.

“They just wanted the guy,” Briggs said. “They weren’t worried about their own personal safety.”

Other details were not immediately available, but Qualls said the weapon used was a .380-calibre semiautomatic handgun.

The three wounded students were in critical condition.

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Gunman kills three in law school rampage

Cameron Simpson
The Herald (Glasgow)

A GUNMAN killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting spree at a law school in the western Virginia foothills yesterday.

The killer, armed with a .380 semi-automatic handgun, was later overpowered by four students. The three deaths were described by Jack Briggs, the first medical worker on the scene, as “executions”. Anthony Sutin, the dean of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, one of the professors and a student were killed. The wounded, all students, were taken to Buchanan General Hospital, where their conditions were described as critical.

The incident came just a day after a shooting at a school in New York, in which two people were injured.

Dr Briggs said the dean had been “executed” with shots to the head, and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

“It appears as though some of these shots were after one professor was down and they were shot at point blank range. It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

He said the gunman was a “foreign exchange student” and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school, which has around 170 students.

“He took his anger out on the people who, I think, he thought were responsible for him leaving the school.

“The person who did the shooting was a patient of mine. I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress. He was a timebomb waiting to go off,” said Dr Briggs.

Alicia O’Quin, a special assistant to the president of the law school, said a male student had apparently entered a student lounge area on the campus at about 1pm local time and opened fire.

She said it was unclear how many people were in the lounge at the time. “Nothing like this has ever happened before, either here or even in this county. It’s usually a very quiet campus, very intimate.”

Mark Warner, the state governor, said he was shocked and saddened by the shooting. “I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect, who is now in custody.

“My heart goes out to the school and the community. I know that such a close -knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

Mr Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was also an associate professor at the school.

The private law school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1100 just a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

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Gunman kills three in law school shooting

Cameron Simpson
The Herald (Glasgow)

A GUNMAN killed three people and wounded three others yesterday in a shooting spree at a law school in the western Virginia foothills.

The dead included the dean of the Appalachian School of Law, Anthony Sutin, one of the professors, and a student. The gunman was named as Peter Odighizuma, a 43-year-old Nigerian student who had been suspended. Armed with a .380 semi-automatic handgun, he was overpowered by four students after the killings, which Jack Briggs, the first medical worker on the scene, described as “executions”. The attack in the town of Grundy came just a day after a shooting at a school in New York that injured two people.

The three wounded, all students, were taken to hospital where they were described as critical.

Dr Briggs said the dean had been “executed” with shots to the head, and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

He said Odighizuma, a foreign exchange student, was about to be told to leave the law school, which has around 170 students.

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off,” said Dr Briggs.

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GUN-TOTING STUDENT ‘EXECUTES’ THREE AT VIRGINIA LAW SCHOOL

Rupert Cornwell
The Independent (London)

A FOREIGN student went on a shooting rampage at a small law school in the remote west of Virginia yesterday, killing three people and wounding three. One of the dead was the dean of the school.

Peter Odighizuma, 43, was believed to have been suspended from the Appalachian School of Law in the small town of Grundy earlier in the day, before returning with a .380 semi-automatic pistol. Jack Briggs, a local doctor and coroner who was one of the first to the scene, said the dean, Anthony Sutin - the chief legal adviser to the Democrat Al Gore in his failed bid for the American presidency in 2000 - and a professor had been “executed” in their offices.

Powder marks on their clothes showed that they had been shot dead at point -blank range. The gunman then emerged, firing indiscriminately at other students.

In the pandemonium, one student was killed and three others were critically wounded before four male students overpowered the gunman. “They just wanted the guy. They weren’t worried about their own personal safety,” said Dr Briggs. “Blood and bodies were everywhere.”

Last night, Mr Odighizuma was being held in custody in Grundy. Dr Briggs described him as a Nigerian who had failed his first year.

The three wounded students, one of whom had been struck by a bullet in the back and two hit in the chest, were airlifted to a nearby hospital. Dr Briggs described their condition as “critical”.

The incident is the latest in a string of shootings in schools and factories in the United States in recent weeks. The attack has had a shattering impact on a small and close-knit community in one of the poorest parts of the state, deep in the Appalachian mountains.

The school was established in 1997 to ease a shortage of lawyers and to spur development in Grundy, which has a population of only 1,400. Mark Warner, the Democratic Governor of Virginia, is a former member of the school’s board, whose first class of 34 students graduated in 2000. The school currently has 170 students and 15 members of faculty.

Mr Sutin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was made principal with a staff of just 15. A former Justice Department official, he left the Clinton administration to become dean of the school.

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Disgruntled law student kills three in US school

Patrick Smyth
The Irish Times

A disgruntled law student yesterday shot and killed the college dean, another member of staff and a fellow student in a small rural college in Virginia. Three others were injured before students subdued the killer, according to state police.

The Appalachian School of Law is in Grundy, Buchanan County, near the Kentucky border. It has a student body of only 170. Early reports said that the foreign exchange student had been upset at his grades and had opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol.

He was tackled and apprehended by his fellow students after killing the dean, Dr Anthony Sutin, and firing on others. He is now in custody. “It looked like a war zone,” reported Dr Jack Briggs, the local coroner who was one of the first on the scene. He said the killer was a former patient of his whom he treated for stress. He believed the student was about to be expelled from the school.

Dr Sutin was a former US Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs who served in the Clinton administration under the former Attorney General, Ms Janet Reno. The law school opened in 1997 in a renovated junior high school in this small town 120 miles west of Roanoke.

The school was opened to ease a historic shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of south-west Virginia, and to help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The first class of 34 graduated in 2000. The school has about 15 academic staff.

Despite a number of high-profile school-killing incidents, including the Columbine high-school massacre, US schools are becoming safer. There are fewer violent deaths every year, although there has been an increase in incidents involving multiple victims.

The FBI Uniform Crime Reports showed that between 1993 and 1999, youth homicides decreased 68 per cent to their lowest rate since 1966. In 1998, the National Crime Victimisation Survey showed that youth crime overall was at its lowest rate in the survey’s 25-year history.

The number of children killed in high-school violence is about half the number of Americans killed every year by lightning. A federal study of 253 school-related violent deaths published last week found that in most cases there were warning signs, such as a note, diary entry or a threat. The killings were usually not random but stemmed from personal disputes over romance or money, or were related to gang activity.

Student killers were more likely to have been bullied by peers, to have been involved in discipline problems at school or uninvolved in school activities.

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News in brief

Nina Gilbert, Greer Fay Cashman, Gil Hoffman, Tal Muscal, AP
The Jerusalem Post

Burg ready to speak to PA body in Ramallah

Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg yesterday welcomed an invitation to address the Palestinian Legislative Assembly in Ramallah. Burg said, however, he is waiting for a formal invitation for him and a Knesset delegation to meet with the Palestinian lawmakers.

“Every opportunity must be exploited to open dialogue and end the cycle of violence,” Burg said from the US, after he learned of the invitation from broadcast on Israel Radio. Nina Gilbert Katsav interview with Egyptian TV to air today

President Moshe Katsav is to appear on Good Morning Egypt today, when Egyptian Television broadcasts an hour- long interview with Katsav filmed at Beit Hanassi, from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.

In the interview, which Katsav called a goodwill gesture, the president invited Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek to pay a state visit to Israel, and also stressed the necessity for Egypt to return its ambassador to Israel. Katsav said exemplary Egyptian leadership has facilitated peace with Israel, and contrasted the Egyptian leadership with that of the Palestinians. Katsav has said PA Chairman Yasser Arafat must take strategic decisions to bring about an end to terrorism, and that he must emulate the courage of the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.

Greer Fay Cashman

High hopes for late-night budget meeting

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Finance Minister Silvan Shalom, and Shas chairman Eli Yishai met late last night at the Prime Minister’s Office in an effort to hammer out a compromise on the Large Families Law, the last obstacle to passing the budget. Spokesman for Shalom and Yishai said progress had been made in talks throughout the day and expressed confidence about last night’s meeting, which ended after press time. Shas and United Torah Judaism rejected one compromise, whereby child allowances would paid only for children under 16. Yishai prefers limiting the allowances to families that receive a monthly income of less than NIS 10,500. Gil Hoffman

PM may oust Government Companies head

The Prime Minister’s Office said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed his dissatisfaction last night with Government Companies Authority Director Yaron Jacobs. Sharon said Jacobs has not acted according to his instructions, despite a September meeting during which both men discussed Jacob’s actions. Jacobs has been a main supporter of privatizing state-owned companies. Sharon called on Jacobs not to request a renewal of his special contract, which expires March 31. They will meet Tuesday. If the prime minister decides not to extend the contract, Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander will head a search committee for a new authority head. Tal Muscal

Three slain in shooting spree at US law school

GRUNDY, Virginia (AP) - A gunman killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting spree yesterday at the Appalachian School of Law in the western Virginia foothills, officials said. The slain included a student, a faculty member, and the dean, L. Anthony Sutin. State police believe students were able to apprehend the suspect, a spokeswoman said. Details on the suspect or the capture were not immediately available, but the weapon used was a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun. Three students were wounded but their conditions were not immediately known. The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students.

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Students grab college gunman after ‘executions’

The Journal
The Journal (Newcastle, UK)

USA: Four students last night overpowered a gunman who “executed” three people at their college.

The four tackled the man as he wielded a .380 semi-automatic pistol and held him until police arrived at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia.

He had shot and killed three people, including the dean of the college and a professor, and wounded three other women students. One was last night in a faire condition, the other two were critical and undergoing surgery.

The first medical worker on the scene said dean Anthony Sutin had been “executed” with shots to the head and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

“They were shot at point blank range,” Dr Jack Briggs said.

“It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

The two teachers were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on a spree in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said: “This student was a foreign student who flunked out of school.”

He was given another chance but the dean was about to tell him that he would have to go.

Dr Briggs said the three shot students had been helicoptered to hospitals near the small town in a rural area of the Appalachian Mountains.

He said the gunman had been a patient of his. “I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress. He was a timebomb waiting to go off. “

The college was set up in 1997 to help the run-down coal mining area’s economy.

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Three Killed at Virginia Law School

Associated Press
The Legal Intelligencer

Grundy, Va. - A gunman killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting spree yesterday at a tiny law school in the western Virginia foothills, officials said.

The slain included a student, a faculty member and the dean of the Appalachian School of Law, L. Anthony Sutin, said Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, served on the school board until he took office last week.

State police believe students were able to apprehend the suspect, Qualls said. Details on the suspect or the capture were not immediately available, but Qualls said the weapon used was a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

Three students were wounded and taken to Buchanan General Hospital, Qualls said. Their conditions were not immediately known.

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students.

The governor said he was shocked and saddened by the shooting.

“I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect, who is now in custody,” Warner said. “My heart goes out to the school and the community. I know that such a close-knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was also an associate professor at the school. He previously worked on election law and campaign finance issues at the Hogan & Hartson law firm in Washington and worked for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 just a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

School founders hope to ease a shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The American Bar Association rejected the school’s first application for accreditation in 1999.

The school graduated its first class of 34 in 2000. There are about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

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LAW STUDENT KILLS 3 AT APPALACHIAN COLLEGE;

Lee Mueller
Lexington Herald Leader (Kentucky)

GRUNDY, Va.—Three people were shot to death yesterday at a small Appalachian law school near the Kentucky border by a troubled student who apparently had just flunked out for a second time, officials said.

Three students, including a woman who graduated from Berea College, were injured in the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law before the alleged attacker was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed by other students.

Killed were the school’s dean, L. Anthony Sutin, 42, and Professor Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, both of Grundy, who were gunned down in their offices; and first-year student Angela Denise Dales, 33, of Vansant, Va.

Peter Odighizuwa, 42, a native of Nigeria who was living in Grundy, was charged with three counts of capital murder and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, said Mike Stater, public information officer for the Virginia State Police. Odighizuwa was being held last night in the Buchanan County, Va., Jail.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a practice a half-mile from the school, which is 13 miles from the Pike County border.

Student Chase Goodman, 27, of Pikeville, described a horrifying scene of screaming and blood.

“There were pools of blood all over,” Goodman said.

Stater said Odighizuwa went to the school to discuss his academic dismissal, which went into effect yesterday, with Professor Dale Reuben. As he left Reuben’s office, “he reportedly asked professor Reuben to pray for him,” Stater said.

Odighizuwa went into the offices of Sutin and Blackwell about 1:15 p.m. and opened fire with a Jennings .380 semiautomatic pistol, Stater said. Sutin and Blackwell died at the scene.

Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on the students, killing one and injuring three, Stater said.

Among the injured was Stacey Beans, 22, a first-year student who was shot once in the chest, police said. She was taken to Bristol, Tenn., Regional Hospital, where she underwent surgery and was listed last night in fair condition.

Beans, a 2001 graduate of Berea College, is from Paducah.

Her sister, Stephanie Medley of Paducah, said Beans wanted to go to school in Grundy to escape the dangers of a big city.

“They wanted to go someplace where they would feel safe. That was the main attraction,” Medley said. “It was a safe place, they thought.”

Also injured were first-year student Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke, Va., who was shot in the abdomen and the arm, and second-year student Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy, who was shot in the throat. Both were in fair condition last night at a Kingsport, Tenn., hospital.

The school’s 3.5-acre campus, which opened in 1997 in the town of 1,100, includes a building constructed in 1939 as Grundy High School and another building that had been a junior high.

Todd Ross, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn., a third-year law student, said he was standing outside the former high school building when he heard five to seven shots coming from the direction of the student lounge, which is in that building.

He said he saw Odighizuwa come out of the building with his gun pointed upward. Ross said he yelled at Odighizuwa to throw down the gun, and he did.

“I asked him to step over toward the flagpole and get down on the ground,” Ross said.

At that point, Ross said, another student, former Wilmington, N.C., police officer Ted Besen, approached Odighizuwa, who swung at him. Ross then wrestled Odighizuwa to the ground.

A third student, also a former police officer, went to his car, got a pair of handcuffs and put them on Odighizuwa before police arrived, Ross said.

“He kept saying, ‘I didn’t have anyplace else to go’” Ross said.

Zeke Jackson, 40, of Fort Worth, Texas, a second-year student who said he entered school with Odighizuwa in the fall of 2000, said Odighizuwa flunked out after that semester. He said Odighizuwa didn’t tell his wife, and went to campus every day, often hanging out in the library.

He was allowed to re-enroll last fall, but was dismissed again.

“He was isolated and abrasive,” Jackson said.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., also said Odighizuwa had flunked out a year ago and “the dean bent over backward to get him enrolled again.”

Briggs, the Grundy doctor, said he had treated Odighizuwa for depression in the past year. In an interview with CNN, Briggs said that, although Odighizuwa had not indicated that he planned violence, “he was a time bomb waiting to go off.”

Odighizuwa’s next-door neighbor, Shirley Trent Stanley, said Odighizuwa had four children, ages 3 to 9. The family moved into the yellow frame house in Grundy in July 2000, Stanley said.

Odighizuwa’s wife, whom Stanley called Abby, 34, works at a local hospital.

The couple had been separated since last summer, but had attempted a reconciliation of late, Stanley said.

Stanley said Peter Odighizuwa had been in the United States about 20 years. He had previously lived in Washington state, and came to Grundy from Dayton, Ohio, she said.

The law school graduated its first class of 34—including two Kentuckians—in May 2000.

The private school has an enrollment of about 234 students. There are about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law, was also an associate professor at the school who taught constitutional law. He left the U. S. Justice Department to found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Sutin was instrumental in establishing the school to provide better legal services for Appalachian communities.

The school was closed until Tuesday as the town and students struggled to cope with the tragedy. A memorial service is scheduled for noon today.

Sallie Lawson, 35, of Johnson City, Tenn., who was introduced to Odighizuwa yesterday morning by Jackson, her friend, said Odighizuwa acted peculiar and distracted.

“I shook the guy’s hand. I never imagined anything like this was going to happen,” Lawson said.

*

Staff writer Lance Williams, The Associated Press and the New York Times News Service contributed to this report.

GRAPHIC: STEVE HELBER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Virginia State Police investigators conducted an interview yesterday in an office at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va. A Nigerian native who had flunked out of the school is being held.

JOSH MELTZER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

A police officer took video images yesterday of the Appalachian School of Law. A Paducah woman who graduated from Berea College was wounded in shootings that killed three people, including the school’s dean and a professor.

STEVE HELBER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Police and emergency workers removed the body of a victim at the law school, 13 miles from Pike County.

L. Anthony Sutin, the dean, was killed.

Peter Odighizuwa is facing murder charges.

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Dean, Professor and Student Killed at Law School in Va.; Crime: Students tackle the gunman minutes after the shootings. The suspect, a student, is a Nigerian immigrant.

Jeffrey Gettleman, Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writers
Los Angeles Times

A student apparently irate over failing grades burst into the dean’s office with a semiautomatic pistol and killed the dean, a professor and then another student Wednesday at a small private law school amid the coal fields of Appalachia, authorities said.

Other students tackled the gunman minutes after he stalked through the tiny campus of the Appalachian School of Law where he wounded three others during the shooting spree.

State police said they were holding Peter Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old Nigerian immigrant, as the suspected gunman. He had been dismissed from the law school earlier Wednesday; other students said it was the second time that he had failed first-year classes.

“Pray for me,” Odighizuwa said to a professor right before he started shooting, according to police.

They described Odighizuwa as a loner, a Nigerian immigrant who spoke with such a strong accent that it was difficult for them to understand him.

Odighizuwa allegedly shot dean L. Anthony Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell in their offices, then opened fire, emptying two magazines of .380 bullets in a student lounge, where his classmates were gathered over lunch.

The third fatality was identified as Angela Dales, 33, a former recruiter for the law school who had enrolled as a student last semester.

“The dean and the professor were executed . . . at point-blank range,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, the county medical examiner. “The dean had a white shirt on, and you can see the two bullet holes in his back. You could see the powder burns.”

Two of the wounded students were shot in the back, apparently as they attempted to flee the lounge, Briggs said. “It looked like a war zone,” he said. All the wounded were airlifted to hospitals in Tennessee.

Students who responded to the sound of the gunshots described a nightmarish scene in the lounge–and what seemed an interminable wait before police and paramedics arrived. Using folding coffee tables as makeshift stretchers, several students bundled the wounded into cars and drove them to the local hospital. Two other students, both former police officers, took control of the room and tried to maintain the integrity of the crime scene.

“There was a huge puddle of blood [around one victim] and a trail of blood across the floor,” said first-year student Eric Creed, who helped organize the stretcher brigade. “We were just shocked. Everyone is so shocked.”

Odighizuwa was described as a foul-tempered student who would talk back in class and kick cars when he was angry.

“Peter would snap at you for no reason–even when you tried to reach out to him,” said second-year law student Zeke Jackson.

He seemed to have struggled from the moment he arrived, an immigrant with four young children and a wife and a serious grudge.

“He always thought he was getting picked on,” said Kenneth Brown, a first-year student. “I had been told to stay away from him.”

Grundy, population just over 1,000 and sandwiched between the rolling hills of Appalachia, was in disbelief Wednesday as news crews rolled in one after the other and Virginia state troopers cordoned off the two-story brick law school with yellow police tape.

“Such a close-knit community,” said Gov. Mark Warner, a former member of the law school’s board, “will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

Grundy is indeed close-knit; rather than abandoning the town in the face of repeat flooding, the residents have banded together, with state and federal help, on a proposal to move Grundy to higher ground. The historic downtown is expected to relocate, and nearly the whole population will likely follow.

Coal mining long had been king here in far southwestern Virginia. But as the industry has slumped in recent years, civic leaders have been searching for new ways to stimulate development.

Amid all the town’s problems, the Appalachian School of Law became a source of immense pride–and promise.

Established five years ago in a renovated junior high, the school set forth a mission of training attorneys to serve rural Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. Its founders hoped that the school would bring prestige to a region long stereotyped as hillbilly.

Although its students–many of them middle-aged and launching a second career–come from all over the country, locals have come to view the school as an integral part of the community and hope that its presence will spur more and more area residents to strive for higher education.

Last year the school, which has about 250 students, graduated its first class of 34.

“It was a very big deal to get the school in the first place, and then to get it accredited,” said Ed Talbott, director of the local library.

One fervent believer in that mission was the 42-year-old Sutin, a 1984 Harvard Law School graduate who came to Appalachia after serving as an assistant attorney general during the Clinton administration.

Gettleman reported from Grundy and Simon from St. Louis. Times staff writer Massie Ritsch in Los Angeles and researchers Edith Stanley in Atlanta and John Beckham in Chicago contributed to this report.

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EXAM KILLER;

Andy Lines
The Mirror

AN angry law student “executed” his college dean and two other people yesterday after failing his exams.

The student went on the rampage with a gun killing Anthony Sutin, another professor and a female student. Three other students were “critically ill” last night after being shot in the back as they fled the Nigerian gunman.

Other students overpowered the man and held him until police arrived.

Witness Chase Goodman said: “There was blood all over the place. I saw a girl hit in the neck.”

Dr Jack Briggs, who treated victims at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, said Mr Sutin and the professor were “executed at point blank range” before the gunman started firing at random.

He said the gunman, who was a foreign exchange student, had failed his exams last year but had been given a second chance.

Dr Briggs said: “I believe the dean was just about to tell him he was no longer able to come back. It appears to be revenge.”

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The shootings at Appalachian School of Law


Today (7:00 AM ET) - NBC

KATIE COURIC, co-host:

On CLOSE UP this morning, the law school shooting. As we’ve been reporting, on Wednesday, a student opened fire at Virginia’s Appalachian School of Law, killing the dean, a professor and another student. Three others were wounded in the attack. In the crucial moments after the rampage, a few students moved quickly to try to apprehend the suspect and stop the shooting.

One of those students is Tracy Bridges.

Mr. Bridges, good morning.

Mr. TRACY BRIDGES (Helped to apprehend law school student): Good morning.

COURIC: I know the–the shooting broke out around 1:30, I guess, in the afternoon. Can you describe what you witnessed?

Mr. BRIDGES: Yes, ma’am. We were–we had a class at 1:30. We had arrived a little earlier, around 1:00. Shortly after we got to the classroom, we heard three shots fired. It kind of was muffled and we thought it was a gunshot. Just a few seconds later we heard three more shots and a scream. Myself and another student, Ted Besen, left the classroom. We ran into a professor and he said that Peter had a gun and that he was shooting. I ran back to the classroom and told the other classmates to get out, that we had a shooter in the building.

COURIC: When he…

Mr. BRIDGES: At that time…

COURIC: When he said, Tracy that ‘Peter has a gun,’ you knew exactly who he was talking about, didn’t you?

Mr. BRIDGES: Yes, ma’am.

COURIC: Why?

Mr. BRIDGES: It is a relatively small school. That’s really the only Peter that I know. I know that he was a repeat student. I mean, that was the only Peter that I knew at the time.

COURIC: Did you know that this Peter was having trouble in school, or that there was–was any reason for him to be upset or agitated or angry?

Mr. BRIDGES: I knew he had some academic problems, that he was a restart student, which means that he didn’t do so well the first semester he was here. And the school allowed him to come back and try again. That’s all, you know, that’s all I knew at the time.

COURIC: What happened next, Tracy, after you heard a professor say that Peter had a gun?

Mr. BRIDGES: I went back to the classroom and told the students to get out, that there was a shooter in the building. We herded them out the–the back stairwell. At that time, me and Ted Besen went down the back stairwell, and my vehicle was parked in a parking spot between the shooter and the back stairwell. We seen the shooter, started to approach him, stopped at my vehicle, and got out my handgun, and started to approach Peter. At that time, Peter throwed up his hands and throwed his weapon down. Ted was first person to have contact with Peter, and Peter hit him one time in the face. So there was a little bit of a struggle there. After that, Ted pushed him back, me, Ted and another student, Todd Ross, took Peter to the ground and subdued him until we had some handcuffs to put him in.

COURIC: I should mention, Tracy, that you are a police officer, a trained police officer. You were one in–in North Carolina. And another student, I understand, who was able to help, Michael Gross, he handed you a pair of handcuffs so you could handcuff the suspect. Must have been incredibly fortuitous that you all had police training and a police background that you were able to–to act in such a–a quick and appropriate way.

Mr. BRIDGES: Yes, ma’am. It all kind of happened real fast. We, you know, just kind of done what we could at the time.

COURIC: Tell me a little bit about the dean who was killed as a result of this, Anthony Sutin. I understand that you and he had a very close relationship.

Mr. BRIDGES: Yes, ma’am. Me and Dean Sutin, I got to know him when I was a first year student here before he was dean. He was a professor. I had him in class and he was a very close friend and mentor. Usually during the day if I found a few minutes extra time, I went by and had discussions with Dean Sutin. He’s written me several job recommendations. Just an extraordinary guy.

COURIC: Along with Dean Sutin, Thomas Blackwell, a professor, and Angela Dales, a student, were both also killed. What is the reaction? I mean, this is such a shocking event, particularly for your community, which is a very quiet community normally?

Mr. BRIDGES: Yes, ma’am. It’s just real shocking right now. Our hearts go out to, of course, Professor Sutin, or Dean Sutin’s family, and Professor Blackwell’s family, and Angela’s family as well. Professor Blackwell, and also Dean Sutin, had children, and everybody is just real worried about that. And it just seems kind of surreal right now.

COURIC: Well, Tracy Bridges, we thank you so much for talking with us this morning. And thank you for your quick–quick and steady action. I’m sure you were a big help given the–the chaos of the situation. Tracy, thank you so much.

Mr. BRIDGES: Yes, ma’am.

COURIC: Now, here’s Matt.

MATT LAUER, co-host:

Katie, thank you.

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Disgruntled student goes on shooting rampage, killing three and wounding three others


Today (7:00 AM ET) - NBC

ANN CURRY, anchor:

A small law school in Virginia, as you just heard, is reeling this morning after a shooting rampage on campus Wednesday. Three people were killed, including the dean of the law school. A suspect is in custody. NBC’s Virginia Cha is in Grundy, Virginia, with more on this story.

Virginia, good morning.

VIRGINIA CHA reporting:

Good morning, Ann.

The suspect faces arraignment this morning on three counts of capital murder. He’s accused of shooting to death two members of the faculty and one student. Officials say he had a history of mental instability, and that just before the shooting rampage, asked a professor, who he did not harm, to pray for him.

Students at this tiny law school shocked by the tragic killings. A struggling law student, 43-year-old Peter Odighizuwa, apparently angry about being suspended because of his grades. Police say he took out his frustration with deadly violence first shooting two faculty members, including L. Anthony Sutin, the dean of the Appalachian School of Law.

Mr. MICHAEL SLATER (Virginia State Police): The suspect then went downstairs to the first floor and shot the other students as he exited the building. As he walked out of the building, three students grabbed him and subdued him and forced him to the ground.

CHA: The school of just 170 students described as a tight knit community, now grieving over the death of their friends.

Three students seriously injured in that shooting are listed in fair condition this morning. The school is holding a memorial service later today, open to the public. Ann:

CURRY: NBC’s Virginia Cha. Thank you, Virginia.

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NBC’s Today show, 7:00 AM


Today (7:00 AM ET) - NBC

MATT LAUER, co-host:

Good morning. Death on campus. A 43-year-old law student is in custody in Virginia after going on a shooting rampage killing three and wounding three others before he was captured. The stunned community at Appalachian Law School holds a memorial service for the victims today, Thursday, January 17th, 2002.

Announcer: From NBC News, this is TODAY, with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, live from Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza.

LAUER: And welcome to TODAY on a Thursday morning. I’m Matt Lauer.

KATIE COURIC, co-host:

And I’m Katie Couric. Killed in this rampage, the dean of the school, a professor and a student. It’s just a terrible story.

LAUER: It really is. Apparently the gunman failed to make the grade last year and was allowed to come back this year, but he was suspended again for low marks and was on campus to discuss that with school officials. We’ll have details on the story from the newsdesk in a moment, and then we’ll talk to one of the students who helped to subdue the shooter.

Then we’ll talk about airport security. It is supposed to get much tighter tomorrow. That’s when airlines will be required to screen all baggage, the deadline set by the Airline Security Law passed after the September 11th attacks. But will the system be ready? And what about delays? We’ll talk to the transportation secretary, Norman Mineta, about that.

COURIC: And if you’ve been frustrated with long waits at the doctor’s office, how would you like your doctor on call for you all the time? Well, if you can cough up the money, you can take advantage of the newest trend, luxury medical care. We’re going to be talking with two doctors setting up this new boutique form of medicine. Plus, the curse of the cover, why one magazine is breaking with tradition and did not put a famous face on its cover. The question is, will the jinx be broken?

LAUER: Remember the miniseries “Roots?”

COURIC: Of course, I do. I sure do.

LAUER: A full week that stopped this nation 25 years ago, hard to believe. We’re going to look back at the groundbreaking television drama, and we’ll talk to one of the stars about its legacy.

COURIC: We’ll also show you the latest in workout clothes. They’re not just for the gym anymore. And I’ve got two scary words for you ladies, flash dance.

LAUER: Oh! All right, before we get to that, let’s head over to the newsdesk. Ann Curry has the overnight developments.

ANN CURRY, anchor:

All right, thanks a lot, Matt and Katie. Good morning.

Good morning, everybody.

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3 Slain at Law School; Student Is Held

Francis X. Clines
The New York Times

A distressed student facing suspension stormed through the campus of the Appalachian School of Law today with a handgun, killing the dean, a professor and a student and wounding three others before he was tackled by fellow students, the state police reported.

“Come get me, come get me,” the gunman was heard saying as terrorized witnesses ran for their lives here in this coal mining town in a remote corner of mountainous Appalachia.

“He was a time bomb waiting to go off,” Dr. Jack Briggs, a county coroner, told news reporters about the alleged assailant, Peter Odighizuwa, 42, a student from Nigeria. The authorities said the school had told Mr. Odighizuwa on Tuesday that he would be suspended because of failing grades.

State officials said that Mr. Odighizuwa, who was charged with three counts of capital murder, had a history of mental instability and that school authorities had sought to help him.

In a running assault, the gunman confronted and fatally shot the law school dean, L. Anthony Sutin, 42, who was a senior Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. Mr. Sutin was shot in his second-floor office, as was Thomas F. Blackwell, 41, a member of the faculty.

The third person killed, Angela Denise Dales, 33, of Vansant, Va., was described as a former law school employee who was widely admired for achieving her dream of finally enrolling as a student. She was shot in the school lounge with a .380 semiautomatic pistol.

The gunfire stunned the campus and surrounding town of 1,100 residents as it delivered death to a school envisioned in the 1990’s as a pastoral outpost to answer the chronic problems of educational need in one of the more distant and impoverished parts of Appalachia. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school and now has 170 students and 15 faculty members.

Mr. Sutin was praised by faculty and students as a dedicated pioneer at the school, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who had specialized in legislative affairs for former Attorney General Janet Reno before turning to the school as a fresh adventure. Professor Blackwell, a graduate of Duke University School of Law, was recruited to the faculty from his law practice in Dallas.

The three wounded students, hospitalized in fair to critical condition tonight, were identified as Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke, Va., who was shot in the abdomen; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy, who was shot in the throat; and Stacey Bean, 22, of Berea, Ky., who was shot in the chest.

“There were pools of blood all over,” Chase Goodman, a 27-year-old student, said in describing a scene punctuated with screams and gunfire.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Briggs, who arrived at the first emergency alarm. Two victims suffered point-blank wounds “execution style,” one doctor at the scene said.

Mr. Odighizuwa was subdued by three law students who were experienced police officers, the authorities said.

“We’re trained to run into the situation instead away from it,” said one of the three, Mikael Gross, 34, of Charlotte, N.C., who ran to his car for his bulletproof vest and service pistol before tackling the suspect.

Mr. Gross said that when he returned to the building he saw the gunman strike Ted Besen, another former officer, in the head. Mr. Gross said that he and another former officer, Tracy Bridges, then tackled the man.

Students described Mr. Odighizuwa as a troubled, sometimes abrasive classmate who became particularly upset after receiving failing grades a year ago.

“The dean bent over backward to get him enrolled again,” Justin Marlowe, a first-year student from Richwood, W.Va., told The Associated Press. Students said that Mr. Odighizuwa had been separated from his wife and that they shared custody of their four children, an additional factor of stress after he failed his first-year classes.

“I knew he would destroy some property or take something from the school, but not kill people like he did,” said Zeke Jackson, 40, a student from Fort Worth , who is head of the Black Student Association.

Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement of condolence to Dean Sutin’s wife and their two children. “The entire Justice Department is mourning the loss of a dedicated public servant,” Mr. Ashcroft said.

Appalled witnesses emphasized the remoteness of the school as a presumed safety factor that failed here in this rustic outpost.

“You know, the World Trade Center is in New York, but Appalachian Law School is right here in a very small community in southwest Virginia,” Dr. Briggs told CNN. “This is about as close as you can get to a war zone.” The doctor said the shootings were “just a matter of him releasing his anger on the world, I guess.”

Gov. Mark R. Warner of Virginia, who was on the school’s board until he took office last week, commended the students who apprehended the suspect.

“My heart goes out to the school and the community,” Mr. Warner said. “I know that such a close-knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

http://www.nytimes.com

CORRECTION-DATE: January 21, 2002, Monday

CORRECTION:

An article on Thursday about a rampage shooting at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., in which a student was charged, misstated the number of people shot to death in 1991 by a student at the University of Iowa. It was five, not four, besides himself.

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Law School Slayings;

Hugo Kugiya
Newsday (New York)

A student who had been dismissed from law school opened fire at the campus yesterday, shooting to death three people, including the dean of the small Appalachian School of Law in rural Grundy, Va., authorities said. Police said the gunman, identified as Peter Odighizuwa, 42, also wounded three female students at the school before being overpowered by classmates and taken into custody by police. The dead included Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Prof. Thomas Blackwell, said Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who served on the board of the law school until he took office last week. Police identified the third victim as a student, Angela Dales, 33. The three wounded students were hospitalized yesterday in fair condition. Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, had been dismissed for academic reasons effective yesterday, authorities said. Qualls said Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability, of which school officials were aware. Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., attended all the same classes as Odighizuwa. “He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself,” Marlowe said. “He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this.” Marlowe said Odighizuwa had flunked out a year ago and “the dean bent over backward to get him enrolled again.” Other students said he had failed first-year classes at least twice. When he arrived on campus yesterday, Odighizuwa first stopped in the office of Prof. Dale Rubin to talk about his grades and as he left he asked Rubin to pray for him, police said. He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot each one with a .380-caliber pistol, said state police spokesman Mike Stater. Blackwell had taught contract law to Odighizuwa. Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing Dales and seriously wounding three others, according to witnesses. Todd Ross, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn., was among the students who were outside when Odighizuwa left the building. Ross said the suspect was holding his hands in the air and dropped the gun at his prompting. Odighizuwa was promptly tackled and “struggled after we got him on the ground, but then just laid there,” Ross said. He said the suspect kept shouting, “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go.” Dr. Jack Briggs, the county medical examiner, said Odighizuwa was tackled by four male students as he left the building. The suspect was being held at the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three weapons counts, authorities said. The school will be closed for the rest of the week. “This affects everyone,” said a woman who works in the town’s library one-quarter mile away. “Most of the people in the town know at least some of the people at the law school. It’s heartbreaking.” The private law school opened in 1997 in a former junior high school building and graduated its first class of 34 in 2000. About 170 students are enrolled at the school, which has yet to be accredited by the American Bar Association. Tuition is $16,000 a year. Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also taught two courses in constitutional law. He was a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Hogan & Hartson before joining the U.S. Department of Justice. Blackwell, an associate professor, previously worked in private practice in Dallas. The school was opened with the hope that it would ease a shortage of lawyers and attract economic activity in the rural and depressed area. This story was supplemented with wire service reports.

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‘FAILED STUDENT’ KILLS DEAN


Newsletter

FOUR students overpowered a gunman who went on a shooting spree at their US college last night, killing three people in what a doctor described as ”executions”.

The four students tackled the man while he was still armed with a .380 semi-automatic pistol and managed to hold him until police arrived at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia.

He had already shot and killed three people, including the dean of the college and one of the professors, and left three other students critically injured.

The doctor who was the first medical worker on the scene said the dean of the school, Anthony Sutin, had been ”executed” with shots to the head, and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

“It appears as though some of these shots were after one professor was down and they were shot at point-blank range,” said Dr Jack Briggs.

“Two shots were shot into the dean in the head. It appears he was executed. It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

The two staff members were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on a spree in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said the gunman was a ”foreign exchange student” and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school which has around 170 students and was founded in 1997.

“Four students tackled him and took him down,” said the doctor. “They got him down and kept him for his police. I do not believe he had given up his weapon.

“This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year.

“He was given another chance, but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave.

“He took his anger out on the people who I think he thought were responsible for him leaving the school.”

The three students were described as being ”critical” by Dr Briggs, and had been transferred by helicopter to hospitals near the small town, which is in a rural area of the Appalachian Mountains.

The doctor added: ”The person who did the shooting was a patient of mine. I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress.

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off. There are lots of things that will come out in the trial that I think are probably pretty pertinent to his personality.”

The college was set up in 1997 to help the run-down coal-mining area’s economy and Mr Sutin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was made principal with a staff of just 15.

Dr Briggs paid tribute to the dean and said: ”He was a real good guy.”

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EXPELLED LAW STUDENT KILLS 3 ON CAMPUS;

Stephanie Simon
Orlando Sentinel (Florida)

A student apparently irate over his failing grades killed three people and seriously wounded three others Wednesday at a small private law school in Grundy, Va., amid the coal fields of Appalachia, authorities said.

Other students tackled the gunman to the ground minutes after he stalked through the tiny campus of the Appalachian School of Law with a semiautomatic handgun—killing a student, a popular professor and the school’s dean.

State police said they were holding Peter Odighizuma, 43, in custody as the suspected gunman. He had been dismissed from the law school earlier Wednesday; other students said it was at least the second time that he had failed first-year classes. They described Odighizuma as a loner, a Nigerian immigrant who spoke with such a strong accent that it was difficult for them to understand him.

Odighizuma allegedly shot Professor Thomas Blackwell and Dean L. Anthony Sutin in their offices, then opened fire in the hallway and in a student lounge, where his classmates were gathered over lunch.

Sutin previously worked at the U.S. Justice Department for then-Attorney General Janet Reno, and as director of legislative affairs at the department before moving to the law school.

“The dean and the professor were executed at point-blank range,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, the county medical examiner. “The dean had a white shirt on, and you can see the two bullet holes in his back. You could see the powder burns.”

Two of the students were shot in the back, apparently as they attempted to flee the lounge, Briggs said. Police identified the slain student as Angela Dales.

Students who responded to the sound of the gunshots described a surreal scene of carnage in the lounge—and what seemed an interminable wait before police and paramedics arrived. Using folding coffee tables as makeshift stretchers, several students bundled the wounded into cars and drove them to the local hospital. Two other students, both former police officers, took control of the room and tried to maintain the crime scene.

Established five years ago, the school set forth a mission of training attorneys to serve rural Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.

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COMMUNITY IN MOURNING AFTER COLLEGE MASSACRE

Hugh Dougherty
Press Association

A close-knit American community was today in mourning after a college student killed his dean, a lecturer and another student, and injured three women students during a shooting rampage.

The gunman, who has not been named, was overpowered by four other students while still wielding his semi-automatic handgun at the tiny college campus at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

The remote town was in shock after the shootings, with the dean of the college, a professor and a student all dead, while the three injured women were recovering in hospital after surgery.

Dr Jack Briggs, the first doctor on the scene, said the dean, Anthony Sutin, had apparently been shot twice in the head at point-blank range, while the professor, who has not been named, was shot while he lay wounded on the ground.

“It appears as though some of these shots were fired after one professor was down and they were shot at point blank range,” the doctor told Fox News.

“Two shots were shot into the dean in the head. It appears he was executed.

“It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

The two staff members were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on the rampage in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said the gunman was a “foreign exchange student” and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school which has around 170 students and was founded in 1997.

“Four students tackled him and took him down,” said the doctor.

“They got him down and kept him for his police. I do not believe he had given up his weapon.

“This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year.

“He was given another chance, but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave.

“He took his anger out on the people who I think he thought were responsible for him leaving the school.”

The doctor added: “The person who did the shooting was a patient of mine. I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress.”

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off. There are lots of things that will come out in the trial that I think are probably pretty pertinent to his personality.”

Harvard-educated Mr Sutin had been the top legal adviser to former US vice president Al Gore when he made his failed bid for the presidency in 1994 and had also been an assistant attorney-general, one of America’s top prosecutors.

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THREE KILLED AT LAW SCHOOL;

Rex Bowman
Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)

A student suspended for poor grades is charged with killing three people and wounding three others yesterday at the Appalachian School of Law before fellow students tackled and subdued him, according to authorities.

L. Anthony Sutin, 42, the dean of the school, and associate professor Thomas Blackwell, 41, were in their offices when they were shot and killed. The third person killed was student Angela Dales, 33, of Vansant, according to state police.

Peter Odighizuwa, 43, a Nigerian student who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, has been charged with three counts of capital murder and three counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, state police said. He is being held in the Buchanan County Jail.

Odighizuwa was dismissed last week for poor grades and was notified that his financial aid would be suspended effective yesterday, said Chris Clifton, financial aid director in the office of student services.

Odighizuwa came into the financial aid office Tuesday and was threatening and verbally abusive, Clifton said.

“He was very hostile.” Clifton said. “This student had previously threatened the entire office of student services. He had even stolen his file once before.”

Clifton said he was in his office on the first floor yesterday when the shootings occurred at about 1:15 p.m.

“We heard a lot of commotion outside [the office] and heard some gunshots,” he said.

“When we heard all that, I immediately locked the door and I got the people in the office out. We climbed through a window - me, two employees and three students who were in the office. I went back in to see if everybody was OK. By the time I got in, the students had [the gunman] on the ground.”

The wounded students are Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke, who was shot in the abdomen and arm and taken to Holston Valley Hospital in Kingsport, Tenn.; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy, who was shot in the back and was taken to Holston Valley; and Stacey Beans, 22, of Berea, Ky., who was shot in the chest and was flown to Bristol Regional Hospital.

All three were in fair condition last night, according to hospital officials.

State police spokesman Mike Stater said the suspect entered professor Dale Rubin’s office to discuss his grades and suspension.

“As he left that office, he reportedly asked professor Rubin to pray for him. The suspect then went into the offices of Sutin and Blackwell and opened fire with a Jennings .380 semiautomatic pistol,” Stater said.

“He then went downstairs and opened fire on the students, killing one and injuring the other three. As he walked out of the building, he was subdued by students and forced to the ground until Buchanan County sheriff’s deputies arrived to make the arrest.”

Zeke Jackson, of Fort Worth, Texas, a student at the law school, said of Odighizuwa: “He was a loner, somebody who would snap on you. He had an abrasive attitude.

“I thought he was going to hurt a student. I thought he was going to lash out at a student. He had been explosive when he was told he was wrong. I feel kind of guilty. I really wish I had talked to the dean of students or somebody. I wish I had gone into the dean’s office and said, ‘You need to get rid of this guy.’”

Dr. Jackie Briggs of Grundy, whose son-in-law is a student at the law school, said Odighizuwa’s wife was a nursing aide at Buchanan General Hospital. The nurses there had taken up a collection to “keep the kids from starving,” he said.

Odighizuwa’s wife had left him about three months ago and taken their four children with her, according to Clifton.

Del. Jackie T. Stump, D-Buchanan, disclosed the killings yesterday during a packed hearing on the state budget in the General Assembly Building in Richmond. The money committees observed a moment of silence to remember the victims.

Later, a tearful Stump, standing by the governor, told reporters, “You read about it and hear about it in other areas. When it comes home, it really hurts - good people.”

Gov. Mark R. Warner provided a state plane to Dr. Lucius F. Ellsworth, president of the Appalachian School of Law, to fly him back to Grundy. He had been in Richmond for a gathering of college presidents.

Warner, who had served on the law school’s board for almost two years, described the shootings as “a tragedy. We deplore this senseless act of violence. . . . I send out my personal sympathies to the families of the victims.”

At a news conference at the law school last night, Ellsworth said, “We are deeply saddened by this horrific tragedy. At this time, we find little meaning in these senseless acts. We know we can come together as the law school family in a loving, caring, supportive way.

“Each of us is suffering, but as a family, we can find strength to pass through this terrible dark and tragic valley.”

U.S. Sen. George Allen, a member of the school’s board of trustees, said, “The staff and faculty at Appalachian have always gone far out of their way to provide individual attention to students, so the loss of a student, a faculty member and Dean Sutin have hit the school especially hard.”

Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, said, “It was with great sadness that I learned of the shootings. . . . As natives of Southwest Virginia, my wife, Marty, and I extend our sympathies to the families and friends who lost loved ones in the senseless act.”

The law school opened in 1997 in an old school building in the Buchanan mountain town of 1,100 residents. The school, which has an enrollment of about 170, was opened with the hope of easing the shortage of lawyers in Southwest Virginia.

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RAMPAGE LEAVES 3 DEAD;

Laurence Hammack
Roanoke Times & World News (Roanoke, VA)

Minutes after he was told that he had flunked out of law school, a student went on a shooting rampage Wednesday, killing three people and wounding another three at the Appalachian School of Law.

“Pray for me,” Peter Odighizuwa reportedly told a law professor before gunfire rang out on the normally tranquil campus.

Authorities said other students wrestled Odighizuwa to the ground outside the school’s main building following the afternoon shooting, which claimed the lives of the dean, a professor and a first-year student. One of the three wounded students was from Roanoke.

Odighizuwa - described by fellow students as a loner convinced that school officials were out to get him - was being held in the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder.

Anthony Sutin, 42, who as dean of the school had allowed Odighizuwa to re-enroll after he flunked out once before, was among the victims. Also killed were professor Thomas Blackwell, 41, and Angela Denise Dales, 33, a former staffer at the school who became a student last year.

In the months before the shooting, Odighizuwa had become increasingly distraught about his trouble in school and a marriage that was also failing, students said.

“He just thought everyone was conspiring against him,” student John Harris said.

As students restrained him outside the building, Odighizuwa “kept saying, ‘I tried to get help; I tried to get help,’ ” said Mike Melkersen, a student who came upon the scene minutes after the shooting. “He said: ‘I even went to church; I tried to get help.’ “

Virginia State Police spokesman Mike Stater said that Odighizuwa, who was from Nigeria, went to professor Dale Rubin’s office about 1:15 p.m. to discuss his academic suspension, which became effective Wednesday.

After telling Rubin to pray for him, the suspect then went to the second-floor offices of Sutin and Blackwell. Both men were then shot with a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol, Stater said, and were pronounced dead at the scene.

Odighizuwa then went downstairs to a lobby, where Dales was shot along with three other students.

Rebecca Clair Brown, 38, of Roanoke, was shot in the abdomen and arm. She was listed in fair condition after surgery at Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn.

Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy, was shot in the throat and was listed in fair condition at the Kingsport hospital.

Stacey Bean, 22, of Berea, Ky., was shot in the chest. She was listed in fair condition after surgery at Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Dales, who was shot in the neck, was taken to Buchanan General Hospital in a hearse because it was the only vehicle at the scene that had a gurney, according to Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a family practice less than a mile from the school and was one of the first rescue workers on the scene.

Briggs said Dales died in the emergency room. “Everybody pitched in and tried to save these girls’ lives,” he said.

Minutes after the shooting, Odighizuwa walked out of the school and put his gun on the ground before he was confronted by passers-by. Two eight-shot magazines - both empty - were recovered by police.

After Odighizuwa was overpowered by students, police took him to the Buchanan County Jail.

Gov. Mark Warner, who previously served on the school’s board of trustees, said “We’ve experienced a great tragedy today. We deplore this senseless act of violence.”

The school will be closed for the rest of the week.

Zeke Jackson, president of the school’s black student association, said Odighizuwa was one of about 20 black students at the school.

Race was not the cause of Odighizuwa’s apparent resentment, Jackson said. But for some reason, the 42-year-old - known on campus as “Peter O” - became convinced that both faculty and students were behind his failure in the classroom, Jackson said.

“That was his prime motive: to get back at ASL,” Jackson said. “He used to say that people were messing with him, bothering him, trying to aggravate him.”

Odighizuwa, who often confided in Jackson about his problems, never made any direct threats that he would resort to violence, Jackson said. But whenever they tried to talk in detail about his problems, Odighizuwa became defensive, he said.

Jackson said that when Odighizuwa flunked out of school the first time in 2000, he never told his wife. He would continue to come to the campus, hanging out in the library but mostly keeping to himself.

Odighizuwa was allowed to re-enroll last fall - a decision that Sutin had a hand in, Jackson said.

“Dean Sutin was a wonderful guy,” Jackson said. “Dean Sutin didn’t have to give him another chance, but he did.”

Alex Vanburen, a second-year student who had several classes with Odighizuwa, said he “was a pretty isolated guy. He didn’t have a lot of friends.”

Some time last fall, Odighizuwa stood up in class and began to talk about how he could not afford groceries for his wife and children, Vanburen said. After that, students took up a collection for Odighizuwa and left the cash in his mailbox.

Odighizuwa never acknowledged receiving the money, he said.

Odighizuwa’s wife left him last September, Jackson said. She later returned long enough to claim their four small children, ages 3 to 9, and moved to a nearby community, he said. Since then, Odighizuwa had become increasingly despondent, he said.

“He wasn’t a good accepter of rejection,” Jackson said. “With his wife leaving him and people looking down on him at the law school, he didn’t handle it very well.”

About 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jackson and his friend Sallie Lawson came across Odighizuwa at the school’s library, sitting off to himself and reading The Wall Street Journal. Jackson tried to introduce his friend, but Odighizuwa hardly spoke.

“He was just weird,” Lawson said. “It didn’t feel right when he shook my hand.”

Authorities declined to say if Odighizuwa had made a statement. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in Buchanan County General District Court.

It was not clear Wednesday how he came to enroll at the Appalachian School of Law, which was created in 1997.

Odighizuwa has been a naturalized citizen since 1989, Stater said.

Of the shooting, Stater said, “This incident was absolutely not connected to terrorism in any way, shape or form.”

Yet the events of Sept. 11 were on the minds of many in Grundy, where no one could recall a slaying of Wednesday’s magnitude.

“The World Trade Centers are a long way away,” Briggs said. “Grundy is right here.”

Shirley Trent Stanley, who had lived next door to Odighizuwa and his family until the couple separated and moved last fall, struggled to make sense of the shootings.

“I’d like to be on the map, for Grundy,” she said. “But not for this.”

Stanley said Odighizuwa’s wife, Abieyuma - whom Stanley called “Abby” - and the four boys had many friends. But Peter Odighizuwa was a peculiar neighbor who complained frequently that he was harassed wherever he went, Stanley said.

“He stayed in the house,” said Max Stanley, Shirley Stanley’s son. “You didn’t see him outside.”

Odighizuwa told the Stanleys he had come to the United States 20 years ago, and had worked in Ohio as a substitute teacher, cab driver and pizza delivery driver. He said he had a mathematics degree and had worked as an engineer. The family moved to Grundy in the summer of 2000.

Abieyuma Odighizuwa supported the family by working as an aide at Buchanan General Hospital. She was studying to be a nurse, Shirley Stanley said.

Shirley Stanley’s niece Jennifer Brewer, a retired psychiatric examiner, thought Peter Odighizuwa had been frustrated for a long time. She recalled a conversation with him before the Odighizuwas separated.

According to Brewer, Odighizuwa said: “You people in America are so wealthy. You have so much. You have the Statue of Liberty standing there saying, ‘Bring me your tired and your hungry and poor.’ I am a poor man but no one will help me. No one will help me feed my children.”

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STUDENTS HEROICALLY TACKLE AND RESTRAIN SUSPECT

Paul Dellinger
Roanoke Times & World News (Roanoke, VA)

Todd Ross was walking toward the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday when he heard the shots.

Then he saw dozens of his fellow students pouring out of the main door. He would learn later that two faculty members and a student inside had been killed and that three other students had been wounded.

Ross, a third-year law student from Johnson City, Tenn., had no idea what was happening, but he retreated into the parking lot.

“That’s when he came out,” Ross said.

Peter Odighizuwa, who had been a student at the school, emerged with both hands in the air, Ross said. In one of them, he held a pistol.

Mike Stater, a Virginia State Police spokesman, later said the eight-shot Jennings .380-caliber semiautomatic was empty, but Ross had no way of knowing that.

“I yelled at him to throw his gun down,” Ross said. Ross stood between two cars in the parking lot in case he had to duck for cover.

Odighizuwa did put the gun onto the ground, Ross said. “I told him to walk towards me.” He said Odighizuwa started to do so.

Then another student, Ted Besen, approached Odighizuwa and the two started to struggle, Ross said. He said Odighizuwa began swinging at Besen. “I ran across the lot and tackled him,” he said.

The struggle probably lasted only a few seconds, Ross said. “With me and Ted, it was pretty rough. He put up a pretty good fight,” Ross said.

A third student, who had been a police officer before entering law school, got a pair of handcuffs from his car, and the three men got them onto Odighizuwa’s wrists, Ross said.

Odighizuwa stopped fighting after that. The other students stayed and watched him until Buchanan County deputies arrived three to five minutes later, Ross said.

It was only after Odighizuwa was taken into custody that Ross and the others learned that three people had been killed and three others wounded.

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THREE DIE AS US STUDENT GOES ON SHOOTING RAMPAGE

Foreign Staff
The Scotsman

A STUDENT killed three people and wounded three others in a shooting rampage yesterday at a law school in south-western Virginia.

Among the dead was Anthony Sutin, the dean of the school in the small town of Grundy, and another professor. Both were found “executed” in their offices, staff said. A student was also shot dead before others wrestled the gunman to the ground. Peter Odighizuma, 43, who had been suspended from the Appalachian School of Law earlier in the day, was being held in jail in Grundy in connection with the shooting, according to Virginia police.

He was described as a Nigerian student who failed his courses at the school last year, but was allowed to return.

Lieutenant Jason Miles of the state police said: “He was suspended from school effective today for some unknown reason and came back.”

Jack Briggs, a doctor who has a private practice half a mile from the college, said: “When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere.” Dr Briggs said he had treated the suspect in the past year. “I think they were getting ready to tell him that he had not made the grade this year,” he added.

After Mr Sutin - the dean and a former official of the US justice department, who worked for the former president Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign - was shot dead, the gunman went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and wounding three others. He was tackled by four male students as he left the building.

“They just wanted the guy,” Dr Briggs said. “They weren’t worried about their own personal safety.”

The weapon used appeared to be a single .38 semi-automatic handgun.

The three wounded students, airlifted from the scene, were described as being in a critical condition.

The shooting marked a tragic setback for recent attempts by authorities to improve the region’s image of lawlessness.

The law school in the Appalachian foothills, which has an enrolment of about 170 students, opened in 1997 with the hope of easing a historic shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of south-west Virginia. It has about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the prestigious University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

Police in New York’s schools kept a wary vigil yesterday a day after two students were wounded in the first shooting inside a city school since 1994. One teenager remained in serious condition after two boys were shot from behind in a hallway in the Martin Luther King Jr High School in Manhattan. No suspect has been named.

American colleges and universities have stayed largely free of the wave of shootings that have swept US schools. Six years ago, an engineering student shot dead three professors who were about to review his thesis at a university in San Diego, California.

The killer was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison.

In the past two years, about 10,000 convicted criminals and others barred from buying guns have acquired weapons after faulty background checks.

Critics have long complained that American gun laws allow free and easy access to weapons for people from all walks of life, including children.

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Across the Nation


The Seattle Times

Felons easily purchased guns, advocacy group says

WASHINGTON—Since mid-1999, 9,976 felons and others legally barred from buying guns—including 343 in Washington—cruised past background checks and purchased firearms, an advocacy group said yesterday.

A report by the Americans for Gun Safety Foundation said most states, including Washington, rely on outdated records and computer technology for background checks, which allows thousands of felons to purchase guns with little trouble. Twenty-two states received failing grades in the report for not maintaining maintain felony-conviction, mental-disability and domestic-violence records; Washington was given a “B-.”

Background checks to determine whether prospective gun buyers have criminal records have been required since 1994 under the Brady Act, staunchly opposed by gun-rights groups. The foundation advocates a “don’t know-don’t sell” policy for those with uncertain backgrounds.

The National Rifle Association agreed the system is sloppy but said the blame should fall on an out-of-control bureaucracy, not lawful gun owners.

Dismissed law student kills dean, professor, wounds 3

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

The attack also wounded three female students at the Appalachian School of Law. They were hospitalized in fair condition.

Authorities said the 42-year-old suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic dismissal, which went into effect yesterday.

Police fatally shoot iguana latched onto owner’s finger

HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—Police shot and killed a 4-foot iguana after it latched onto its 14-year-old owner’s finger and bit off the tip.

Christopher Charlie’s mother called police, who tried unsuccessfully to stun the iguana with a Taser gun. Police then shot the iguana in an attempt to retrieve the finger tip, thought to be in the iguana’s stomach.

The fingertip was found in the yard, but doctors said it was too severely damaged to be reattached.

Suspect in 26 bank heists arrested—in front of bank

BRADENTON, Fla.—A man suspected of robbing 26 Florida banks in three years was arrested yesterday after police said they found him sitting in a car parked outside a bank with a gun in the front seat.

Raymond Norman, 45, of Tampa, was being held in the Sarasota County Jail, officials said. Armed-robbery charges were pending.

‘Controlled’ landing goes out of control; military pilot OK

SAVANNAH, Ga.—A military jet malfunctioned yesterday as it was landing, veering off the runway and catching fire. The pilot was slightly injured as he was ejected from the F/A-18 Hornet.

“It was a controlled landing that went out of control,” said Mike Wilson, a Chatham County police spokesman. He said the accident apparently was the result of a landing-gear problem.

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SCIENTISTS FIND UNIQUE MICROBES IN NORTHWEST HOT SPRINGS


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Scientists say the organisms are very similar to life as it might exist on Mars and other planets.

The one-celled organisms, known as Archaea, grow by consuming hydrogen that is produced by hot water reacting with bedrock 600 feet below the Beaverhead Mountains. They produce tiny amounts of methane as a byproduct of their metabolism.

Although types of Archaea have been found before, this community is unlike anything else on Earth. Details of the discovery appear in today’s issue of the Nature.

Microbes like these have been the subject of speculation for 30 years. But finding them was another matter. A team of seven government and university scientists found the microbes at the Lidy Hot Springs near the Idaho-Montana line.

Two professors and student

killed in law school shootings

VIRGINIA - A student who had been dismissed from law school student went on a campus shooting spree yesterday, killing the dean, a professor and a student before he was tackled, authorities said.

The attacker also wounded three students at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy. They were hospitalized in fair condition.

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

Peter Odighizuwa, a 42-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, had gone to the school to meet with the dean about his academic dismissal, which went into effect yesterday, police said.

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SUSPENDED LAW STUDENT REPORTEDLY KILLS DEAN, TWO OTHERS ;

Wire Reports
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)

A law school student who had just been suspended went on a shooting rampage at the school Wednesday, killing the dean, a professor and a student before he was wrestled to the ground and arrested, school officials and witnesses said.

Three students also were critically injured in the hail of gunfire at the Appalachian School of Law.

“When I got there, there were bodies lying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school in this tiny mountain community in western Virginia.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell were gunned down in their offices, school officials said. The third person slain was a student, said Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner.

State police identified the suspect as Peter Odighizuma, 43. Briggs said Odighizuma was a Nigerian who had flunked out last year and been allowed to return.

Odighizuma had been suspended from school earlier Wednesday, Qualls said. She said Odighizuma had a history of mental instability of which school officials were aware.

Sutin, a former Justice Department official who left the Clinton administration to become dean, and the professor were “executed” in their offices, Briggs said. He said the gunman then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and wounding three others.

The gunman was tackled by four male students as he left the building.

The wounded students were hospitalized in critical condition, the governor said. Qualls said the weapon used was a .38-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

The private law school, with an enrollment of about 170 students, was closed for the rest of the week.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

He also said that Odighizuma had flunked out a year ago and that “the d ean had bent over backward to get him enrolled again.”

Sutin arrived at the Justice Department in 1994, working on community policing issues, and then served as deputy associate attorney general. He was acting assistant attorney general in the office of legislative affairs until November 1998, when he left to join the school staff.

Sutin, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1984, also had worked for the Democratic National Committee and President Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Sutin’s death prompted a statement of condolence from U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

“The entire Department of Justice is mourning the loss of a dedicated public servant who served the Department of Justice with distinction, integrity and honor,” the statement said.

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 just a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

School founders hope to ease a shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The American Bar Association rejected the school’s first application for accreditation in 1999.

The school graduated its first class of 34 in 2000.

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GUN NUT KILLS 3 AT LAW SCHOOL

Brian Flynn
The Sun

A STUDENT angry at his low grades shot dead three people at a law school yesterday.

The man went berserk with a handgun and also wounded three girl students. Peter Odighizuma, 43, was said to have opened fire in the dean’s office before targeting people throughout the small campus. Four students finally overpowered him at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

College dean Professor Anthony Sutin was shot in the head at point blank range. A lecturer and a student also died.

Student Chase Goodman said: “The guy was upset about his grades. He came back from lunch and started shooting.”

The gunman had been suspended by the college earlier in the day.

Local doctor Jack Briggs said: “It looked like a warzone, bodies everywhere. It appears the dean was executed.

“I used to treat the person who did the shooting. He was complaining of stress and was a timebomb waiting to go off.”

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Three shot dead at US law school

Roland Watson
The Times (London)

Washington: A college dean was among three people shot dead by a disgruntled student who rampaged through his Virginia law school firing an automatic handgun (Roland Watson writes).

Three others, all female students, were injured before the gunman, Peter Odighizuma, 43, an exchange student from Nigeria, was overpowered by fellow students at the Appalachian School of Law. Jack Briggs, the first doctor at the scene, said that some of the dead had been “executed”.

Anthony Sutin, the dean of the college in Virginia’s Appalachian mountains, had been an Assistant Attorney-General for legislative affairs in the Clinton Administration and a senior adviser for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. A lecturer, Thomas Blackwell, was also killed. The third victim, a student, was not named.

Dr Briggs said that he had treated the gunman for stress.

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Law school rampage kills 3 in Virginia

Fredrick Kunkle and Craig Timberg
Toronto Star

A failing student shot three people to death and wounded three more yesterday at the Appalachian School of Law, police said.

The ambitious school was created five years ago to bring newcomers and a new way of life to southwest Virginia’s poor and struggling coal-mining region.

The midday attack ended when students overpowered the gunman and held him for Buchanan County sheriff’s deputies, officials said. The law school was founded by community leaders eager to revitalize a region left decimated by the decline of the coal industry. Built in a refurbished junior high school near Grundy’s small downtown, Appalachian was living up to its promise, bringing fresh faces and economic activity.

One of those fresh faces was Anthony Sutin, a senior official in former president Bill Clinton’s justice department, who, along with his wife, Margaret Lawton, began to do exactly what the school’s founders had hoped. They both were on the faculty - Sutin was dean - and were active in the local arts council, their church and in civic life. He was among those killed.

“It’s the ultimate of ironic tragedies,” said Kent Markus, a former Harvard Law School roommate and fellow justice department official. “Here’s a case where the victim was one of the kindest … people imaginable, who saw his life as giving back.”

Police said the gunman, Peter Odighizuwa, first went to the school’s second-floor offices to discuss his academic standing with Professor Dale Reuben. When the conversation ended, Odighizuwa told Reuben to pray for him before walking down the hall to Sutin’s office about 1: 15 p.m. and opening fire at close range with a semi-automatic handgun, police said.

The attacker then shot Thomas Blackwell, a professor, to death in his office before walking downstairs to a lounge where he opened fire again, killing Angela Denise Dales, a 33-year-old student, and injuring three others, police said. Three students pounced on the gunman.

Police said Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, was dismissed from the school yesterday because of his grades. Odighizuwa, 43, was described as a father of four who drove taxis in Chicago before finding the law school on a Web site.

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Shooting defendant ordered held


United Press International

A failed law student charged with shooting and killing two faculty members and another student at Appalachian School of Law was ordered held without bond Thursday during his first appearance in Buchanan County General District Court.

Peter Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, said he was sick and needed help.

Odighizuwa, covering his face with a green court document, told a judge he was supposed to see a doctor and didn’t have his medication.

The judge set another preliminary hearing for March 21 and appointed an attorney to represent the student.

He is charged with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted murder and several counts of using a firearm to commit a felony.

Meanwhile, a memorial service was held at Grundy Baptist Church for the three victims of the shooting rampage Wednesday. Dead are law school dean Anthony Sutin, 42, associate professor Thomas Blackwell, 41; and student Angela Dales, 33.

Three other students were severely wounded in the shooting before other students were able to knock Odighizuwa to the ground and hold him for police.

Authorities said Odighizuwa had just been informed he had either failed out of college for the second time or had been placed on academic suspension when he went into the offices of Sutin and Blackwell and shot them at close range.

They said he then went down a flight of stairs and opened fire on several students before fleeing out the door. The other students caught him as he exited the building.

Classes at the school were canceled until Tuesday, Jan. 22. Authorities plan to bring grief counselors to campus.

Sutin, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brandeis University, was a former acting assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice and a lawyer for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992.

Before joining the government, Sutin was a partner in a Washington, D.C., law firm, where he specialized in civil litigation.

Blackwell was a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and the Duke University School of Law who specialized in business organizations, intellectual property and technology law. He was an attorney in Dallas, Texas, before joining the law school.

The Appalachian School of Law opened Aug. 11, 1997, in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town with two traffic lights and a population of 1,118.

Grundy, located in a mountainous area about 260 miles west of Richmond, Va., was initially a logging community and coal mining town, but was heavily hit by a 1977 flood that damaged 228 buildings.

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Gunman kills three at Va. law school

Brian Mcneill
University Wire

A shooting rampage Wednesday by a disgruntled student at the Appalachian Law School left three dead, including the school’s dean, who was also a former acting assistant U.S. attorney general.

Peter Odighizuwa, 43, a Nigerian resident of Grundy, was apparently angered that he was going to be expelled from school because of low grades, said Mike Stater, public information officer for Virginia State Police.

At about 1:15, Odighizuwa went to the office of Dale Reuben, a professor at the school, to discuss his academic suspension that went into effect Wednesday. As he left the office, police say Odighizuwa told Reuben to pray for him.

Odighizuwa then allegedly entered Dean L. Anthony Sutin’s second floor office and shot the administrator at point-blank range with a .380 semiautomatic handgun. The suspect then allegedly entered the office of Thomas Blackwell, a 41-year-old professor, and shot him point blank as well, police said.

As Odighizuwa left the building, police say he sporadically opened fire on a group of students, killing Angela Denise Dales, a 33-year-old student at the school, and wounded three other students.

Police say a number of students then tackled Odighizuwa and subdued him until police arrived.

Rebecca Brown, a resident of Roanoke, was shot in the abdomen and arm and taken to Bristol Regional Hospital. Martha Short, a resident of Grundy, was shot in the neck and taken to Holston Valley Hospital in Kingsport. Stacey Bean, a resident of Kentucky, was shot in the chest and taken to Bristol Regional Hospital.

Hospital officials and police could not comment on the wounded students’ conditions Wednesday night.

Odighizuwa is being held at Buchanan County Jail and is charged with three counts of capital murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, police said. More charges will be added in the coming days that address the wounded students, police said.

Zeke Jackson, a friend and fellow student of Odighizuwa’s at the law school, said the suspect had an “abrasive, ‘everybody’s against me’ attitude,” and typically kept to himself.

Jackson said Odighizuwa was suspended from the law school last year for poor grades, but Sutin, the murdered dean, decided to give him a second chance.

However, police say that the suspect once again received poor marks in the fall 2001 semester.

Jackson said the failing grades, coupled with his wife and children leaving him in September, left Odighizuwa agitated, and Jackson became worried the suspect was going do something to get back at the school.

“I just knew he was going to do something,” Jackson said. “I thought he’d just take something, or break something. I never thought he’d hurt anyone.”

The law school was opened in 1997 in an attempt to help revitalize Grundy, a struggling coal-mining town on the Virginia-West Virginia border. The school has an enrollment of approximately 170 and has 15 faculty members.

Sutin was a senior official in President Bill Clinton’s Justice Department and was also an associate professor at the school.

“The ASL community is profoundly shocked and saddened by this tragedy,” said a statement issued by the law school. “We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the victims.”

A memorial service will be held Thursday at noon in the Grundy Baptist Church, located next to the law school.

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Law school shooting kills 3, critically wounds 3

Associated Press
Ventura County Star (California)

GRUNDY, Va. (AP)—A law school student upset about his grades went on a shooting spree Wednesday, killing three people and critically wounding three others before he was wrestled to the ground by students, officials said.

The victims included the dean of the Appalachian School of Law and a professor who were gunned down in their offices. The third person slain was a student, said Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school in this tiny western Virginia community.

Briggs said he had treated the suspect in the past year. He described the gunman as a Nigerian in his early 40s who had flunked out last year and been allowed to return.

“I think they were getting ready to tell him that he had not made the grade this year,” Briggs said.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and the professor were “executed” in their offices, Briggs said.

He said the gunman then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and wounding three others. He was tackled by four male students as he left the building.

“They just wanted the guy,” Briggs said. “They weren’t worried about their own personal safety.”

Other details were not immediately available, but Qualls said the weapon used was a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

The three wounded students were taken to Buchanan General Hospital, Qualls said. The governor said they were in critical condition.

“We knew before we heard there was a shooting that something was wrong,” said Tiffany Street, who works at a nearby motel. “There were fire trucks, ambulances, state police and cops all heading toward the school.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Street, 20. “Grundy’s a very small town, and I’ve been here all my life.”

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students.

The governor, who had served on the school’s board until he took office last week, said he was shocked and saddened by the shooting.

“I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect, who is now in custody,” Warner said. “My heart goes out to the school and the community. I know that such a close-knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was also an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 just a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

School founders hope to ease a shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The American Bar Association rejected the school’s first application for accreditation in 1999.

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Dean, 2 Others Fatally Shot At Rural Virginia Law School

Fredrick Kunkle and Craig Timberg
The Washington Post

A failing student allegedly shot three people to death and wounded three others yesterday at the Appalachian School of Law, the ambitious school created five years ago to bring newcomers and a new way of life to southwest Virginia’s struggling coal-mining region.

The midday attack ended when students overpowered the gunman and held him for Buchanan County sheriff’s deputies, officials said.

The law school was founded by community leaders eager to revitalize a region decimated by the decline of the coal industry. Built in a refurbished junior high school near Grundy’s small downtown, Appalachian had begun to live up to its promise, bringing fresh faces and economic activity. One of those fresh faces was L. Anthony Sutin, a senior official in President Bill Clinton’s Justice Department who, along with his wife, Margaret Lawton, began to do exactly what the school’s founders had hoped. They both were on the faculty—Sutin was dean—and were active in the arts council, their church and civic life.

He was among those killed yesterday.

“It’s the ultimate of ironic tragedies,” said Kent Markus, Sutin’s Harvard Law School roommate and fellow Justice Department official. “Here’s a case where the victim was one of the kindest . . . people imaginable, who saw his life as giving back.”

Police said the student, Peter Odighizuwa, went to the school’s second-floor offices to discuss his academic standing with professor Dale Reuben. When the conversation ended about 1:15 p.m., Odighizuwa told Reuben to pray for him, walked down the hall to Sutin’s office and opened fire at close range with a semiautomatic handgun, police said.

The attacker then fatally shot Thomas F. Blackwell, a professor, in his office before walking downstairs to a lounge where he opened fire again, killing Angela Denise Dales, a 33-year-old student, and injuring three other students, police said. Three students pounced on the gunman and held him until help arrived.

Police said Odighizuwa is a Nigerian immigrant who was suspended from the school yesterday because of his grades. People in the remote mountain town of 1,100 described Odighizuwa, 43, as a father of four who drove taxis in Chicago before finding the law school on a Web site.

He was charged with three counts of capital murder and three weapons violations and was being held in the Buchanan County jail.

Odighizuwa was one of the newcomers welcomed by Grundy residents since the founding of the school. He held an out-of-state real estate agent’s license but was unsuccessful in finding work at any of Grundy’s realty firms, instead taking a job in a grocery store, said David Branham, 24, an agent in his family’s insurance and real estate business. Branham said Odighizuwa arrived in town about 1 1/2 years ago.

Jim Wayne Childress, a lawyer in Grundy who was one of the first to graduate from Appalachian Law, said Odighizuwa’s wife was a nurse at Buchanan General Hospital and supported the family while her husband went to school.

“He had a little bit of financial trouble,” Childress said. “The community pitched in and helped him out a bit.”

News of the shooting spread rapidly through the close-knit community.

“It’s a small town, and everybody knows each other,” said Bill Neeley, 45.

“The professors were very involved in the community,” said Neeley, who lives in town and works in the corporate office for Food City there. “I guess a good word to describe everyone is amazed and shocked by what they’ve seen today. You read and you hear about things like this, but you never expect it to happen here.”

Sutin, particularly, was well known. The promise of the law school lured him from Washington at the height of his career. “He enjoyed the idea of getting out of D.C., into a different environment,” said Cliff Sloan, a Harvard classmate who is general counsel for the Internet operations of The Washington Post and Newsweek. “And I know he felt strongly he could make a contribution.”

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was dean and associate professor of law at Appalachian. He had worked on election law and campaign finance issues at the Hogan & Hartson law firm in the District. He worked for the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign in 1992. He was formerly acting assistant attorney general for the office of legislative affairs at the Department of Justice.

“Tony was an incredibly kind, exceptionally bright and intensely dedicated public servant who was committed to bettering the welfare of all Americans,” said former attorney general Janet Reno. “One of his major accomplishments was helping to bring community policing to cities and towns across the nation.”

Markus said Sutin had a passion for politics and public service but was eager to have a more direct connection with the people he was helping.

“He saw this as a much more tangible way that he could make a difference,” Markus said.

Sutin had just returned from China, where he and his wife had adopted a 14-month-old girl.

Blackwell graduated with highest honors from Duke University’s law school and practiced in Dallas before becoming a professor. He taught contracts and intellectual property. His wife also is on the school’s faculty.

Buchanan County Attorney Mickey McGlothlin called Sutin and Blackwell “two of the finest gentlemen I had ever met.” McGlothlin’s wife is on the board of the law school.

At least 18 members of the board were in Richmond yesterday to host a reception for new Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), who, until his swearing-in, was also a member of the board.

Jackie R. Briggs, a former Navy doctor and former emergency room physician from Grundy, was among the first on the scene of the shootings. He said it was clear that Sutin and Blackwell were shot at close range in their offices.

“This was a slaughter,” Briggs said.

He also said that he had treated Odighizuwa since his arrival in Grundy and that Odighizuwa had a reputation at the law school and around town as a troubled man.

“Everybody knows this guy,” Briggs said. “He is a walking time bomb.”

The shooting has left this experiment in coal country shaken, but its founders said they would move on. “We’ll go forward as we have since this school started,” said Joseph E. Wolfe, vice chairman of the board. “It’s certainly going to be something that’s going to be ingrained in the history of the school.”

Staff writers Michael D. Shear, R.H. Melton and Maria Glod and researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.

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Gunman on rampage at US college


Western Morning News (Plymouth)

FOUR students overpowered a gunman who went on a shooting spree at their US college last night, killing three people in what a doctor described as “executions”.

The four students tackled the man while he was still armed with a .380 semi-automatic pistol and managed to hold him until police arrived at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

He had already shot and killed three people, including the dean of the college and one of the professors, and left three other students critically injured. The doctor who was the first medical worker on the scene told Fox News the dean of the school, Anthony Sutin, had been “executed” with shots to the head, and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

“It appears as though some of these shots were after one professor was down and they were shot at point blank range,” said Dr Jack Briggs.

“Two shots were shot into the dean in the head. It appears he was executed.

“It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

The two staff members were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on a spree in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said the gunman was a “foreign exchange student” and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school which has around 170 students and was founded in 1997.

“Four students tackled him and took him down,” said the doctor. “They got him down and kept him for his police. I do not believe he had given up his weapon.

“This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year. He was given another chance, but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave. He took his anger out on the people who I think he thought were responsible for him leaving the school.”

The three students were described as being “critical” by Dr Briggs, and had been transferred by helicopter to hospitals near the small town, which is in a rural area of the Appalachian Mountains.

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Failed law student ‘executes’ three in campus shooting;

Flavia Munn
Western Daily Press

THREE people were killed at a US college last night after a failed student went on a shooting spree.

The college dean and a professor were among those gunned down when the man opened fire at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, deep in rural Virginia.

A further three students were critically injured before the gunman was overpowered by four other students. The students managed to hold down the man while he was still armed with a .380 semi-automatic pistol until police arrived.

The gunman’s doctor, who was first on the scene, described the killings as “executions” and said his patient was like a “timebomb waiting to go off.”

It comes after two teenagers were shot dead last week at a New York school and around 27 people have been killed in school shootings in America in the past three years.

In last night’s incident the dean, Anthony Sutin, was shot in the head and another member of staff was shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

Dr Jack Briggs told Fox News: “It appears as though some of these shots were after one professor was down and they were shot at point blank range. Two shots were shot into the dean in the head. It appears he was executed.

“It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

The two staff members were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on a spree in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said the gunman was a “foreign exchange student” and was on the point of being told to leave the law school which has around 170 students and was founded in 1997.

“Four students tackled him and took him down, ” said the doctor.

“They got him down and kept him for the police. I do not believe he had given up his weapon.

“This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year.

“He was given another chance, but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave.

“He took his anger out on the people who I think he thought were responsible for him leaving the school.”

The three students were described as being “critical” by Dr Briggs, and had been transferred by helicopter to hospitals near the small town, which is in a rural area of the Appalachian Mountains.

The doctor added: “The person who did the shooting was a patient of mine.

I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress.”

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off.”

The college was set up in 1997 to help the run-down coal mining area’s economy and Mr Sutin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was made principal with a staff of just 15.

Dr Briggs paid tribute to the dean, who was reported to have been the chief legal adviser to former presidential candidate Al Gore’s failed bid for the White House in 2000.

He said: “He was a real good guy.”

The three female students who were injured were being treated in hospital last night.

One victim was said to be in a “fair” condition and the other two were undergoing surgery.

The UK’s worst school shooting was the Dunblane massacre when Thomas Hamilton opened fire on a primary school in 1996, killing 16 children and one teacher.

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NIGERIAN STUDENT WHO HAD BEEN DISMISSED IS CHARGED

Rex Bowman
Winston-Salem Journal (Winston Salem, NC)

An angry student killed three people and wounded three more yesterday at the tiny Appalachian School of Law before fellow students tackled and subdued him, according to authorities.

L. Anthony Sutin, 42, the dean of the school, and Thomas Blackwell, 41, an associate professor, were in their offices when they were shot. The third person killed was student Angela Dales, 33, according to state police.

Peter Odighizuwa, 43, a Nigerian student who had been dismissed from the school, was charged with three counts of capital murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, said Mike Stater, a spokesman for the state police. Odighizuwa is being held in the Buchanan County Jail.

He was dismissed last week for poor grades and notified that his financial aid would be suspended effective yesterday, said Chris Clifton, the financial-aid director in the office of student services. Odighizuwa came into the financial-aid office Tuesday and was threatening and verbally abusive, Clifton said.

“He was very hostile.” Clifton said. “This student had previously threatened the entire office of student services. He had even stolen his file once before.”

Clifton said he was in his office on the first floor yesterday when the shootings occurred about 1:15 p.m.

“We heard a lot of commotion outside (the office) and heard some gunshots. Two students had just left our office. Apparently he (the gunman) met them in the hallway next to the courtyard. When we heard all that, I immediately locked the door and I got the people in the office out,” Clifton said.

“We climbed through a window - me, two employees and three students who were in the office,” Clifton said. “I went back in to see if everybody was OK. By the time I got in, the students had (the gunman) on the ground.”

The wounded students are Rebecca Claire Brown, 38, of Roanoke, Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy and Stacey Bean, 22, of Berea, Ky. All three were in fair condition last night, according to hospital officials.

Stater said that the suspect went into professor Dale Rubin’s office to discuss his grades and his suspension. As he left that office, he asked Rubin to pray for him, according to reports.

The suspect then went into the offices of Sutin and Blackwell and opened fire with a Jennings .380 semiautomatic pistol.

He then went downstairs and started shooting at the students, killing one and injuring the other three. As he walked out of the building, he was subdued by students and forced to the ground until Buchanan County sheriff’s deputies arrived to make the arrest.”

The law school opened in 1997 in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a mountain town of 1,100 residents.

The school, which has an enrollment of about 170, was opened with the hope of easing a shortage of lawyers in southwest Virginia.

Zeke Jackson of Fort Worth, Texas, a student at the law school, said of Odighizuwa: “I thought he was going to hurt a student. I thought he was going to lash out at a student. He had been explosive when he was told he was wrong. I feel kind of guilty. I really wish I had talked to the dean of students or somebody. I wish I had gone into the dean’s office and said, ‘You need to get rid of this guy.’”

Dr. Jackie Briggs of Grundy said that Odighizuwa’s wife is a nurse’s aide at Buchanan General Hospital and that the nurses there had taken up a collection to “keep the kids from starving.”

Odighizuwa’s wife had left him about three months ago and taken their four children with her, Clifton said.

Delegate Jackie T. Stump, D-Buchanan, disclosed the killings during a packed hearing on the state budget in the General Assembly Building. The money committees observed a moment of silence to remember the victims.

Later, a tearful Stump, standing by the governor, told reporters, “You read about it and hear about it in other areas. When it comes home, it really hurts - good people.”

Rex Bowman is a staff writer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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3 Shot Dead, 3 Wounded in School Shooting in U.S., XINHUA


Xinhua

WASHINGTON, January 16 (Xinhua)—Three were killed and three other wounded when a gunman opened fire at a law school in southwestern Virginia Wednesday.

The gunman, a student at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, was described as “a time bomb” by a local doctor who recently treated him for stress. One of those killed was the dean of the school, L. Anthony Sutin, a former acting assistant U.S. attorney general. Another faculty member and a student were also killed, said Ellen Qualls, press secretary for Governor Mark Warner.

“The dean of the law school had been executed in his office and a professor had been executed in his office,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, a coroner for Buchanan County. “The man then came down the stairs—before we got there—and shot four students.” The suspected gunman was handed over to police after being tackled by students at the tiny school of about 170 students. Briggs said the shooter was a foreign student who had difficulty during his first year and had flunked out.

Briggs, who is a physician, said he had treated this student for stress about six months ago. “He was a time bomb waiting to go off,” the physician said. The three wounded students were taken to Buchanan General Hospital and later transferred to other hospitals for treatment. Two of them were in surgery and the third was in fair condition, according to hospital officials.. Sutin had served as acting general counsel for the Democratic Party and a lawyer for the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. He also held various positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he was appointed acting assistant attorney general for legislative affairs by then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

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Students charge gunman, held him down for police

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Tracy Bridges didn’t have much time to think when he saw suspected killer Peter Odighizuwa on the front lawn of the Appalachian School of Law.

Odighizuwa was holding a gun and so was Bridges, a student and sheriff’s deputy.

“I just reacted,” said Bridges, 25, who tackled Odighizuwa with classmates Todd Ross, 30, and Ted Besen, 37, moments after a shooting spree at the school Wednesday left three dead and three wounded.

The three men pinned Odighizuwa to the ground, and Bridges handcuffed the man’s arms behind his back.

Odighizuwa, 42, a former student who was dismissed on Tuesday for bad grades, is accused of shooting Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell dead in their offices. Student Angela Dales later died of gunshot wounds.

As screaming students started climbing out of windows, Bridges and Besen said their police and military training took over.

“Hopefully if I’m ever on the other end of something like this, someone would try to help me,” Bridges said.

“I’m a former Marine, former police officer,” Besen said. “Who better to do that? I’m trained to do that. I’m not going to let him shoot anyone else if I could.”

Ross downplayed the notion that they were heroes.

“I didn’t do anything until I knew I was safe,” he said.

Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning in Grundy General District Court on capital murder charges.

Chris Clifton, the school’s financial officer, said he met with Odighizuwa on Tuesday afternoon with other school officials to notify him that he was being permanently dismissed for poor grades. Odighizuwa, who had flunked out and then was readmitted a year before, would have to pay back $9,250 in federal school loans.

Wednesday, Odighizuwa stopped in the office of professor Dale Rubin to talk about his grades and as he left reportedly asked Rubin to pray for him, police said. He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-caliber pistol, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said. Blackwell had taught contract law to Odighizuwa.

“There were three quick shots, then we heard I think three more,” Bridges said.

Bridges and Besen, a former police officer from Wilmington, N.C., crept down a back stairwell to the parking lot, and Bridges got his gun out of the car.

Odighizuwa had walked outside and stood with a confused look on his face, Bridges said.

“I planned on blindsiding him from behind,” Besen said. “He sat the weapon down and raised his hands up in the air. I didn’t know if he was praying.”

Besen said he ran toward Odighizuwa and told him to get on the ground.

“He kind of came at me. He swung and hit me in the jaw,” Besen said.

Once pinned down, he kept shouting, “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go.”’

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Dean, prof, student dead in shooting rampage at Virginia law school; man who flunked out held

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Peter Odighizuwa returned to his law school campus hoping to get another chance from his dean after flunking out for a second time. But he came armed with a pistol and, moments after being rejected, authorities say he started firing.

Odighizuwa shot his dean and a professor to death in their offices and then opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and injuring three others before students tackled the gunman and handcuffed him, officials said.

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it (dismissal) was going to be permanent and final,” Clifton added.

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Grundy General District Court.

Odighizuwa went to the campus of the Appalachia School of Law on Wednesday to talk to his dean, L. Anthony Sutin, about his dismissal, officials said. He shot Sutin and professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught contract law to Odighizuwa, with a .380-caliber pistol, authorities and students said.

Police said the third person slain was student Angela Dales, 33. The injured students were in fair condition at area hospitals.

The suspect, known around the rural campus as “Peter O,” had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before. Clifton met with Odighizuwa a day earlier when the student learned he was to be kicked out of school.

Odighizuwa is being held in the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, authorities said.

Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school, said Odighizuwa went downstairs from Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices to a commons area and opened fire on students.

“When I got there, there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Odighizuwa left the building and dropped his gun after being confronted. Students then tackled him and helped hold him down. A student who is a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed Odighizuwa.

Odighizuwa kept saying, “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go,” said student Todd Ross, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn., who helped subdue the alleged shooter.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself,” Marlowe said. “He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this.”

“The dean bent over backwards to get him enrolled again” when Odighizuwa flunked out last spring, Marlowe said.

Other classmates, however, described the suspect as an “abrasive” person who would regularly have outbursts in class when he was challenged by classmates or the professor.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” said Zeke Jackson, 40, who tried to recruit him for the school’s Black Law Students’ Association.

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the region and foster renewal in Appalachia.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also was an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to help found the school, and had worked for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement expressing his condolences to Sutin’s wife and their two children.

Blackwell moved to the area from Dallas about three years ago.

Constance C. Bausell, 52, of Grundy, served with Blackwell on a committee at her church searching for a new pastor. Even though Blackwell was somewhat new to the area, she said, “he fit in like a glove.”

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Suspect in law school shooting tells judge he is sick

Chris Kahn
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

A former law student who is accused of killing his dean, a law professor and another student and wounding three others told a judge Thursday that he is sick and needs help.

Peter Odighizuwa, 43, shuffled into Buchanan County General District Court in leg chains, surrounded by police officers.

Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa told Judge Patrick Johnson, “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out … I don’t have my medication.”

Odighizuwa went to the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday to talk to his dean, L. Anthony Sutin, about his dismissal, officials said. He shot Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught Odighizuwa’s contracts classes during the fall and winter, with a .380-caliber pistol, authorities and students said.

Also killed was student Angela Dales, 33, of Vansant, said State Police spokesman Mike Stater. Three injured students were hospitalized in fair condition.

Prosecutors have charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges for use of a firearm in a felony.

A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom, “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”

Court records show that Odighizuwa was arrested Aug. 15 for assault and battery of his wife, Abieyuwa Odighizuwa. The police report said he hit his wife in the face with his fist and bruised her right eye. A hearing is set for Aug. 6.

When Johnson said he would appoint defense lawyer James C. Turk Jr. to represent him, Odighizuwa asked for Tazewell attorney James Carmody, who is representing him in the assault case. But Johnson appointed Turk and said, “Once you’ve talked with him, I’m sure you’ll see he can help you.”

Odighizuwa will remain held without bond pending a preliminary hearing March 21. Carmody declined to comment when reached by telephone.

Odighizuwa, known around the rural campus as “Peter O,” had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before. Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer, met with Odighizuwa a day earlier when Odighizuwa learned he was to be kicked out of school.

“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” Clifton said. Odighizuwa, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, scheduled a meeting for Wednesday to talk to school officials about his grades.

“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it was going to be permanent and final,” Clifton said.

Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school, said Odighizuwa went downstairs from Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices to a commons area and opened fire on the crowd there.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Odighizuwa left the building and dropped his gun after being confronted by student Todd Ross of Johnson City, Tenn. Ross said he then tackled Odighizuwa, and two or three other students helped hold him down.

Odighizuwa kept saying, ‘“I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go.”’ Ross said.

Hospital officials identified the three wounded students as Rebecca Brown, 38, of Roanoke; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy; and Stacy Beans, 22, of Berea, Ky.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said. He said “the dean bent over backwards to get him enrolled again” when Odighizuwa flunked out last spring.

Other classmates, however, described him as an “abrasive” person who would regularly have swearing outbursts in class when he was challenged by classmates or the professor.

“I knew he’d do something like this,” Zeke Jackson, 40, who tried to recruit him for the schools’ Black Law Students’ Association.

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students. It opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the region and foster renewal in Appalachia.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also was an associate professor at the school. He left a Justice Department position as an assistant attorney general to found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Sutin’s wife, Margaret, their two children and to all of their family and friends,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft.

“The entire Department of Justice is mourning the loss of a dedicated public servant who served the Department of Justice with distinction, integrity and honor.”

Blackwell, who enjoyed running and playing trumpet, moved to the area from Dallas, Tex., about three years ago. Constance C. Bausell, 52, of Grundy, served with Blackwell on a committee at her church searching for a new pastor.

Even though Blackwell was new to the area, “he fit in like a glove,” Bausell said.

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Wed, 16 Jan 2002

Gunman shoots six at Virginia law school in Appalachian foothills


The Associated Press

A gunman killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting spree Wednesday at the Appalachian School of Law, officials said.

Among the dead was the dean, Anthony Sutin, said Ellen Qualls, spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner. She said a student and another member of the faculty were also killed.

State police believe students apprehended the suspect, Qualls said.

Three students were wounded and taken to Buchanan General Hospital, Qualls said. She said the weapon was a .380 semiautomatic handgun.

A man who answered the phone at the law school refused to comment.

The Buchanan County law school opened in 1997 in a renovated junior high school. The school’s enrollment is about 170.

Grundy is in the Appalachian foothills, 120 miles west of Roanoke.

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Three slain, three wounded during shooting spree at western Virginia law school

Roger Alford
The Associated Press

A law school student upset about his grades went on a shooting spree Wednesday, killing three people and critically wounding three others before he was wrestled to the ground by students, officials said.

The victims included the dean of the Appalachian School of Law and a professor who were gunned down in their offices. The third person slain was a student, said Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school in this tiny western Virginia community.

Briggs said he had treated the suspect in the past year. He described the gunman as a Nigerian in his early 40s who had flunked out last year and been allowed to return.

“I think they were getting ready to tell him that he had not made the grade this year,” Briggs said.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and the professor were “executed” in their offices, Briggs said.

He said the gunman then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and wounding three others. He was tackled by four male students as he left the building.

“They just wanted the guy,” Briggs said. “They weren’t worried about their own personal safety.”

Other details were not immediately available, but Qualls said the weapon used was a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

The three wounded students were taken to Buchanan General Hospital, Qualls said. The governor said they were in critical condition.

“We knew before we heard there was a shooting that something was wrong,” said Tiffany Street, who works at a nearby motel. “There were fire trucks, ambulances, state police and cops all heading toward the school.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Street, 20. “Grundy’s a very small town, and I’ve been here all my life.”

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students.

The governor, who had served on the school’s board until he took office last week, said he was shocked and saddened by the shooting.

“I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect, who is now in custody,” Warner said. “My heart goes out to the school and the community. I know that such a close-knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was also an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 just a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

School founders hope to ease a shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The American Bar Association rejected the school’s first application for accreditation in 1999.

The school graduated its first class of 34 in 2000. There are about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

“You read about it in other areas, but when it comes home it really hurts,” said state Del. Jackie Stump of Grundy, fighting back tears as he hung his head and walked away from a news conference in Richmond.

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Shooting rampage at Va. law school kills three, leaves three others wounded


The Associated Press

A struggling Nigerian law school student went on a campus shooting spree Wednesday, killing the dean, a professor and a student before he was tackled by students, authorities said.

The attack also wounded three students at the Appalachian School of Law. Two were in surgery Wednesday evening and the third was listed in fair condition.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who was one of the first to arrive after the shooting in this tiny mountain community in western Virginia.

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

The 42-year-old suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic suspension, which went into effect Wednesday, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said.

Alleged shoe bomber accused of being trained al-Qaida terrorist

BOSTON (AP) - The airline passenger accused of trying to ignite explosives in his shoes was indicted Wednesday on charges of being an al-Qaida-trained terrorist whose goal was to blow up the plane and kill the nearly 200 people aboard.

Richard Reid, a 28-year-old British citizen and convert to Islam, could get five life sentences if convicted.

The indictment, issued by a federal grand jury in Boston, alleges Reid attempted to kill the 197 passengers and crew aboard a Paris-to-Miami American Airlines flight Dec. 22 before he was tackled and the jetliner was diverted to Boston.

Reid did “attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction … consisting of an explosive bomb placed in each of his shoes,” the indictment said

The indictment said Reid “received training from al-Qaida in Afghanistan.”

Three former SLA members arrested in deadly 1975 bank robbery near Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Five former members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, including former fugitive Sara Jane Olson, were charged Wednesday in connection with a deadly bank robbery carried out 27 years ago.

Three of the former members of the SLA, the 1970s radical group that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, were taken into custody at their homes, authorities said. Olson, known as Kathleen Soliah at the time of the robbery, was expected to turn herself in later Wednesday in Los Angeles. The fifth suspect remained at large.

Olson, Emily Harris, ex-husband Bill Harris, Mike Bortin and James Kilgore were charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a bank customer during a 1975 holdup in the suburb of Carmichael, authorities said.

Emily Harris was arrested at her home in Los Angeles, her ex-husband was taken into custody in Oakland, and Bortin was arrested in Portland, Ore. Kilgore has remained at large since the 1970s.

“Now is the time to seek justice for Myrna Opsahl,” the woman slain during the robbery, Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully said. Arraignments were scheduled Friday.

Fired auditor knew back in August that Enron whistleblower was warning people about accounting practices

WASHINGTON (AP) - A senior auditor questioned Wednesday in the Enron affair knew back in August that a company whistle-blower was warning about the energy giant’s financial practices that eventually led it into bankruptcy, congressional investigators said.

The whistle-blower, Enron executive Sherron Watkins, told a friend and former colleague at the Arthur Andersen accounting firm about her concerns, which focused on outside partnerships used by Enron executives to keep hundreds of millions of dollars off the company’s books.

A hurried meeting took place Aug. 21 and Andersen’s chief auditor for the Enron account, David Duncan, participated. The Arthur Andersen meeting took place the day before Watkins detailed her concerns in a meeting with Enron Chairman Ken Lay.

“It’s now clear to us that key players at Andersen as well as Enron knew of the growing problems months before the company imploded,” said Ken Johnson, spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Committee investigators questioned Duncan for several hours Wednesday in what Republican and Democratic committee staffers said was a valuable information-gathering session provided many leads to investigators.

U.S. believes al-Qaida not yet able to produce chemical or biological weapons

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials have tentatively concluded Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group, al-Qaida, had not developed the means to produce chemical, biological or radiological weapons at the time the United States began bombing Afghanistan in October.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday that weeks of searching more than 40 sites in Afghanistan yielded diagrams, materials and reports that indicated “an appetite for weapons of mass destruction.”

“In terms of having hard evidence of actual possession of weapons of mass destruction, I do not have that at this stage,” he told a Pentagon news conference.

Of 50 suspected al-Qaida sites identified so far, 45 have been thoroughly examined, officials said.

Rumsfeld said there may yet be an exception to his statement that no terror weapons have been found. He said he had been shown photos of canisters found recently at a former al-Qaida site in Afghanistan which could contain chemical agents. Their contents have yet to be examined, he said.

AIDS overwhelms vaccine protection in Harvard monkey study

By The Associated Press

In a study that illustrates how cunning a foe AIDS is, a monkey that was given an experimental AIDS vaccine died after the virus changed just one of its genes.

HIV, which causes AIDS, already is known to mutate and grow impervious to standard AIDS drugs in at least half of all Americans being treated for the infection.

Now researchers have seen a similar outcome with an experimental vaccine that tries to stop the virus from multiplying. The mutation occurred in one of eight vaccinated rhesus monkeys in a Harvard experiment.

The findings were published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

Scientists who reviewed the results described the monkey’s death as “more disappointing than surprising.”

It does not mean that AIDS vaccines are doomed to fail, they said, but illustrates how the virus will not be easily defeated or even contained anytime soon.

Kmart stock sinks to under $2 amid bankruptcy speculation

DETROIT (AP) - Shares of Kmart Corp. stock dropped below $2 Wednesday as credit agencies cut its debt ratings amid speculation the discount retailer is considering filing for bankruptcy.

Kmart has been struggling to compete against the lower prices of rivals Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., battling the nationwide recession while mounting its aggressive restructuring effort.

In a news release announcing ratings downgrades, Fitch Inc. said it appears increasingly likely Kmart will choose to file for bankruptcy.

Sources close to the company, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the possibility of filing for Chapter 11 was discussed at a regularly scheduled meeting of Kmart’s board of directors this week. So far, the company has remained silent on its financial future.

Robin Williams turns menacing in somber thriller ‘One Hour Photo’

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) - Robin Williams has provided some of the darkest and lightest moments at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

First, he menaced the crowds with “One Hour Photo,” a grim story in which he plays a joyless photo clerk who dangerously fixates on a family. Then, Williams had people rolling in the aisles as he turned a question-and-answer session on the movie into an impromptu standup routine.

“This was a bizarre, creepy movie. Now coming up and making people laugh, it’s like being an emotional sorbet,” Williams said after the movie’s premiere last weekend.

Williams cracked wise on why he chose such a dark role (“Because Mr. Rogers On Ice was already taken”), on his character’s fuzzy blondish hair (“They cut my hair with a Roto-Rooter”), on security for upcoming Winter Olympics events around Park City (anthrax-antsy guards shouting, “There’s white powder everywhere!” then being told, “It’s snow, sir”).

Best-known for sympathetic, lovable characters in such films as “Good Will Hunting” and “Dead Poets Society,” Williams has three movies coming out this year in which he plays the heavy. Preceding “One Hour Photo,” which opens this fall, Williams plays a murder suspect opposite Al Pacino in “Insomnia” and a former children’s show host gunning for revenge against the man who replaced him in the black comedy “Death to Smoochy,” directed by Danny DeVito.

Sackmaster Strahan beats Urlacher for Defensive Player honors

By The Associated Press

The sack has become the most glorified defensive play in the NFL, a major reason why Michael Strahan is The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year.

Strahan, who set an NFL record with 22 1/2 sacks for the New York Giants, earned a seven-vote margin over Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher in balloting announced Wednesday.

“Only seven,” Strahan said with a huge smile that showed off his famous gap-tooth look. “I’m disappointed, but I’ll take it.”

Nothing was disappointing about the defensive end’s performance this season.

Strahan, one of the league’s most popular players for his outgoing, entertaining yet humble manner, always has been a fearsome pass rusher. He was a force against the run this season, too, and, with linebacker Jessie Armstead and the rest of New York’s defense plagued by inconsistency, Strahan was Mr. Reliable.

So much so that he was a unanimous choice to the AP All-Pro team last week.

“I don’t try to make every play perfect, I just try to make sure every play counts,” Strahan said, “because you never know which plays are going to count in a game.

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Shooting rampage at Virginia law school kills three, leaves three others wounded

Roger Alford
Associated Press Worldstream

A struggling Nigerian law school student went on a campus shooting spree, killing the dean, a professor and a student before he was tackled by students, authorities said.

The attack also wounded three students at the Appalachian School of Law. Two were in surgery Wednesday evening and the third was listed in fair condition.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who was one of the first to arrive after the shooting in this tiny mountain community in western Virginia.

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

The 42-year-old suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, had arrived at school to meet with the dean about his academic suspension, which went into effect Wednesday, State Police spokesman Mike Stater said.

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

He then walked to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them with a .380-caliber pistol, Stater said. Witnesses said Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing Dales and seriously wounding three others.

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

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

The suspect was being held at the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three weapons counts, authorities said.

Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability that school officials knew about. Rubin, the professor who spoke with the suspect moments before the rampage, declined comment after the shooting.

First-year student Justin Marlowe from Richwood, West Virginia, said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

He also said Odighizuwa had flunked out a year ago and “the dean bent over backward to get him enrolled again.”

The private law school, with an enrollment of about 170 students, was closed for the rest of the week.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was also an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to help found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement expressing his condolences to Sutin’s wife and their two children.

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 just a few miles (kilometers) south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

There are about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

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GRUNDY, Virginia—More school violence in the United States, this time in Grundy, Virginia.


Broadcast News (BN)

GRUNDY, Virginia—More school violence in the United States, this time in Grundy, Virginia.

Officials say a gunman has killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting rampage at the Appalachian School of Law.

Among the dead is the dean.

A spokeswoman says a student and another member of the faculty were also killed.

She says state police believe students apprehended a suspect.

The weapon was a .380 semi-automatic handgun.

Grundy is in the Appalachian foothills, 190 kilometres west of Roanoke.

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Virginia-School-Shooting-Update (injured in hospital)


Broadcast News (BN)

GRUNDY, Virginia—A gunman killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting rampage at a lawschool in Grundy, Virginia.

The dead include a student, a faculty member and the dean of the Appalachian School of Law.

State police believe students apprehended the suspect.

The weapon was a .380-calibre semi-automatic handgun.

Three wounded students were taken to hospital.

The law school, with an enrolment of about 170 students, opened in 1997 in a renovated junior high school in this small town about 200 kilometres west of Roanoke.

It graduated its first class of 34 in 2000.

The school has about 15 faculty members.

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Three killed and three wounded at a Virginia law school


CBS Evening News (6:30 PM ET) - CBS

JOHN ROBERTS, anchor:

A doctor who responded to a shooting at a Virginia law school today says when he arrived, there were bodies lying everywhere. It happened at the Appalachian School of Law in the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Grundy. Three people were killed, including the school’s dean, and three others wounded before students tackled the suspect. He is described as a student from Nigeria, angered over poor grades.

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Interview with Tim Baylor

Judy Woodruff
CNN Live Today 10:00

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We now have the first pictures coming in from southwest Virginia, where a gunman has killed three people and wounded three others during a shooting spree at the Appalachian School of Law.

The dean of the school was among those killed. The dean, named L. Anthony Sutton, was a former acting assistant U.S. attorney general, and we are told he was also chief counsel for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.

The gunman who was identified as a fellow student now is in state police custody after he was tackled by other students. Joining us now on the telephone is a spokesman for the Wellmont Health Systems, which runs the two hospitals where’s the three who were wounded are being treated.

Tim Baylor is joining us. Tim, are you there on the phone?

TIM BAYLOR, WELLMONT HEALTH SYSTEMS: Yes, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Tell us about the condition of the three?

BAYLOR: There were three patients that were transferred from Grundy to on two hospitals in the Wellmont system. Two patients were transferred to Wellmont (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Valley Medical Center in Kingsport. One patient is currently in surgery and the second is listed in fair condition. The third patient was transferred to Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center in Bristol, Tennessee. And that patient is also currently in surgery.

WOODRUFF: So, Can you tell us anything about the injury or the injuries to those who are in surgery? You said the second person is in fair condition?

BAYLOR: Correct. That’s right. We do not know condition the yet of those in surgery. We are still waiting to have more information on our end as well.

WOODRUFF: And do you know anything about how many times they were shot or where they were shot?

BAYLOR: No, I don’t.

WOODRUFF: Anything to identify them?

BAYLOR: No. I can tell you that all three were female, but I cannot—don’t have names to give you at this time.

WOODRUFF: You don’t know if they were students or faculty or something else?

BAYLOR: I believe all three were students.

WOODRUFF: All three were students. All right. Tim Baylor is a spokesman for the Wellmont Health Systems, which as you heard him say, runs two hospitals, one in Kingsport, Tennessee, the other one in Bristol, Tennessee. And at these hospitals the three who were wounded in this shooting incident are being treated.

You heard him say one person in fair condition, the other two in surgery. We don’t know much more than that. He did say all three are women. Beyond that we know that three people were killed in the shooting spree at the Appalachian School of Law. Among those dead: The dean of the school who’s name is L. Anthony Sutton. As soon as we get more information we will bring it to you. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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1ST LEAD: Three dead after student gunman shoots six at law school


Deutsche Presse-Agentur

A student gunmen killed three people and critically injured three more during a rampage Wednesday at a law school in Grundy, Virginia, the local coroner said.

The alleged killer, a foreign student facing expulsion for poor marks from the Appalachian School of Law, “executed” the dean, Anthony Sutin, and another instructor, and shot four students, said Doctor Jack Briggs. Students then overpowered the student, who used a. 38-calibre semi-automatic handgun in the shooting spree, said a spokeswoman for Virginia Governor Mark Warner. The law school is located in the Appalachia mountain range in far-western Virginia, about 500 kilometres west of the U.S. capital city of Washington.

Briggs, also a local physician, told broadcaster CNN he knew the gunman, who had complained of stress “six months ago, seven months ago” and in hindsight had been “a time bomb ready to go off”.

The student had apparently had academic difficulties during his first year at the law school. He came back but again scored low grades and may now have faced expulsion, Briggs said.

“So he took his anger out on the people he felt were responsible for him leaving the school,” the doctor said. “I had no idea it would affect him this way.”

The faculty members were “executed”, said Briggs, who said he found powder burns on the shirt of one victim, indicating he was “obviously shot at point-blank range”.

One of the students injured was shot in the chest, and the other two suffered abdominal wounds, the physician said. They were taken to Buchanan General Hospital, but their condition was no known. dpa fz

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US-SHOOTING (1ST LEAD) THREE DEAD IN SHOOTING AT VIRGINIA LAW SCHOOL


EFE News Service

Washington, Jan 16 (EFE).- Three people were killed and three others wounded Wednesday in a shooting at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, authorities said.

A spokesman for the Virginia governor’s office told reporters that according to initial reports, one of the victims was Anthony Sutton, dean of the law school.

No other details were known about the incident, but it appears the perpetrator was overpowered and detained by students.

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US-SHOOTING (2ND LEAD) THREE DEAD IN SHOOTING AT VIRGINIA LAW SCHOOL


EFE News Service

Washington, Jan 16 (EFE).- Three people were killed and three others wounded Wednesday in a shooting at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, authorities said.

A spokesman for the Virginia governor’s office told reporters that according to initial reports, one of the victims was Anthony Sutton, dean of the law school, whose name appears as Sutin on the institution’s Internet Web site.

It appears the perpetrator, whose motives for the shooting remain unclear, was overpowered and detained by students.

Among those who were killed in the incident were a student, an instructor and Sutton, according to Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a former member of the law school’s board of directors.

Five or six people were shot, according to authorities from the southwestern Virginia town of Grundy, who added that the situation is under control.

The wounded were rushed to an area hospital, where they were receiving treatment, authorities noted.

According to Qualls, at least three students were treated at the hospital for gunshot wounds.

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Deadly Shooting at Virginia Law School

Brian Williams; Pete Williams; Robert Hager; Kevin Tibbles; Jim Miklaszewski; Soledad O’Brien; George Lewis; Lisa Myers
The News with Brian Williams 21:00 - MSNBC

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOTBE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR: The man who planned to take down a jetliner with the explosives in his shoes. Tonight, the Justice Department says he is the real deal with ties to the al Qaeda network.

The government deadline for the airline security crackdown. It happens this Friday at an airport near you. But is it a sham? Is it going to be any safer to fly? Eight thousand miles from home and in big trouble. A live report tonight from Guantanamo Bay, home to a new batch of prisoner.

And Enron at issue tonight and the question: Are corporate executives getting away with murder financially? Who should pay for what happened to everyone connected to that company?

ANNOUNCER: From NBC News, this is THE NEWS WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS.

WILLIAMS: Good evening.

When the first reports came in on that Saturday night over the holidays that a man had allegedly tried to light a crude fuse heading to his shoe on board a commercial airliner, he did not appear to be a serious character to a lot of people, certainly not the kind of highly motivated and apparently highly trained terrorist that created the kind of hell of September 11th in this country.

But, today, the U.S. Justice Department told a different story about the almost pathetic-seeming man who was photographed in the back seat of that car being led away from the airport that night in Boston. They say Richard Reid was trained, in fact, by the al Qaeda network, and they’ve now charged him with a number of counts, enough, in fact, to guarantee a lifetime stay in jail, if guilty.

Before we look at the safety of air travel in this country, including the changes that are coming up this Friday, our look at this suspect tonight begins with NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A federal grand jury today accused Reid of receiving training from an al Qaeda terrorist camp and then trying to kill a planeload of people with explosives hidden in his shoes.

Until today, Reid had been charged only with interfering with the flight crewmembers who spotted him trying to ignite the shoe bombs on an American Airlines flight from Paris bound for Miami three days before Christmas.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Reid’s indictment alerts us to a clear, unmistakable threat that al Qaeda could attack the United States again.

P. WILLIAMS: Among other charges, the grand jury accuses Reid of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, using a dangerous weapon against the flight crew, and attempting to destroy an airplane. All carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The attorney general and the FBI director say the quick action by the flight crew proves that the government’s frequent threat warnings paid off.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: An observant and responsible public is as much a partner to effective law enforcement as any other activity we in law enforcement undertake.

P. WILLIAMS: Meantime today, U.S. law-enforcement officials say they’re studying the contents of these computer, apparently left behind in Afghanistan by al Qaeda members as U.S. forces closed in, in hopes that the contents might shed new light on what Reid was up to.

“Wall Street Journal” reporters bought the computers in Afghanistan and spent weeks decoding and translating the thousands of file they contain. They found one document detailing the travels of an al Qaeda operative called Brother Abdul Ra’uff whose apparent mission was to scout potential terrorist targets in Israel and Egypt, but “Journal” reporters say that operative’s movements appear to match those of Richard Reid right down to the issuing of replacement passports in the same cities.

ANDREW HIGGINS, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: It was a fairly compelling circumstantial evidence that this is the same person.

P. WILLIAMS (on camera): The computer material has been turned over to federal investigators who say it likely does describe Richard Reid, but they say they’ve found nothing definite yet to prove it.

Pete Williams, NBC News, at the Justice Department.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAMS: For more on “The Wall Street Journal“‘s reporting on the similarities between Richard Reid and an al Qaeda operative, we are joined now by the newspaper’s foreign editor. John Bussey is with us tonight from “The Journal“‘s temporary bureau in Lower Manhattan.

John, run through, first of all, what is known about those similar to Richard Reid? Are there any fears at the highest level of the U.S., to your knowledge and the paper’s knowledge, that there are more guys like him out there?

JOHN BUSSEY, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Well, this story in “The Journal” today by Andy Higgins and Alan Cullison certainly leaves you with that impression.

It’s mostly about a scout who’s been sent out to scope out a variety of possible locations for additional terrorism, not just in the United States. They mentioned the U.N. building. But, in Israel, they mentioned the Wailing Wall and bus depots in Egypt and along the border with Canada where they say, “Look, there are some nightclubs up there where U.S. servicemen frequent.”

So you’re left with the impression that—while there’s—the details are about this one individual who appears to be on some circumstantial evidence Richard Reid, because his itinerary was precisely the same, you’re left with the broader feeling, Brian, that “My gosh, these people are really quite organized. They’re quite intent, and there’s probably more of them.

WILLIAMS: And yet, John, this one fellow, Mr. Reid, as a solo actor, was, you’d have to admit, not very impressive. In fact, we used the word “pathetic” at the top of the broadcast.

He proved once again that the best and only air marshals really that you can count on these days are the citizens who fly on jets. A doctor was able to subdue him with ease.

And is this their best shot?

BUSSEY: Well, it’s probably not their best shot. I mean, we saw a—an extraordinary shot on September 11th. I mean, who would have thought?

You know, the other thing about Richard Reid is I probably have a different opinion about him. I mean, he comes across as a bumbler. rMD+IT_rMDNM_In these correspondences in the story, he’s quite precise. He’s very careful. He covers his tracks very well.

And after all, I think that we were probably seconds, if not than nanoseconds, away from that American Airlines jet blowing up over the ocean. We might right now, Brian, be really reporting about all sorts of speculation. Could it have been a bomb that blew that plane up? It was, you know, a wreckage across the bottom of the ocean, had it not been for the extraordinary luck of a flight attendant wandering by when he lit the match.

WILLIAMS: And point taken about that and the shot that we did take as a nation September 11th. It’s the very fact you’re in a temporary bureau talking to us tonight and not the old venerable headquarters of “The Wall Street Journal”.

John, how worried, baseline here, should Americans be specifically vis-a-vis the reporting “The Journal” has uncovered?

BUSSEY: Well, the end of the files show a—an al Qaeda seemingly in disarray, quite disappointed that Muslims around the world hadn’t risen up. This—these were files that Andy and Alan found dated after September 11th.

So you’re left to feel that while there is disarray—bin Laden’s on the run, his lieutenants are on the run, one has been killed—on the other hand, somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 people went through those training camps over the years, and as we’ve found in Indonesia, they’re already training other people.

So I think that caution, surveillance, and concern and nervousness are probably smart characteristics to have in the weeks and months ahead.

WILLIAMS: So 170 names of al Qaeda people included in these files. It starts to become a staggering amount of data, a staggering number of characters for the U.S. to track at once.

BUSSEY: Yeah. And the U.S. says—they’ve had a look at the files and at the computers. The U.S. says, among that 170 that—just mentioned in the today’s paper, a lot of new names, people that they didn’t know were al Qaeda listed in the files.

WILLIAMS: John Bussey, thank you very much as always. The foreign editor of “The Wall Street Journal” concerning their reporting in today’s paper.

Remember this so-called shoe bomber was stopped before, questioned once for so long in the airport, he missed his flight originally. But he was ultimately sadly welcomed back on board a commercial flight.

This Friday, two days from now, a tough new aviation security deadline goes into effect in this country. It is fairly apparent tonight two things are going to happen. There will be no great increase in air security. There will be maddening and intolerable delays perhaps across this country.

We have a reality check on this tonight from NBC rMDNM_News correspondent Robert Hager.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERT HAGER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, the government vows to meet the new airline security laws deadline of this Friday for screening all checked luggage at airport nationwide. Two months ago, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said it couldn’t be done. Today, he says it can and will.

NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: We will do everything humanly possible to keep these promises.

HAGER: But security experts say there are not nearly enough people, enough bomb-sniffing dogs, or enough explosive-detection machines to really screen more than a small fraction of the four-million bags checked each day. So how can they say they’ll meet deadline?

(on camera): Only because the law permits what some call a huge loophole. Until next year, it allows airlines to say they’ve screened bags if, instead, they simply do what’s called bag matching, ensuring that every bag checked belongs to someone who actually takes the same flight.

(voice-over): It’s based on a theory that no one would plant a bomb aboard the same flight they’re flying. But critics say that’s now nonsense.

PAUL HUDSON, AVIATION CONSUMER ACTION PROJECT: Bag matching doesn’t make complete sense since 9/11 since we now face the threat of suicide terrorists.

HAGER: And airlines will only be required to bag match for a passenger’s first flight, meaning that, for connecting flights, a potentially lethal checked bag could slip aboard, even if the passenger it belongs to doesn’t. Is that really screening?

HUDSON: They should just honestly admit that they haven’t met the deadline and talk about what deadline they can meet.

HAGER: But, today, airlines and the government say this is all they can realistically do for now.

CAROL HALLETT, AIR TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION: We anticipate that it’s going to be a pretty smooth start-up.

HAGER: But will require some sacrifices.

Delta says, come Friday, it will no longer take checked bags closer than a half-hour before flight. United warns no more switching flights at the last minute.

A true 100-percent screening will not be required until the next deadline, the end of this year, when the law says every checked bag will actually have to go through an explosive-detection device.

Robert Hager, NBC News, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAMS: For more now on what’s in store for airline passengers come Friday—there’s a lot to talk about on this subject and whether flying will really be any safer by, say, Saturday morning—we are joined now by a man who spends much of his life on airplanes or at least talking about them, aviation consultant and safety expert Mike Boyd. He is of counsel to several carriers. He is with us tonight from Denver.

Well, Michael, where to begin? How—how pathetic do you find this, the changes we’re about to see? How much of a Band-Aid is it going to be?

MIKE BOYD: Well, I think the DOT has created a physical impossibility. This is a four-chunk, four—a four-link chain. Every link is the weakest link. You’ve got bag matching, you’ve got screening by dogs, you’ve got screening by hand, and you’ve got screening by machines, none of which works real well. It is a scam. There’s no question about it. It’s a sham.

WILLIAMS: So far—it occurred to me listening to Bob Hager’s report for the second time tonight that it’s the passenger who are going to be out here at least short term, and by that, I mean this: no switching flights last minute, no last-minute bags being checked on to flights. We don’t see the airlines being out that much yet because, of course, the equipment hasn’t arrived in the airports and really won’t be for quite some time.

BOYD: Well, that’s true, and the equipment they’re ordering, these CT machines, aren’t going to work very well when they do get them there. There’s such credible evidence that keeps coming in that these things really don’t screen very well. So, come December 31st, if anybody thinks we’re going to be even more secure than we are today, you can just forget it.

The fact is we need some leadership that’s going to go in the right direction, and what we saw today with bag matching—keep in mind that probably 65 percent of all flights—probably more than that, more like 70 percent—have connecting passengers on it. So bag matching isn’t going to do a thing to make us any more secure from terrorists.

WILLIAMS: And we—we can’t say this enough. Bag matching might have worked before the days when we knew there were people who thought nothing of blowing their selves up on board a commercial airliner.

BOYD: Absolutely. And—and for the government to tell us that bag matching is screening for explosives is purely ridiculous. All it does is just try to assume that the person on the first leg of the flight isn’t going to blow themselves up. None of it makes any sense.

And the other three options, the way they’re put together—this isn’t multilayered. It’s just—it’s just multi-amateur. That’s the only way of putting it.

WILLIAMS: I have seen airline passengers who have been through two- and three-hour lines just to go through X-ray to board a plane. It’s reality. It’s happening in this country. They have so far, by and large, been very good and patient citizens.

I need a prediction from you on what Friday’s going to look like around this country, what Saturday’s going to look like, and are people going to go with the program?

BOYD: Well, I think it may be smoother than you think because the real—the real down side would be the matching of the initial bag. I think they can do that better than we might expect. At least I hope so.

But the real issue is all these silly stories where they stick a microphone in the person’s face and say, “Do you mind this delay?” “Oh, no. I’m all for this delay if it means more security.”

What the question really should be is “How foolish do you feel standing in this line when this hasn’t improved security at all?” Then I think we’d have a different answer from the public.

WILLIAMS: Mike, a larger question but not at all beyond your ken. Have thing gone back to normal too quickly? And by that, I mean the people throwing up their hands, saying, “Look, these X-ray machines just can’t be built quickly.”

I was reminded before we went on the air, the United States built a liberty ship every two days for a four-year period during World War II. It can be done.

BOYD: Well, these machine they’re trying to buy probably have the technology of a liberty ship. We’re buying the wrong machines. We’re buying machines that can’t do it. We’re buying politically connected machines rather than machines that can screen for all kinds of explosive and other things in baggage. We’re going in the wrong direction, not the right direction.

We can do it, but the FAA, the DOT, and the government and Congress simply don’t have the gumption to do it, and I don’t think they have the ability to do it right now. But it’s a leadership issue, not a technology issue.

WILLIAMS: I know you’re not a political analyst, but is that leadership you’re calling for at the presidential level—does this president need to make a Rooseveltian address to a joint session of Congress and a national audience watching at home to get it in the right gear?

BOYD: Well, I think what he has to do—it’s his staff doing it. Let’s face it. Since 9/11, Americans cannot be proud of what they’ve seen coming out of the Department of Transportation. What he should do is tell Norman Mineta to go find another job someplace and fire the FAA administrator.

Let’s be real blunt here. They haven’t done a very good job, and it’s time to stop playing politics and start worrying about security because—again, look at breach after breach after breach, and they say we have enhanced security.

Look at that speech today from Mr. Mineta. It was a joke. This is my life and yours and the American public’s. We need to start taking it seriously. Mr. Bush needs to move on that.

WILLIAMS: Veteran aviation consultant and frequent guest of ours, Michael Boyd. Thank you, Michael, as always for coming on tonight.

In rural Virginia tonight, authorities say a law student who opened fire at his school had just been suspended just today. Three people were killed, including the school’s dean, and three others were injured at the tiny Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, just a few miles south of the Kentucky/West Virginia state line.

We get latest now from NBC News correspondent Kevin Tibbles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shots rang out at 1:00 this afternoon on the campus of the tiny Appalachian School of Law. By the time the shooter was overpowered, three people were dead, three others wounded.

Police say the 43-year-old suspect is a student from Nigeria who failed last year and who was suspended from school this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He was kind of a loner, and it was hard to approach him. He was very closed off.

TIBBLES: The shots fired execution style, according to police, from a semi-automatic handgun.

The dead include the dean of the law school, L. Anthony Sutin, a former member of the Clinton administration’s Justice Department. The father of two young children, former law partners say he had a huge heart.

One faculty member and a student were also shot dead, the three injured students rushed to nearby hospitals.

(on camera): State police in Virginia are crediting law students at Appalachian for preventing further loss of life, saying they overpowered the gunman and held him until police could arrive.

PAUL LUND, ASSOCIATE DEAN: The whole community is profoundly shocked and saddened by this tragedy. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the victims.

TIBBLES (voice-over): The Appalachian School of Law opened in 1997 to encourage young people in this traditional coal-mining region to study and practice law. It is housed on the campus of a former junior high school and boasts just 170 students and 15 faculty.

A trauma unit has now been set up on the tiny campus to counsel those who have lost friends. A memorial service will be held at the school tomorrow.

Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAMS: There is a lot more to tell about as we continue after a pause this Wednesday night, including new information on the collapse of Enron and new questions tonight about just how much Andersen accounting really knew about the downward-headed Texas giant. At issue, who should pay for what happened to all those Enron employees who lost everything?

And coming up next, the latest on the American war effort in Afghanistan.

And more tonight on the new battleground shaping up in the Philippines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: The Pentagon called another 2,400 reserve troops to active duty, we found out this week. That brings the total number of reservists who have been mobilized since September 11th to more than 70,000 now tonight. The move comes as the U.S. military presence in the Philippines continues to build this evening.

We get details now from NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama bin Laden grind on, the U.S. military build-up in the Philippines is well underway.

As of today, some 250 U.S. military forces have arrived. The total number could reach 800 to help the Philippines military destroy Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group with known ties to Osama bin Laden.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: There is no question that there had been linkages between al Qaeda and activities that have taken place in the Philippines.

MIKLASZEWSKI: But Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says the Philippines is only the next stop in America’s war on terrorism.

RUMSFELD: If we have to go into 15 more countries, we ought to do to it to deal with the problem of terrorism.

MIKLASZEWSKI: In Afghanistan, coalition forces still dealing with the potential threat from weapons of mass destruction. It was revealed today that, last week, a British military team outside Kabul unearthed a sinister-looking set of canisters at first believed to contain radioactive material.

RUMSFELD: Externally, they’ve got stuff on them that make reasonable people think there’s something not good in there, and we’re going to check them out.

MIKLASZEWSKI: Tests reveal, however, the material is harmless. In fact, the U.S. military has inspected 45 sites and has still found no evidence Osama bin Laden has produced chemical, biological, or radioactive weapons.

But still no sign of America’s two most wanted: Taliban leader Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden.

(on camera): Military officials here at the Pentagon now believe that some Afghan tribal leaders know exactly where to find Mullah Omar but refuse to give him up. As for the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, they readily admit it’s still anybody’s guess.

Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAMS: Yet another shipment of prisoners has arrived tonight at the U.S. air base in Cuba, Guantanamo Bay. They are all al Qaeda and Taliban veterans, and they are 8,000 miles from home tonight, bringing the number of prisoners housed there now to 80.

A late update from NBC News correspondent Soledad O’Brien who is at Guantanamo Bay.

SOLEDAD O’BRIEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Brian, this afternoon, a C-141 landed on the airstrip here at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. On board, the 30 detainees making the approximately 20-hour-long journey from Kandahar.

The men came off the cargo plane, each one wearing an orange jumpsuit, wearing blacked-out goggles, bound at the hands, shackled at the feet. The Navy has been adamant that we show no pictures of these detainees. They say for security reasons.

We can only tell you that there is a lot of security here, obviously. The men were patted down and then led to one of two really regular school buses. The windows of the school buses blacked out as well. Apparently inside, the seats removed, meaning that the detainees would sit on the floor of the school bus.

Taken to a ferry and then taken off the Camp X-Ray where they are expected to spend the next three months or so.

Earlier today at a briefing, Brigadier General Michael Leonard said that, in addition to the 80 detainees now here at Guantanamo Bay, they are also building more units—and quickly—in the effort to house another 600 or so. He also praised the base medical team, saying that they had been working in the face of some threats from the detainees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIG. GEN. MICHAEL LEHNERT, U.S. JOINT TASK FORCE COMMANDER: These are not nice people. Several have publicly stated here their intent to kill an American before they leave Guantanamo Bay. We will not give them that satisfaction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’BRIEN: That medical team also investigating some health concerns. It is suspected that some of the detainees may have tuberculosis, and so they are wearing surgical masks. That’s in an effort to protect the Marines that are guarding them.

There has been no interrogation of the detainees as of yet.

The International Red Cross is expected to arrive here tomorrow to examine the conditions under which the detainees are being kept. Brian, back to you.

WILLIAMS: Soledad O’Brien of NBC News from the place they call Getmo (ph), Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, tonight. Thanks.

When we come back, two nuclear powers on the brink of war. Tonight, what it’s all about and what Colin Powell is doing to keep the peace in that region.

And the latest on that blind lion in Afghanistan, how an outpouring of American support is making a very real difference tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Welcome back to the broadcast at half past the hour.

New criminal charges tonight against Richard Reid, the man suspected of trying to blow up that American Airlines flight over the Atlantic Ocean last month with explosives hidden in his shoes. A federal grand jury today accused Reid of being an al Qaeda-trained terrorist and indicting him on nine separate accounts, including attempted murder and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, as they called it.

Secretary of State Colin Powell is in South Asia tonight where he will review U.S. troops in Afghanistan later this week. But, first, he is trying to help Pakistan and India reach some sort of middle ground before the two nuclear nations come any closer to conflict over the border region of Kashmir.

NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is traveling with the secretary.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREW MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Colin Powell on a mission to avert another war. This time between India and Pakistan, both armed with nuclear weapons.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We need a campaign against terrorism, not a campaign with these two countries fighting one another.

MITCHELL: It is almost mission impossible. Today, just as he arrives in the region, India raises the stakes, hints that its submarines are already armed with nuclear warheads, a threat Pakistan cannot match.

ADM. MADHEVENDRA SINGH, INDIAN NAVY: The Navy is fully (UNINTELLIGIBLE), its powder is dry and we are ready.

MITCHELL: And Pakistan warns today that even a small incident can spark a chain of events that could be disastrous. And that’s exactly why Powell is here.

POWELL: We want to find out ways to de escalate militarily, de escalate some of the political and diplomatic steps that have been taken in recent weeks.

MITCHELL: What will he propose? When he arrives in India tomorrow night he will ask India to reverse its decision to close the border, and lift restrictions on Pakistani flights over its territory, if these first steps work then possibly a troop pullback. But here is the problem Powell faces: India still wants satisfaction for a suicide bomb attack on its Parliament, India claims staged by Pakistani terrorists. Powell, who has been working both sides hard with almost daily phone calls, got a major concession last week from Pakistan’s President Musharraf. On Saturday, he declared war on his country’s terrorists.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used for any terrorist activity anywhere in the world.

MITCHELL: As of tonight, he has arrested almost 2,000 militants, outlawed radical Islamic groups, cracked down on religious schools that recruit young boys into the terrorist ranks.

But it is a high-risk strategy. Pakistan’s leader faces challenges from Taliban supporters in his own government.

(on camera): To help prop him up, tonight Powell invited Musharraf to visit President Bush for the first time in Washington. But that gesture will surely infuriate India, creating even more challenges when Powell lands there tomorrow night.

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Islamabad. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAMS: More on this: Along India’s border with Pakistan tonight, tension remain high, the outbreak of war still a very real threat.

NBC News correspondent George Lewis has that angle of the story tonight from Kashmir. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE LEWIS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every day, at the only border gate between India and Pakistan, a ritual symbolizing the armed face-off between the two nations. Indian and Pakistani soldiers meet at sundown to lower their respective flags, with crowds of angry demonstrators on both sides shouting epithets.

CROWD: Pakistan!

CROWD: India!

CROWD: Pakistan!

CROWD: India!

LEWIS: The tension between India and Pakistan has spurred the biggest military buildup in 15 years. Why? They’re fighting over the divided state of Kashmir, framed by the Himalayas, a beautiful place with an ugly history of armed conflict. It’s been the scene of two wars and constant hostilities; 35,000 have died.

And now the armies are on full alert once again. The military buildup intrudes on the serenity of nature. India, mostly Hindu, occupies 45 percent of heavily Muslim Kashmir. Pakistan, also Muslim, has about a third of the territory, and China the rest. The U.N. called for free elections so the Kashmiris could choose whether they wanted independence. But those elections have never been held because India blocks them.

Now thousands of refugees run from border areas, as Muslim separatists operating from Pakistan attack the Indian side. These border villagers show off the bullet holes in their buildings and the scars on their own bodies.

(on camera): The people here have turned quite militant. They say they’re fed up with the Pakistanis using their village for target practice. But a war is about the only way to get rid of the problem.

(voice-over): The mood is also ugly in this Hindu refugee camp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want only war.

LEWIS (on camera): You want only war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we want only war. War is the solution.

LEWIS: War is the solution?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LEWIS (voice-over): Back at the border crossing, the soldiers end their ceremony by slamming the gates closed, even as Colin Powell and other diplomats try to keep the doors open to negotiations aimed at averting war.

George Lewis, NBC News, Kashmir. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAMS: When we come back here tonight, the collapse of Enron: The auditor who ordered documents destroyed is now helping investigators, but how much? And “@Issue” tonight: What about the executives who cashed in and left so many employees wiped out? Should they have to pay for it? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Readers of a lot of major daily newspapers in this country woke up this morning to find a full-page ad from Andersen Accounting. The ads are part of the big-five accounting firm’s efforts to prevent its role in the collapse of energy giant Enron from leading to its own collapse. But that’s possible.

We get the latest on the investigation into Andersen and the latest on Enron from NBC News correspondent Lisa Myers. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA MYERS, NBC CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, the auditor who repeatedly certified Enron’s false financial reports, David Duncan, is grilled for more than four hours by congressional investigators, that as his former company, the Andersen accounting firm, places full-page newspaper ads to try to contain the damage.

The ads admit an error in judgment in the Enron case, say Duncan has been fired, and promised Andersen will do what is right.

JOSEPH DIGENOVA, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Arthur Andersen is doing the only thing it can do right now, given its position, which is a very bad position to be in.

MYERS: Late today, more trouble for the firm: Congressional investigators uncover a new memo, which they say shows the Enron whistle-blower who alerted Enron management to potential accounting scandals also called an Andersen partner in August, who immediately relayed her concerns to senior management.

So far, Andersen’s explanation is that it didn’t know all the facts about Enron. It has blamed David Duncan for what wrongdoing it admits, shredding of thousands of documents. But another new document, a report from Enron’s law firm, Vinson & Elkins, suggests Andersen headquarters knew plenty. The law firm wrote in October that all material facts about controversial partnerships used to hide Enron debt were disclosed and reviewed by Arthur Andersen and that experts at the Chicago headquarters were consulted.

DIGENOVA: The memo from Vinson & Elkins is damaging, severely damaging to Arthur Andersen, because it would undercut their argument that Mr. Duncan was acting as a rogue partner.

MYERS: Andersen earned $1 million a week serving as both Enron’s auditor and consultant, what critics say was a conflict of interests. Now Andersen is fighting for its own survival, facing huge potential claims by Enron investors and, experts say, a potential co-conspirator in a criminal case against Enron.

A former top securities regulator says the company could be in big trouble.

LYNN TURNER, CENTER FOR QUALITY FINANCIAL REPORTING, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY: I think we’re going to turn around and find that Andersen, to some degree, is going to be found culpable in this situation.

MYERS (on camera): Tonight, Andersen is not commenting. Duncan’s lawyer insists he’s done nothing wrong. Congressional investigators say Duncan is cooperating and providing valuable information.

Lisa Myers, NBC News, the Capitol. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAMS: Perhaps no one has been hurt in the Enron collapse as much as the company’s employees, including many who lost everything, their life savings gone. “@Issue” tonight: Will Enron’s demise turn out to be a crime without punishment? Should the U.S. have tougher laws to protect investors? Or should Enron’s investors and employee have done a better job watching their own interests?

For more, we are joined now from New York by documentary filmmaker and author Michael Moore, best known as the writer, director and star of “Roger and Me,” the story of the General Motors chairman and his hometown of Flint, Michigan. He is also the author, we should point out, of a new book, “Stupid White Men.” And it comes out next month.

Also with us from New York tonight: James Glassman, investment columnist for “The Washington Post,” a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of a new investment guide, “The Secret Code of the Superior Investor: How to be a Long-Term Winner in a Short-Term World.”

Gentlemen, welcome to you both.

And, Michael, I would like to begin with you. For all those of us who have worked for what we have today, this enrages people to read about, to hear about. However, investing in stock, even in a retirement plan, is not a passbook saving account. It is for serious-minded adults who know what they’re doing and know how to assume risk. What, in your mind, should come out of this?

MICHAEL MOORE, AUTHOR, “STUPID WHITE MEN”: Well, somebody should go to jail.

I mean, this company, Brian, these executives, they knew things were going south, and they went and they took this money for themselves, knowing that all the workers at this company were going to be left with nothing. And I just can’t believe that—I mean, there are people in prison right now in California for stealing a slice of pizza, and they’re in there for life. And the fact—to think that these guys could even get away with this.

And the connections, I don’t want to—let’s not forget the connections here, because too many people right now are saying, well, the Bush administration, they didn’t do anything wrong. Evans and O’Neill have come out and said: Well, they called us and we didn’t do anything to help them.

Well, what about their silence? If they got a call from Enron for help back in the summer and in the fall, and they didn’t tell anybody or didn’t do anything, I mean, that right there makes them complicit in this crime. And, if I could just take a second, Brian, let’s just break it down. Who is Paul O’Neill, our treasury secretary? He is the former CEO of Alcoa, the third largest contributor to the Bush campaign—Enron, the No. 1 contributor to the Bush campaign.

Who is the lawyer—who is the law firm for Alcoa? Vinson & Elkins. Who is the law firm for Enron? Vinson & Elkins. Don Evans, who got the other call from Enron, our commerce secretary, who is he? He’s the former chairman of Tom Brown Inc., an oil and gas company worth $1.2 billion. He was also the finance chairman of the Bush campaign that collected the money from Enron and Alcoa. They’re all connected in this. Let’s not forget this.

WILLIAMS: There are a lot of ties here.

James Glassman, is it two separate issues? Some bad guys probably did some very bad things. And some people probably will see life inside a cell before this is all over. What to do about the risk that people assumed and the losses that regular people who woke up in the morning, went to work and came home, are now suffering?

JAMES GLASSMAN, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Right.

As far as the executives of this company are concerned, they obviously will be investigated. There could be fraud charges. There could be insider-trading charges. Charles Keating got 150 months sentence in prison. The Cendant executives are now under indictment. This is what happens in this country. And it’s the right thing.

Now, what happens to the employees? They have suffered, certainly, because many of them owned big chunks of stock in their own companies. The company stock was in fact given to the employees as a matching donation for their 401(k) plans. It mounted up so that it was far too big a chunk to have in a retirement account for any one stock. The question is: Whose responsibility is that?

And I would say that it’s very important for employees, for people who are watching this show today, to understand that they have responsibility themselves for their own retirement plans. That’s what they should do.

WILLIAMS: But what about the employees who wanted to dump out, wanted to cash out?

GLASSMAN: OK.

The way that the Enron retirement plan worked, which is quite similar to the retirement plan of most large companies, is that, if you bought the Enron stock yourself for the part of the retirement plan where you made your own contributions…

WILLIAMS: Discretionary, right.

GLASSMAN: Right. It was discretionary. You could move that any time you wanted. You could take it and put it into Fidelity Magellan or into bonds or whatever you wanted.

However, the part that Enron gave you as a matching grant, you could not move until you were 50 years old. After that, you could move it as much as you wanted. Then there was one period lasting two weeks, or 10 trading days, when there was a freeze because there was a change in an administrator. Now, that ought to be investigated. There might be some hanky-panky. However, the stock at that point was already down to $14. It went to $10. So that probably didn’t hurt too many people, that particular freeze.

WILLIAMS: Michael Moore, back up to one of your points. Not many people will give you an argument: This ship was sinking. They knew it on the bridge. They didn’t tell the people in the engine room.

To your point, seventh largest company in the country is sinking—if I read you correctly, they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they called the White House and somebody had raised their hand and said, “Look, I just got a call from Enron and they’re failing,” that would have been a problem because it would have showed collusion. You’re saying that it was bad that no one did raise their hand and say, “Look, I got a call from the seventh largest company in the country and they’re failing.”

MOORE: Right.

They got a call. They knew they were failing. And they probably also knew that the executives were forming these 3,000 partnerships, sending all this money offshore. You know, they had to have known that this was going on. And that’s when they, our elected officials, the people in Bush’s Cabinet, should have done something to protect these employees.

But, to answer your question…

WILLIAMS: Does that mean government, Michael? Does that mean new safeguards for people who buy stocks, 401(k)s?

MOORE: Oh, yes, absolutely.

And, Brian, here’s the irony of this. Enron and Kenneth Lay, its chairman, Lay had his own little—almost little corner office in the White House in the early days of the Bush administration, because, if you wanted a job in the Energy Department or the regulatory commissions, you had to be interviewed first by Kenneth Lay.

GLASSMAN: That’s complete nonsense.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: May 25, “New York Times,” it’s right there.

WILLIAMS: Go ahead, James.

GLASSMAN: He didn’t vet every energy employee.

Let me tell you something about Enron. The single most important issue for Enron—and “The Washington Post” recently reported this—as far as their trading income was concerned, would have been the passage of the Kyoto agreement. Ken Lay lobbied both administrations very hard, especially the Bush administration, and didn’t get what he wanted. So the Bush administration was not a wholly-owned subsidiary of Enron or anything close to that.

Second, it is completely untrue that people at the White House knew that there were all sorts of these, what are called special-purpose entities that were set up by Enron to take some of its debt off the books. That’s the issue.

MOORE: Nobody in America believes that, James—I’ve got to tell you something—because Kenneth Lay was a good friend of George Bush’s.

GLASSMAN: Oh, so he was telling him all about how their books were set up?

MOORE: The Enron jets flew Bush around the country during his campaign in 2000. The Enron jets flew him during the primaries.

GLASSMAN: Michael, if he was such a good friend of Bush’s, why didn’t he bail the company out, as Ken Lay requested?

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Because it was so far gone at that point. Believe me, these people who hate the federal government—”Oh, we want less regulation. We don’t want control. We want to be left alone, free enterprise”—as soon as they start to go under, whether it’s Ken Lay or the airlines or whatever, they go running to the federal government for their welfare.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: We are officially calling time here in New York.

Gentlemen, thank you both very much. We’ll do this again. I see an hour on Enron in our future.

Michael, we’ll have you back when “Stupid White Men” comes out, because, after all, we all can name many.

Thank you both, gentlemen.

Financial troubles at Kmart are worsening tonight. Shares of the company sank almost 35 percent to $1.60 a share. It was dropped from the S&P 500 index. Kmart officials announced a week ago that the company would, at best, break even in 2001. But this looks bad. Industry analysts are now speculating Kmart, the jewel of the one-time Kresge family, could file Chapter 11 and would be the biggest retail bankruptcy in history.

That, combined with other disappointing corporate profits and earnings forecasts on Wall Street, helped push down markets, both of them, considerably today. The Dow was off by more than 211 points to close at 9712. Nasdaq lost 56 to finish at 1944.

We’ll be back with more right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: We are back with a look at the morning newspapers.

Let’s begin with overseas, really, with “The International Herald Tribune,” but an issue of great interest, of course, to travelers all over the world, especially those in a certain set that can pay a lot to fly much faster across the Atlantic. The official report from the French government is out now on the Air France Concord crash. That was July of 2000, you’ll recall.

It confirms what a lot of people have long suspected. Debris on the runway—and they’re saying from a Continental Airlines jet that took off prior—caused this crash. The report criticizes maintenance procedures of both Air France and Continental. Continental, by the way—and as you might expect—is saying good luck proving that that piece of metal in question came from specifically a Continental aircraft. But it’s believed it was somehow ingested. And you’ll also recall the Concords have been all retrofitted with different tires, bladders, engine parts to prevent that particular mishap from happening again.

“Washington Post”: Health reports indicate that, for the Hart Senate Office Building, the second time was the charm, meaning the injection of a kind of poisonous gas. They tried once. They tried twice. The Hart Senate Office Building, which is home to about roughly half of the U.S. Senate, is now being declared ready for occupancy after two tries at detox after the anthrax scare. That was where the first major scare was on Capitol Hill.

“L.A. Times” reporting three former member of the SLA, the Symbionese Liberation Army, best known for their abduction and the alleged mind-washing of Patricia Hearst, the young heiress, three members of the SLA have been arrested in connection with a fatal bank heist that was 27 years ago. In 1975 in April, a man died during the commission of that bank robbery.

And “USA Today” is reporting the Charlotte Hornets basketball team could be moving to New Orleans. The Hornets have been trying to get a better deal out of the city of Charlotte and get a new arena out of it. It looks like they may take their act on the road. It will all be announced, apparently, on a radio show tomorrow.

We’re going to take a break and come back with a mind-bending mistake out of the state of Florida. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: The good folks in Lauderhill, Florida came very close to making a grievous error. On Saturday, they are all set to honor Shakespearian-trained actor James Earl Jones. The problem: The plaque they commissioned to present to the actor is made out instead to the man who shot and killed Dr. Martin Luther King, James Earl Ray. Further, the plaque really lays it on, thanking the assassin for—quote—”keeping the dream alive.”

The Texas company that made the plaque is promising a new one by Saturday’s festivities. That would be good. In one of the best understatements of this still young year, 2002, they have called it a copy error. Let’s go ahead and join them in honoring James Earl Jones this coming Saturday.

That’s it for us tonight. Coming up next on MSNBC: the broadcast “A REGION IN CONFLICT WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD”—substituting tonight, Forrest Sawyer, live from the Philippines.

That is our broadcast for this Wednesday evening. I’m Brian Williams, NBC News. Thank you for being with us. We’ll look for you right back here tomorrow evening. Good night, everyone.

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Law school student goes on a fatal shooting spree, killing three and wounding three


NBC Nightly News (6:30 PM ET) - NBC

TOM BROKAW, anchor:

Tonight, authorities in rural Virginia say a man who went on a fatal shooting spree at a law school was a student who was not making the grade. The school is in Grundy, Virginia, 120 miles west of Roanoke. It was new and working to make a name for itself, but not like this. Here’s NBC’s Kevin Tibbles.

KEVIN TIBBLES reporting:

Shots rang out at 1 this afternoon on the campus of the tiny Appalachian School of Law. By the time the shooter was overpowered, three people were dead, three others wounded. Police say the 43-year-old suspect is a student from Nigeria who failed last year and who was suspended from school this morning.

Unidentified Man: He was kind of a loner, and it was hard to approach him. He was very closed off.

TIBBLES: The shots fired execution style, according to police, from a semi-automatic handgun. The dead include the dean of the law school, L. Anthony Sutin, a former member of the Clinton administration’s Justice Department. The father of two young children, former law partners say he had a huge heart. One faculty member and a student were also shot dead. The three injured students rushed to nearby hospitals.

State police in Virginia are crediting law students at Appalachian for preventing further loss of life, saying they overpowered the gunman and held him until police could arrive.

Professor PAUL LUND (Associate Dean): The ASL community is profoundly shocked and saddened by this tragedy. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the victims.

TIBBLES: The Appalachian School of Law opened in 1997 to encourage young people in this traditional coal mining region to study and practice law. It is housed on the campus of a former junior high school and boasts just 170 students and 15 faculty. A trauma unit has now been set up on the tiny campus to counsel those who have lost friends. A memorial service will be held at the school tomorrow. Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.

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Widening the War;

Anchor: Jim Lehrer
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I’m Jim Lehrer. On the NewsHour tonight: A summary of today’s news; an interview with the Philippine ambassador about his country’s U.S.-assisted war against terrorists; a look at today’s Supreme Court arguments about managed care health plans; a report on rebuilding the section of the Pentagon damaged in the 9/11 attacks; and a shape of the world conversation with Trudy Rubin of the “Philadelphia Inquirer.”

NEWS SUMMARY

JIM LEHRER: A federal grand jury returned a new indictment today against the alleged shoe bomber. Richard Reid was charged with attempted murder and seven other crimes. The British citizen allegedly tried to light explosives in his sneakers on a flight from Paris to Miami last month. Fellow passengers subdued him and the plane landed in Boston. Today, Attorney General Ashcroft said it was clear Reid had received training from al-Qaida.

JOHN ASHCROFT: Reid’s indictment alerts us to a clear, unmistakable threat that al-Qaida could attack the United States again. The lessons for Americans are undeniable. We must be prepared, we must be alert, we must be vigilant. Al-Qaida trained terrorists may act on their own, or as part of the terrorist network but we must assume that they will act.

JIM LEHRER: Reid could get life in prison if he’s convicted. He remains jailed outside Boston. An Algerian man was sentenced today to 24 years in prison in a failed bomb plot. It involved a plan to explode a suitcase bomb at Los Angeles international airport around January 1, 2000. The man sentenced in New York supplied cash and fake ID’s to the plotters. Police foiled the scheme when they arrested another Algerian in Washington State in December, 1999. He trained at Osama bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan. The U.S. Military has increased its presence in the Philippines to fight terrorism. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said today more than 200 U.S. troops are already there. He said several hundred more would follow. They’ll train and support Philippine soldiers battling Muslim guerrillas. The rebels currently hold two Americans and a Filipino hostage. We’ll have more on this story in a few minutes. In Afghanistan today, U.S. Intelligence officers questioned a man who walked into the Marine base at Kandahar yesterday. He claimed to have information on the finances of the Taliban and al-Qaida. In Washington, Secretary Rumsfeld said finding Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, remains a challenge.

DONALD RUMSFELD: Lots of information is coming in, how could I say, answer to that any specific information. It’s all specific, most of it’s wrong! But it’s all specific. It is… What we’re trying to know is where somebody is and we don’t know precisely where he is. We have a good sense in the country… We still believe they’re in the country; we’re still working on that basis, although we are looking some other places as well from time to time.

JIM LEHRER: In other developments, a third planeload of Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners arrived at the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A fourth plane left Afghanistan. The general overseeing the operation in Guantanamo said some of the prisoners have vowed to kill an American there if they can. And in Pakistan, searchers found the remains of the last of seven U.S. Marines. They were killed in a plane crash last week. A gunman killed three people today at the Appalachian School of Law in the southwestern Virginia town of Grundy. The dead included the dean of the school, a professor and a student. Three students were critically wounded; the suspect was captured. A doctor at the scene said he was a student upset about his grades. The former lead auditor of Enron’s books met with House investigators today in Washington. His lawyers said David Duncan was cooperating with the congressional inquiry. The Arthur Andersen accounting firm fired him yesterday. It said he organized the destruction of records last October. That was after the Securities and Exchange Commission asked Enron for accounting information. There was more financial fallout from Enron’s collapse today. The banking firm J.P. Morgan Chase said it lost more than $300 million in the fourth quarter of last year. It blamed bad loans to Enron and Argentina. On Wall Street today, the J.P. Morgan losses and a technology sell-off pushed stocks lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 211 points, or 2%, to close at 9,712. The NASDAQ Index dropped 56 points to close at 1944, a loss of 2.8%. In other economic news, the Labor Department reported consumer prices fell last month by 0.2%. For the year, they rose just 1.6%, due mostly to the largest drop in energy costs since 1986. And the Federal Reserve said industrial production fell 3.9% last year. It was the first yearly decline since 1991. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if states can force outside reviews of HMO decisions. Today, it heard the case of an Illinois woman with a rare nerve condition. After an independent review, her insurance company had to reimburse her for corrective surgery. 40 states allow such reviews, and, in most cases, the conclusions are binding. The HMOS want a single, national standard. The airlines will meet a deadline Friday for screening all checked bags for explosives. Transportation Secretary Mineta confirmed that today. Initially, he had voiced doubt the industry could be ready as early as Congress wanted. But in a Washington speech today, he said airlines and airports would be ready.

NORMAN MINETA, Secretary of Transportation: In working with the airlines, we have taken the necessary action to meet this requirement. Every available explosive detection system, EDS machine, will be used to its maximum capacity. Where we do not yet have EDS resources in place, we’ll use other options outlined in the law.

JIM LEHRER: And those other options include matching bags to passengers, using bomb- sniffing dogs and increasing hand-searches by security officers. Three former members of the Symbionese Liberation Army were arrested today in California and Oregon, they face murder charges in a bank robbery in California in 1975. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst took part. The radical group had kidnapped her a year earlier. She served two years in prison for a later bank job before President Carter commuted her sentence.

FOCUS - WIDENING THE WAR

JIM LEHRER: Now some details on the Philippines story - the opening of another front in the war on terrorism. We start with some background from Spencer Michels.

SPENCER MICHELS: Since last fall, a small number of American military advisors or “consultants” has joined the Philippine Army in its fight against Muslim Separatists linked to al-Qaida. Until now, the details of their mission have been kept secret.

REPORTER: How do you find the Philippines army so far?

SOLDIER: No comment.

REPORTER: What can you say?

SOLDIER: I can’t comment.

SPENCER MICHELS: Today Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the American mission to the Philippines—a former U.S. colony– will expand soon. Within a month, the U.S. contingent will number around 600, including 150 Navy Seals, Army Green Berets, Marines and Special Forces.

At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld used the words “training exercises” to describe the mission.

SEC. DONALD RUMSFELD: I believe, the last time I looked, something like 240 or 250 Americans, military personnel, in the country. They are located in several locations in the country. More are going in. They are there for training purposes, they are there for logistics purposes, they are there for an exercise with the Philippine government. As you know, we have a very long military-to-military relationship between the United States and the Philippines. And I expect that there will be several hundred more people going in.

SPENCER MICHELS: The American forces will help train more than a thousand Filipino soldiers in their fight against Muslim extremists.

The targeted group is Abu Sayyef—one of several armed Islamic groups in the largely Catholic country.

Based in the southern islands of Basilan and Jolo, Abu Sayyef has kidnapped foreigners for ransom, often killing them in grisly fashion.

Last year’s victims included American Guillermo Sobero. Two other American missionaries from Kansas, Martin and Gracia Burnham, have been held since last May.

Investigators believe Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida helped fund Abu Sayyef in the early 1990s, and said bin Laden’s brother-in-law met directly with the group.

There’s also a Philippine connection to Ramzi Yousef, the man linked to al-Qaida and convicted of plotting and participating in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Yousef once lived in this Manila apartment. In a 1995 raid, Philippine authorities found evidence of al-Qaida plans to crash a jet into the CIA headquarters, blow up several American airliners, and assassinate the Pope.

At the Pentagon, Secretary Rumsfeld was asked if Abu Sayyef was involved in September 11th.

SEC. DONALD RUMSFELD: There is no question that there have been linkages between al-Qaida and activities that have taken place in the Philippines. And second, the United States is clearly interested in al-Qaida. We are interested in a lot more than al-Qaida.

REPORTER: If I could follow—all the documents, the cell phones, the laptops, the evidence that you’ve gathered—does any of that directly point to the involvement of Abu Sayyaf in the September 11th attacks? Does any of that support that at all?

SEC. DONALD RUMSFELD: I’m not in a position to respond. I don’t—and I don’t know that I would want to if I happened to have gone through and reviewed all of that material.

SPENCER MICHELS: Concern about terrorism in the Philippines is part of the administration’s worry about Islamic militancy throughout the region.

Last month Malaysian officials arrested 13 radical Muslims. They say the men contacted Zacharias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker, in September or October. Singapore has arrested 13 men as well, saying eight trained in al-Qaida camps. The Singapore government also released this alleged al-Qaida videotape. It shows a train station believed to be one of the group’s targets. Western embassies and American companies in Singapore were also on the list.

And in Indonesia, the government believes al-Qaida funded a terrorist training camp used by local Muslim militants.

To help fund the new Philippine mission, President Bush in November committed $100 million in military aid to the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. But Arroyo told the NewsHour last November she did not ask for ground troops. Foreign combatants are both unpopular and banned in the Philippines.

JIM LEHRER: You do not want the United States to send armed troops in there to help your army get rid of these people?

PRESIDENT GLORIA ARROYO, Philippines: (November 19, 2001) Well, I think our… I think that our armed forces are quite good in what they’re doing. So what we really need would be really a technical assistance and equipment, materials, joint planning.

SPENCER MICHELS: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said the Philippine training exercises are scheduled to last six months.

JIM LEHRER: And with us now is the Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Albert del Rosario.

Mr. Ambassador, welcome.

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Thank you. Thank you, Jim.

JIM LEHRER: Have things changed since I had that interview with your president in terms of the situation on the ground in the Philippines and the need for U.S. assistance, military assistance?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, basically, Jim, what’s happened is that the - Abu Sayyef, which has been operating in about one or two of the seven thousand islands has—have been very elusive. And although the numbers of the group have been reduced from an estimated 1,200 to what is now purportedly at less than 100, we’re talking about the core group now. The terrain and the dense forest have made the capture and the eradication of this group very difficult. And to cover this last mile, the Philippines has invited the United States to provide help in terms of technical assistance, in terms of advice, and in terms of training.

JIM LEHRER: Now many Americans are viewing this as a new step in the U.S. war against terrorism. How do the Philippines see what’s going on with the introduction of more U.S. troops?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, I think we are grateful for the assistance from the United States. But I think the public should not view the Philippines as being in the category of some of the other countries being mentioned. We are not harboring terrorism; we are fighting terrorism, Jim.

JIM LEHRER: And the U.S. troops, there’s a lot of terms that can be misused or misunderstood in this case, they are there to train and Secretary Rumsfeld as we just heard, to provide logistics, but they’re also combat soldiers, are they not? They’re going to be armed and if something happens they can shoot back, is that correct?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, the presence of U.S. troops in the Philippines is not for combat purposes. They are supposed to observe and assist, and in the process of doing that yes they are armed and they may defend themselves if so attacked.

JIM LEHRER: This is a sensitive issue in the Philippines, is it’s not, having foreign troops, particularly from the United States on the ground?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: I think, Jim, that there is clearly a legal framework in terms of the mutual defense treaty and the visiting forces agreement, that appropriately covers this activity.

JIM LEHRER: But in terms of the politics of the Philippines, I read some things today that some people say this is a violation of Philippines sovereignty, violation of the constitution; the U.S. soldiers should not come. I mean how do you read that sort of thing?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, I think it’s a matter of education. The U.S. troops are there for essentially three missions. One is to provide assistance, training and advice

In terms of pursuing the Abu Sayyaf. The second is to be able to train this one or two light reaction companies in addition to that which has already been trained earlier. And of course the third is to be able to conduct the joint military exercises under the visiting forces agreement that is actually a yearly occurrence.

JIM LEHRER: Now, Abu Sayyaf, you say there are only about 100 of them left still at large. Tell us about them. Who are these people, where do they come from, what do they believe in?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, the Abu Sayyaf are a, this is a splinter group of a much larger group which advocates the establishment of an independent Muslim state. The main group now is under a peace process, and this splinter group actually was formed by a former trainee of bin Laden from Afghanistan. And when he came back from Afghanistan in 1990, he started this group, and they started by their wave of terrorism by bombing churches and Christian groups. And then they went on to accelerate these terrorist activities in terms of engaging in kidnap for ransom activities. Subsequently, after this was founded by this person, Janjalani was his name, –

JIM LEHRER: Janjalani.

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Yes—there was also a fellow called Kalifa, who happened to be the brother-in-law of bin Laden who came to the Philippines to start several foundations, purportedly for funding terrorism activity in the Philippines. Now, he was shut down in—his organizations were shut down by the government in 1995—1995 I think it was. And after that, later on a few years later Janjalani was killed in a firefight. So there is documented evidence, Jim, that there is a historical link dating back to 1990 that this group is affiliated with the al-Qaida group. But after 1995, it becomes rather hazy and circumstantial in terms of that link. Although in—sometime last year—late last year there was a bombing in Suwbwanga, and the perpetrator who was caught, a fellow called Marvin Gjonson, I believe, he was related to the Abu Sayyaf, and there were documentation found in his person that seem to link him to the al-Qaida groups. So there you are.

JIM LEHRER: Okay. Why is it so hard to find these 100 people? What is it that the U.S. Military, what kind of expertise can they bring to this manhunt that has now been going on for several years now already in the Philippines?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, I think, as I mentioned earlier, Jim, the terrain is very difficult.

JIM LEHRER: Describe the terrain. What kind of terrain?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: I’ve not been there, but I’m told, and there’s documentary evidence from the U.S. Military itself that the terrain is difficult because you have mountains and you have dense jungle, and you have very heavy fog in that area. So I think looking for a band of less than 100 would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Now, in terms of intelligence, I think the Philippine forces have human intelligence, but it’s not real time, for example.

JIM LEHRER: You find out something two weeks too late you mean?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: That’s right. Before that human intelligence gets its information back, and before the Philippine troops can mobilize and get transported to that area where the Abu Sayyaf may have been viewed, it’s too late, they are not there any more. So what we’re looking for from the United States is equipment, real-time intelligence.

JIM LEHRER: Technology as well?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Yes, yes. And the objective, I think I might add, of this joint training is, it gives the U.S. Military exposure in terms of working in terrain like that, and the exchanges that the Philippine forces are able to train in terms of using modern equipment.

JIM LEHRER: Is there any word at all, new word at all on the Burnhams, the two captured American missionaries who are being held for ransom?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: There are supposed to be sightings of the Burnhams, and they seem to be, they are physically weak, but they’re still moving around, they’re being moved around, and they are alive. And it is our prayer that the military and the cooperation between the Philippines and the United States will be able to safely rescue them, Jim.

JIM LEHRER: Mr. Ambassador, much is being made, as you saw in the newspapers this morning, about this new arrangement, in other words the decision to send more U.S. troops there. In the first place, is too much being made about this? Do you see, in the Philippines the introduction of the U.S. troops, as many as 600, is this a big a deal there as it appears to be here for us because it relates directly to Afghanistan or appears to?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: I think the numbers would require some explanation. We do have a joint military exercise that is taking place at the same time as the pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf. Out of the 600 that you mentioned, only 100 or so are Special Forces. The other 500 are support and maintenance personnel, because they will also have aircraft and they will also have some other equipment there that need to be upgraded and maintained.

JIM LEHRER: As a practical matter, would this military arrangement have even happened if there hadn’t been September 11? I mean, would the Philippines have felt compelled in the atmosphere that existed before to ask the U.S. for this kind of help?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: I think that in the context of what happened on September 11, Jim, the terrorism per se is abominable, it is a scourge, and I think that the international coalition in pursuing the eradication of terrorism throughout the world is, was the September 11 was the catalyst for this.

JIM LEHRER: And an impetus that led to this?

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Yes, that’s correct.

JIM LEHRER: Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much.

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Thank you, Jim, I enjoyed being with you.

FOCUS - MANAGING CARE

JIM LEHRER: Still to come on the NewsHour tonight: Managed care before the U.S. Supreme Court, rebuilding the Pentagon, and Trudy Rubin of the “Philadelphia Inquirer.” Margaret Warner has the court story.

MARGARET WARNER: At issue before the Supreme Court today was whether a state, in this case Illinois, can force managed health care plans to abide by an independent review when there is a dispute with a patient. We get more on the case and today’s proceedings from the NewsHour’s regular court- watcher, Jan Crawford Greenburg of the “Chicago Tribune,” and Susan Dentzer of our health unit, a partnership with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All right, Jan, tell us about this case. Tell us about this Ms. Moran.

JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Debra Moran was diagnosed in 1996 with a rare and very painful nerve condition in her right shoulder. At first she had trouble blow-drying her hair, but it progressed to the point where she couldn’t even pick up a fork without her husband helping her. She went to doctor after doctor, through her HMO plan, she saw orthopedists, rehab doctors, physical therapists, but nothing, she said, alleviated or helped the pain. It always would come back. So she heard about this specialist in Virginia, and the specialist was doing a more aggressive newer kind of surgery. And she explored that option. The specialist thought that Ms. Moran would be an ideal candidate for this kind of surgery. But the specialist was not in her HMO’s network. So Ms. Moran went back to her primary care physician who agreed that this surgery was medically necessary, recommended that she go ahead and have it. Her HMO, Rush Prudential, refused to pay for the cost and said no, you need to see our network surgeons, we’ll pay for that, it’s a less complicated and less expensive surgery, but we think that’s good enough and that’s medically necessary but the Rush affiliated surgeons were proposing a treatment that they said only carried with it about a one-third chance of success and also a one-third chance that something could go wrong, including possibly paralysis. Debra Moran obviously didn’t like those odds. So she decided to go ahead and pay for the surgery herself. She said she - you know—maxed out her credit cards, borrowed money from other sources and paid $95,000. Then she asked again –.

MARGARET WARNER: And was successful?

JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Right. So she asked Rush again to pay for this, Rush declined. She went to state court to get a judge to order Rush to go through, which had been declining to do too, to go through this independent review process so that an outside physician could look at her case to see if she was right. And the state court ordered Rush to do that. The process began, the outside independent reviewing physician from Johns Hopkins Medical center agreed with Moran, and the specialist that the surgery was necessary. So Rush, the reviewer says you played for the claim. Then Rush changed its approach.

MARGARET WARNER: So this, I gather, went through, she’s now suing to get her money back, and the first court ruled –

JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Right. Rush then changed its approach a bit and raised a different argument in federal court. Then it said, look, this state law is invalid, this independent reviewing process, that’s just invalid, we don’t have to pay for this procedure because a federal law, federal employee benefits law, supersedes or takes precedence over this state law. So we don’t have to go through this process at all. The federal district court agreed with Rush. But a federal court of appeals in Chicago disagreed and it sided with Ms. Moran and it said that the state law didn’t conflict, the state law was valid, Rush took that appeal, took that case to the Supreme Court and that’s how we got here today.

MARGARET WARNER: All right. Susan, tell us about this federal law, because we hear a lot about this, ERISA a very difficult acronym. What is this law?

SUSAN DENTZER: It’s the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. It was passed in 1974. And it was designed really because Congress wanted to encourage the provision primarily of pensions and other employee benefit plans. And it was worried that the states were nickeling and diming employers, who often operated in multiple states, with lots of independent state statutes that conflicted in many instances. So Congress said we need one overriding federal statute on employee benefits, therefore passed ERISA in 1974. Over time it’s come to also apply to other employee benefits other than pensions and retirement plans, like health insurance. The critical issue, as Jan says, in this case is do the provisions of ERISA, which apply to employee benefits, override state statutes that pertain to insurance and the regulation of health care? Traditionally the regulation of insurance and health care has been left to the states. However, ERISA itself also carves out some exceptions. So now the parties are arguing over whether ERISA should apply in this case or whether the state law governing insurance, which HMO products are, in most states, or whether it is regulation of health care, and therefore that that is also under the purview of the State of Illinois in this case.

MARGARET WARNER: And some 40 states have passed some kind of patient protection that provides for some kind of independent preview process?

SUSAN DENTZER: Exactly, 41 states now and the District of Columbia have provisions that allow for this independent review—as does Medicare, the federal benefits program for the elderly.

MARGARET WARNER: All right. So Jan, tell us about court today. I gather the lawyer for the HMO went first - what did he argue –

JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Right. John Roberts represented the HMO and he said the state law is invalid because it conflicted with ERISA. I mean—obviously just the sound of it, I mean these cases - as Roberts said today—can be extremely complicated, but this case, he see, was a straight forward one. States cannot require HMO’s to abide by whatever decision an independent reviewer may make because that’s a different remedy for someone who may have a complaint about a denial of benefits. If you’ve got a complaint about your benefits being denied, you’ve got to look at ERISA. The federal law, that’s the only remedy, that is a different remedy, Roberts said, so therefore is out the door, it’s out the window, we’ve got to rely on ERISA.

MARGARET WARNER: Did any of the Justices give him a hard time?

JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Well, several of the Justices seemed inclined to do so - Justice Souter, Justice O’Connor even and Justice Stevens, but they didn’t really give him much resistance. They suggested, Justice O’Connor for example at one point said, well, what about insurance, I mean as Susan said? Is this really a law about HMO or employee benefits, or is it about insurance? And of course that’s the point that the lawyer for Debra Moran tried to make when he stood up next.

MARGARET WARNER: So what happened?

JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Well, his main argument is that this isn’t about employee benefits, we know that that’s the purview of ERISA. This is about insurance, this is a law regulating insurance, ERISA says, that’s one of these exceptions, ERISA says insurance, that’s the state’s business. There’s another Supreme Court case that suggests there may be exceptions to that. But his bottom line was that this is about insurance, and he said all Debra Moran ever saw in this case is the benefits she was entitled to, which - you know - he said saved her right arm—trying to make this to a very straight forward case like Roberts had done before. But at that point Justice Scalia - Antonin Scalia—jumped right in and really framed the issues and in this case and said, look, the question is who gets to decide if she is entitled to those benefits, or who gets to decide what are the benefits that she gets. So you know Moran says the states can decide. The states can set up these independent reviewing boards, Rush Prudential says no, we’ve got this federal law and that’s what’s supposed to govern here. So that’s really what it boiled down to. I think Justice Scalia offered some resistance to Ms. Moran’s lawyer, as did Justice Kennedy and even the chief justice to some degree, they seemed to suggest they were not willing to embrace this Illinois law, or by extension maybe some of the other 39, 40 laws.

MARGARET WARNER: And there is a lot at stake here, Susan.

SUSAN DENTZER: Absolutely. In fact, for all of these states that have passed these provisions, they view that as a very important protection against decisions being made that are not based on medical necessity, not really based on the medical evidence. Consumer advocates think that if the Court rules in favor of the plans on this, in effect it would void all of those, it could have the possibility depending on how expansive the ruling is that could void all of those state statutes and that’s very problematic. And even the health plan industry is conflicted on this, because it has embraced external review as a very important element that nudges people to looking truly at the issues of medical necessity, is a procedure really medically necessary -

MARGARET WARNER: Rather than going to court.

SUSAN DENTZER:—rather than going to court—but also understanding the true medical evidence that something works or doesn’t work. So there’s a lot at stake on all sides.

MARGARET WARNER: So if the Court rules in favor of Rush, then the only way to get in these independent reviews would be for Congress to have to do something?

SUSAN DENTZER: In effect probably, depending again on what the Court actually says. But in fact, that is a big issue at stake in the fight to pass a patients bill of rights. All of the provisions that have passed on the Hill have an external review provision in them with various differences. The health plans as an industry want a national external review provision, they want that very much, again as a protection against excessive litigation and also nudging towards the scientific practice of medicine. So whatever the Court says, in fact there could be at the end of this a legislative remedy that restores an external review process for all Americans, but at a federal level, and in fact getting at the very issue that ERISA was designed to attack, to have one overall national standard on that issue.

MARGARET WARNER: All right. Well, thank you Susan and Jan.

FOCUS - REBUILDING

JIM LEHRER: Now, rebuilding the Pentagon building after the 9/11 terrorism attack. Ray Suarez has that story. (Sirens)

RAY SUAREZ: When a hijacked jetliner sliced into the Pentagon on September 11, Lee Evey was sitting in his office supervising the completion of the first phase of a 20-year, $1.2 billion renovation of the Pentagon.

LEE EVEY, Pentagon Renovation Program Manager: We were about five days from completing that process—a process that had taken us about three years. We were moving people in, following right behind the completion of the construction, and we were about half finished.

RAY SUAREZ: When Evey got to the crash site, he found the plane had crashed diagonally through a part of both the new renovation and the old building. Fire fed by 10,000 gallons of jet fuel was just beginning to spread. Eventually it would damage two million square feet, almost a third of the building.

LEE EVEY: It just seemed like a box of puzzle parts that had been dumped on a table. There seemed to be no rhyme, nor reason, to it at all. The people we had in the building are accustomed to constructing buildings, are accustomed to building them, not disassembling them and taking them apart. We went out and we hired very, very quickly, overnight, some people who are experts in blast recovery. They had worked Mexico City, they had worked Oklahoma City, they had worked the earlier blast at the Twin Towers in New York, and got them on site as quickly as possible.

RAY SUAREZ: Chief among those hires was Alan Kilsheimer, a structural engineer with years of experience in blast recovery. He arrived on site the afternoon of the 11th and has been on the rebuilding job 18 hours a day since.

ALAN KILSHEIMER, Structural Engineer: They asked me to “a.,” design it, “b.,” be responsible to make sure it’s built the way we want it built. I told them we had three rules. One is there are no rules except for my rules, and that they had to keep all the people with paper and all the bureaucrats out of my face. And they did that. They’ve been… I’ve never seen anything like it. I couldn’t get away with this in downtown Washington on a private job. I have no rules.

RAY SUAREZ: Kilsheimer says his working motto is simple: “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” The reconstruction has brought together an odd couple, the blunt and irreverent Kilsheimer, and the clean-cut and buttoned down project manager for the Pentagon, Will Colston. The two have been working closely since September 11. Both say it’s a partnership that works.

RAY SUAREZ: He may have only been half joking, that he demanded up front that people not be waving pieces of paper in his face, and that instead they wave them in your face. (Laughs) That’s the stuff that comes cascading down on the…

WILL COLSTON, Project Manager: That’s funny. He’s throwing a ton of drawings on top of me, which is on paper, itself. But no, it’s absolutely right. I mean, one of the key things that I do as the project manager for the government is to try to put the contracting methods, to put the funding, to be able to put any of the resources needed in place to support Alan as well as the contractor, and the other people working on this job to get it done.

RAY SUAREZ: While the fires were still burning, the reconstruction team decided to rebuild the damaged building as quickly as possible. Their goal is to have office workers in at least the outermost section, the building’s public face, where the jet hit the building, by September 11 of this New Year.

ALAN KILSHEIMER: Construction people are… They were really upset by this, what happened. It was an attack on them and what they stand for, and they’re going to show these people that they can do whatever they want to us, but we’re going to recover, and we’re going to recover faster than anybody ever imagined.

RAY SUAREZ: The original Pentagon structure is actually five different structures, or wedges; each one a separate entity connected by expansion joints. Five concentric rings of offices connect the wedges. The plane plowed through three rings just to the right of an expansion joint, almost like the first cut in a wedding cake.

ALAN KILSHEIMER: If you looked at the photographs early on, you saw a vertical clean line. That was the expansion joint. So everything to the left didn’t collapse and everything to the right collapsed within an hour or two.

RAY SUAREZ: On that left side was wedge 2, part of the unrenovated original Pentagon with no sprinkler system and tons of asbestos. On the right side was the newly renovated wedge 1 with a brand new advanced sprinkler system.

LEE EVEY: That fire went nowhere in wedge 1. Now I did get a heck of a lot of water damage in wedge 1, as a result of that, but the fire went nowhere. Wedge 2, the fire just took off. The heat of the fire was so intense that it damaged the concrete, and it damaged it further than we had initially thought that it had. In some areas, the fire was intense enough that the windows had actually melted.

RAY SUAREZ: After the rescue and crime scene personnel left the site in mid-October, demolition crews flattened a 100-yard-wide section of the building. Working around the clock, crews removed 47,000 tons of debris, more than 5,000 dump truck loads. Instead of the usual six months, the demolition phase took just a month and a day. Then they immediately began pouring concrete, and they haven’t stopped since. Ground was broken for the Pentagon on September 11, 1941, as the United States was about to enter World War II. The building, all 29 acres of it, went up in just 16 months. It was built so fast, the architectural drawings were completed after the fact, creating any number of design headaches. Since the attack, Evey and Kilsheimer have continually explored the site and say they were continually surprised by what they found.

LEE EVEY: Pick a building code– the Pentagon doesn’t comply with it. Okay, we do not comply with a single building code.

ALAN KILSHEIMER: It was done differently in ‘41 than the very sketchy drawings we had showed, or it had been worked on over the years so that we, even today, are still finding things differently than we thought, and we have to keep adjusting what we’re doing to accommodate what we uncover.

RAY SUAREZ: For example:

ALAN KILSHEIMER: There are tunnels and things all in and around here that were done over the years, and we’re trying to work around all those things.

RAY SUAREZ: Now I’m going to guess that there was a lot of conduit, cable, communications lines that because this was a 1941 building, had to be run in sub-optimal places.

ALAN KILSHEIMER: Yes.

RAY SUAREZ: But now that you’re building from scratch, you have a chance to do it right?

ALAN KILSHEIMER: Yes.

RAY SUAREZ: And you had those wires…

ALAN KILSHEIMER: Yes, it will be done a lot better than it was done before.

RAY SUAREZ: The rebuilt part will also be tougher and more resistant to blast damage. In wedge 1, the newly renovated section of the Pentagon, interlocking steel-beam supports and blast resistant windows, interspersed with a Kevlar, or bulletproof-type cloth, had just been installed. Evey says they were well worth the cost.

LEE EVEY: They cost us about $10,000 a piece when you put all the stuff together: The steel, the Kevlar, the windows, etc.. When the time came for these windows to account for themselves, in less than a second, they, you know, worked extraordinarily well and we strongly believe helped reduce the loss of life and injury in the building.

RAY SUAREZ: Those target-hardened window systems are built in a way that’s totally unlike any normal replacement window at home.

ALAN KILSHEIMER: So these are actually built into the forms that we pour the concrete in. So when we take the forms off the wall, these frames will be in the wall, imbedded in the concrete, and then the windows, the blast windows, will attach to this.

RAY SUAREZ: So these are purpose- built, designed for this job.

ALAN KILSHEIMER: Yes. Absolutely.

RAY SUAREZ: Is that common?

ALAN KILSHEIMER: No.

RAY SUAREZ: No, I didn’t think so.

ALAN KILSHEIMER: There’s nothing common to this job.

RAY SUAREZ: There’s also nothing common about how the workers rebuilding the Pentagon feel about the job they’re doing. There’s pride in the punishing schedule, and the rapid progress.

JEFF WINCHESTER: It’s moving kind of fast. Yeah, normally other projects are a little laid back, but right now, because it’s the Pentagon, the boss is asking everybody to pitch in. All those that are not going to pitch in, we’re letting them go.

TONY ARAUJO: I feel a little privileged to be out here. One day when I’m older, I’m going to be able to tell my kids, “I was there,” you know. “I did the reconstruction of the Pentagon after the plane went through it.”

KEVIN REED: It’s important to everybody out here. I mean, everybody… We come in early and work late, and we’re trying to get this thing put back together as fast as possible, and everybody’s willing to do it. It’s like bin Laden can’t come over here and hurt this country, because we can put it back together.

RAY SUAREZ: Pentagon historians can’t tell their story without September 11, the groundbreaking in 1941; the attack in 2001; and, if this construction crew has its way, a return to work in a completed new ring on September 11, 2002.

SERIES - THE SHAPE OF THE WORLD

JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, another New Year conversation about the United States in the world with American commentators on international affairs. Gwen Ifill has tonight’s.

GWEN IFILL: And joining me is Trudy Rubin, a foreign affairs columnist for the “Philadelphia Inquirer.” Welcome, Trudy. It’s nice to see you in person for a change.

TRUDY RUBIN, Philadelphia Inquirer: It’s very nice to be here.

GWEN IFILL: You have written in your columns that what separates pre-September 11 from post- September 11 is a new global or an old global reality that we just weren’t paying attention to before. Elaborate on that.

TRUDY RUBIN: 9-11 was really a wake-up call. We were living in a very happy 1990s la-la land, where I think we didn’t understand that being a superpower has costs as well as benefits. Everybody was familiar with the benefits you gain from trade– we were doing very well economically, no one could really challenge us abroad. But I think what most Americans didn’t realize was that being a sole superpower breeds resentments and it breeds more resentments if you handle it casually or arrogantly. And I think they also didn’t understand that in the kind of world we live in now where information and mobility are so easy to come by and where everyone can move without being tracked, that it was very easy for stateless groups or individuals to harm America and that a highly industrialized society is very vulnerable to low-tech threats.

GWEN IFILL: But clich s aside, you write that September 11 did not change everything.

TRUDY RUBIN: No. It didn’t change things as much as we think because I think a lot of the same issues that we were discussing without the same intensity before 9/11 still exist: For example, the whole question of multilateralism versus unilateralism. Certainly we went into Afghanistan virtually alone. We had an alliance and the Brits helped us militarily, but basically it was our show, yet there were still questions about multilateralism that resonate more strongly after 9/11. For example, if you have failed states like Afghanistan, who is supposed to pick up the pieces, and who is supposed to do the peacekeeping? If you have a situation in Afghanistan where the country could break down again, if the United States isn’t involved in strengthening multilateral organizations that can provide the wherewithal and the people and money for that, then it’s not going to get done.

GWEN IFILL: So are you saying that the unilateralism of the United States that this administration was accused of prior to September 11 will come back in a different form?

TRUDY RUBIN: I think it never really went away. For example, the issue of how to deal with Russia—it is true that we have a new alliance, an antiterrorist alliance, but the same questions still resonate. The U.S. Has unilaterally decided to pull out of the ABM Treaty, and the relationship with Russia is still uncertain. And that needs to be worked out. And the same issues about peacekeeping, about foreign aid that were on the back burner before 9/11 haven’t really emerged to the front burner, and I think they will because they’re relevant in dealing with the kind of failed states that breed terrorism.

GWEN IFILL: You talked a moment ago about what happens next, nation-building, peacekeeping, whatever you want to call it. But you also have written that in order to, that the United States can’t get into this war without planning to win it. What is winning in a war like this? How do you define that?

TRUDY RUBIN: Winning, I think is a word that is… Now needs to be redefined after the fighting is over in Afghanistan. Winning does not mean ending terrorism because terrorism is a phenomena that was with us before 9/11 and there will always be terrorists at some level. There will always be local conflicts that will breed terrorism. And it doesn’t mean that we will be able to wipe it out everywhere in the world, because local conflicts, whether it’s Etta in Spain for Basque separatism, or the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, are going to be there. We can give advice, help cut off funds, we can share intelligence. But winning, in terms of Afghanistan, I think we have already done what I would think of as winning.

GWEN IFILL: Can the United States claim any kind of real victory if bin Laden has not been captured?

TRUDY RUBIN: Yes, and I think bin Laden probably will be captured because I think somebody will sell him out. I think that the elements that we have achieved which are extremely important, we have broken his charismatic glow. Bin Laden on al-Jazeera will not have the same impact. People see the fraudulence of his dreams of rebuilding an Islamic radical caliphate in the whole world. So we’ve struck a blow in this regard in discrediting radical Islamism. It won’t go away, but we have achieved something. Pakistan, crucial. General Musharaff made an incredibly courageous speech. He’s basically trying to do just what many Pakistanis had dreamt of and hoped, which is end the Talibanization of his society. These are real victories.

GWEN IFILL: Is it possible to replicate this kind of victory that has happened in Afghanistan—if that’s what it is—in Iraq? That’s the big debate.

TRUDY RUBIN: Right. You can’t just take the template and transfer it. There’s no northern alliance. There’s no southern alliance. The Iraqi National Congress once had a base in northern Iraq. President Clinton basically sold them out in 1996. They don’t have the fighting force on the ground. There are some Iraqi exiles in Iran. It’s not clear if they could come across to fight or if they’re still Islamists or have changed their tune. That’s one big difference. A second big difference is you have to convince Iraq’s neighbors and Iraqis themselves that we’re serious. We called on them to rise in 1991; we sold them out then, too. They rose and were smashed by Saddam. So you have a harder sell. In Afghanistan people believed we would fight to the end. In Iraq, you will have to convince people, and you will have to count on convincing them and have Iraqis rise.

GWEN IFILL: Another difficult part of this puzzle is what’s happening in the Israeli-Palestinian question. You have written that you’ve never seen it this bad. Is it because it is getting lost in the Afghanistan swirl, or is it its own intractable issue that the United States hasn’t figured out how to cope with?

TRUDY RUBIN: I don’t think it’s insoluble. At the moment, it seems intractable. Obviously, the U.S. attention was taken away from it, although with this horrible phase, even with new attention paid, it’s not so clear that you can move. One big plus: If we do go after Saddam Hussein and succeed, I think that might be the lever that could unleash a new peace process in Israel and with the Palestinians because if that threat were taken away, I think there would be a lot of changes in the Arab world. It would make it easier to deal with Israel and the Palestinians.

GWEN IFILL: But you’ve written that Yasser Arafat is a failed leader; “a tragic failed leader,” I think were your words. Is he the one we still have to deal with in order to work this through, in spite of that?

TRUDY RUBIN: At the moment, there is not an apparent alternative. After Arafat is either chaos or Hamas. If one wants to cultivate an alternative amongst Palestinians themselves, because they have to pick the new leadership, there are people on the Palestinian side who are very clear in the commitment to states no more final end to conflict. And Israel has to cultivate those people. But unfortunately leaders like Saren Asayba and Mustafa Bargudi have been arrested recently, although released after a few hours. Mustafa Bargudi, a prominent doctor heads medical relief committees, beaten up. This is not the way to deal with moderate leaders that might be the future.

GWEN IFILL: Finally, I do want to throw some of your words back at you and have you respond. You wrote at one point in October, “Perhaps these dark days will produce some positive legacy, shock some leaders into wiser behavior. It may only be a dream, but I can’t bear to wake up yet.” Have you awakened yet?

TRUDY RUBIN: I actually am hopeful to a certain extent about the Middle East after this, because I see the beginnings of debate. I am thrilled with what is happening in Pakistan. The debate in the United States, however, I don’t think has been engaged, yet because we do have to debate what kind of a superpower we want to be in the world, what we need and want to do beyond military, and how to reach out; better trade policies, more opening to third world trade, more aid. We can’t solve the world’s problems, but if we’re the sole superpower, we have to do more than provide weapons.

GWEN IFILL: Trudy Rubin, thank you very much for joining us.

TRUDY RUBIN: You’re very welcome.

JIM LEHRER: We’ll continue this series next week with Tom Friedman of the “New York Times.”

RECAP

JIM LEHRER: And again, the major developments of the day. A federal grand jury issued a new indictment against the alleged shoe bomber, Richard Reid. He was charged with attempted murder and seven other crimes. The U.S. Military said it has increased its presence in the Philippines to fight terrorism. And a gunman killed three people at the Appalachian School of Law in Southwestern Virginia. The school’s dean was among the dead. We’ll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. I’m Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.

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‘FAILING’ LAW STUDENT SHOOTS DEAD THREE COLLEGE STAFF

Hugh Dougherty
Press Association

Four students overpowered a gunman who went on a shooting spree at their US college tonight, killing three people in what a doctor described as “executions”.

The four students tackled the man while he was still armed with a .380 semi-automatic pistol and managed to hold him until police arrived at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia.

He had already shot and killed three people, including the dean of the college and one of the professors, and left three other students critically injured.

The doctor who was the first medical worker on the scene told Fox News the dean of the school, Anthony Sutin, had been “executed” with shots to the head, and another member of staff had been shot in the back as he lay on the ground.

“It appears as though some of these shots were after one professor was down and they were shot at point blank range,” said Dr Jack Briggs.

“Two shots were shot into the dean in the head. It appears he was executed.

“It looked like a war zone. There were bodies everywhere.”

The two staff members were apparently shot in front of their secretaries before the gunman went on a spree in which he shot randomly at students.

The doctor said the gunman was a “foreign exchange student” and had been on the point of being told to leave the law school which has around 170 students and was founded in 1997.

“Four students tackled him and took him down,” said the doctor.

“They got him down and kept him for his police. I do not believe he had given up his weapon.

“This student was a foreign student who had had difficulty. He flunked out of school last year.

“He was given another chance, but this was the end of the first semester. I believe that the dean was about to tell him that he would have to leave.

“He took his anger out on the people who I think he thought were responsible for him leaving the school.”

The three students were described as being “critical” by Dr Briggs, and had been transferred by helicopter to hospitals near the small town, which is in a rural area of the Appalachian Mountains.

The doctor added: “The person who did the shooting was a patient of mine. I saw him about six months ago. He was complaining of stress.”

“He was a timebomb waiting to go off. There are lots of things that will come out in the trial that I think are probably pretty pertinent to his personality.”

The college was set up in 1997 to help the run-down coal mining area’s economy and Mr Sutin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was made principal with a staff of just 15.

Dr Briggs paid tribute to the dean and said: “He was a real good guy.”

All three were female students at the college.

And CNN reported that the dead Dean had been the chief legal adviser toformer presidential candidate Al Gore’s failed bid for the White House in 2000.

He had also been an assistant US attorney-general in Washington before being appointed to the college.

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Attack shocks school alumni, student; Smyth countians knew Appalachian School of Law victims

Steven Mackey
Smyth County News & Messenger

Smyth Countians who are alumni or students at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy were still reeling Friday from this week’s attack by a gunman that left three people dead. Despite the tragedy, alumni Alan Stratton and Jeff Campbell and student Melissa Carrico said the school will thrive.

According to Grundy police, a 43-year-old Nigerian-born student, Peter Odighizuwa, shot and killed three people during a Wednesday rampage. Three people were wounded. The dead are L. Anthony “Tony” Sutin, the school’s dean; Thomas F. Blackwell, a professor; and Angela Denise Dales, a student.

Students tackled the accused gunmen to the ground and subdued him until police arrived. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty against Odighizuwa. Within a day’s time, a memorial service was held at a church near the school to honor the slain.

Smyth County resident Melissa Carrico is in her second year at the Appalachian School of Law. On Wednesday, she had left the school a short time before the shooting occurred. She learned of the tragedy after getting home. Earlier in the day, she was in the same building where the shootings took place.

She said she is “still in shock” over the incident. Classes had begun only a week earlier, Carrico said.

Carrico said she was flooded with calls of concern and support from family, friends and others in the community. The same close atmosphere is prevalent at school, where the student population is just over 300, she said. The school opened in 1997. It is the first and only law school in the coalfields region.

She said all other professors and faculty members had a friendly, open door policy. Additionally, the school includes a curriculum of conflict resolution and arbitration, “things most law schools don’t teach,” Carrico said.

Carrico attended Thursday’s memorial service. On Friday she said she was “emotionally and physically exhausted.” She was not ready to return to the school on Friday.

“The school will band together and the people will be strong,” she said. “The school will succeed.”

Marion attorney Alan Stratton (right) of Bland and Associates was in the school’s first graduating class. Heavily involved in school activities as a student and an alumnus, Stratton said he knew Sutin well. While at school, Stratton helped found the student chapter of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Sutin was the faculty advisor for the group. Stratton is also on the burgeoning alumni association with which Sutin was heavily involved.

Stratton said he had been to numerous dinners with Sutin and his wife, Margaret Lawton. Sutin and Lawton came to Grundy from Washington, D.C., where they worked in government jobs. Sutin was an assistant under then-Attorney General Janet Reno.

“He was just an incredibly good man,” Stratton said. “He was brilliant. He was an excellent teacher, and I would put him up against anyone for teaching. I never heard a negative thing about him.”

Stratton said Sutin helped bring the infant school to life, adding that Sutin will be irreplaceable.

Stratton knew of Blackwell but did not know him personally. Stratton said he worked with Dales when she was employed in student services. Sutton worked as a recruiter for the school, talking to potential students about coming to study in Grundy.

Stratton said the school was challenging. Out of a first class of 72, just 30-some students graduated. According to police reports, failing grades and an expulsion may have been the motive for Odighizuwa.

Stratton said, “It’s a real blow to the school, the town and all of Southwest Virginia.”

Saltville Councilman and attorney Jeff Campbell (left), who graduated with Stratton, said, “There is no doubt it is a big loss for the school. [Sutin] was just an outstanding administrator. I don’t know how you would ever replace him. The contacts the man had were outstanding.”

Campbell said he was still in a state of shock over the shooting. He said he is praying for the families involved in the shooting. Campbell had Sutin for two classes. He only knew Dales and Blackwell vaguely.

After Thursday’s memorial service in Grundy, Campbell said he and another alumnus walked through the building where the shootings took place. At Sutin’s office, where the door was locked, crayon drawings were hanging on the wall, the work of his young, adopted son.

“It’s just a sad situation,” Campbell said. “As far as the school goes, I think the administration has proven to be resilient during difficult times. But I think the school will bounce back and grow stronger.”

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Three dead in law school shooting


United Press International

A former student opened fire at a small law school in southwest Virginia on Tuesday, killing three people, including the school’s dean, and seriously wounding three others.

Appalachian School of Law Dean L. Anthony Sutin, Associate Professor Thomas Blackwell and a student were killed, officials said. Grundy police said three people were critically wounded and were taken to two hospitals in the region.

The alleged gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol, school officials said. He was overpowered by students who saw the shootings. He was taken into custody by a town policeman.

“The whole school just came together to help out with the situation. There were quite a few heroes,” student Justin Marlowe said.

Names of the student victims were not being released pending notification of their families, officials said.

“The ASL community is profoundly shocked and saddened by this tragedy. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the victims,” the school said in a statement.

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who served on the board of the law school until he took office this week, called the shootings “a great tragedy.”

“We deplore this senseless act of violence,” said Warner, who was scheduled to formally resign from the law school board at a meeting on Wednesday night.

A memorial service for those killed in the shootings was planned for midday Thursday at Grundy Baptist Church, which is located beside the school’s library.

Classes at the school were canceled until Tuesday, Jan. 22. The school planned to have grief counselors available on campus beginning on Thursday morning.

Dr. Jack Briggs, a Buchanan County coroner, told CNN that Sutin and Blackwell were shot separately in their offices. He said he believed they were killed execution-style because of the powder marks on their clothing.

“It looked like a war zone. There was blood all over,” said Briggs, a four-year Navy veteran. He said the alleged shooter was a former patient and was a “time bomb” who complained of stress.

A student described the alleged gunman as “kind of a loner” who was “hard to approach.”

Sutin, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brandeis University, was a former acting assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice before he became the law school’s dean.

Before joining the government, Sutin was a partner in a Washington, D.C., law firm, where he specialized in civil litigation.

Blackwell was a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and the Duke University School of Law who specialized in business organizations, intellectual property and technology law. He was an attorney in Dallas before joining the law school.

The Appalachian School of Law opened Aug. 11, 1997, in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town with two traffic lights and a population of 1,118.

Grundy, located in a mountainous area about 260 miles west of Richmond, Va., was initially a logging community and coal mining town, but was heavily damaged in a 1977 flood that damaged 228 structures.

“Grundy is a community that has faced adversity in the past,” Warner said. Content: 02001000 05007000

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Gunman shoots six at Grundy college


The Associated Press State & Local Wire

A gunman went on a shooting spree Wednesday at the Appalachian School of Law, killing three people, including the dean, before the suspect was apprehended by students, officials said.

Among the dead was L. Anthony Sutin, dean of the school established in 1997, said Ellen Qualls, spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, a former member of the school’s board. Also killed were a student and another member of the faculty, she said.

Three students were wounded and taken to Buchanan General Hospital, Qualls said. She said the shooter used a .380 semiautomatic handgun.

“I’m shocked and deeply saddened,” the governor said in a statement. “I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect, who is now in custody. My heart goes out to the school and the community. I know that such a close-knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

A man who answered the phone at the law school refused to comment.

“We knew before we heard there was a shooting that something was wrong,” said Tiffany Street, a worker at a nearby motel. “There were fire trucks, ambulances, state police and cops all heading toward the school. They had everything roped off and the gates closed. They weren’t letting anyone through.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Street, 20. “Grundy’s a very small town, and I’ve been here all my life.”

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was dean and associate professor of law at the Grundy school. He previously worked on election law and campaign finance issues at the Hogan & Hartson law firm in Washington, D.C. He worked for the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

Sutin was formerly acting assistant attorney general for the office of legal affairs at the Department of Justice. He left the department to help found the Appalachian School of Law, department officials said.

Previously he had been deputy director of the community policing program.

The Buchanan County law school opened in 1997 in a renovated junior high school in the mountain town with 1,100 residents. The school’s enrollment is about 170.

The school was opened with the hope of easing a historic shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of far southwest Virginia, as well as help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia.

The school has about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

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Shooting rampage at law school kills three, wounds three others

Roger Alford
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

A struggling law school student who had just been suspended went on a shooting spree at the school Wednesday, killing the dean, a professor and a student before he was wrestled to the ground, school officials and witnesses said.

Three students also were critically wounded in the hail of gunfire at the Appalachian School of Law.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” said Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school in this tiny mountain community in western Virginia.

Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell were gunned down in their offices, according to school officials. The third person slain was a student, said Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner.

Briggs said he had treated the suspect - identified by state police as 43-year-old Peter Odighizuma - in the past year. He described the gunman as a Nigerian who had flunked out last year and been allowed to return.

Odighizuma had been suspended from school earlier Wednesday, Qualls said. She said Odighizuma had a history of mental instability that school officials were aware of.

The suspect was at the Buchanan County Jail. No charges were immediately announced.

The dean and the professor were “executed” in their offices, according to Briggs. He said the gunman then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and wounding three others.

The gunman was tackled by four male students as he left the building.

“They just wanted the guy,” Briggs said. “They weren’t worried about their own personal safety.”

The wounded students were hospitalized in critical condition, the governor said. Qualls said the weapon used was a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

The private law school, with an enrollment of about 170 students, was closed for the rest of the week.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

He also said Odighizuma had flunked out a year ago and “the dean bent over backward to get him enrolled again.”

The governor, who had served on the school’s board until he took office last week, said he was shocked and saddened by the shooting.

“I commend the students who acted swiftly to apprehend the suspect, who is now in custody,” Warner said. “My heart goes out to the school and the community. I know that such a close-knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply.”

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, was also an associate professor at the school. He left the Justice Department to found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Sutin’s wife, Margaret, their two children and to all of their family and friends,” Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement.

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 just a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

School founders hope to ease a shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The American Bar Association rejected the school’s first application for accreditation in 1999.

The school graduated its first class of 34 in 2000. There are about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

“You read about it in other areas, but when it comes home it really hurts,” said state Del. Jackie Stump of Grundy, fighting back tears as he hung his head and walked away from a news conference in Richmond.

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Shooting rampage at Va. law school kills 3, wounds 3 others

Roger Alford
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

A student who had been dismissed from law school went on a shooting spree Wednesday, killing the school’s dean, a professor and a student before other students tackled him, officials said.

Three students, including one from Kentucky, were injured in the hail of gunfire.

L. Anthony Sutin, dean of the Appalachian School of Law, and Professor Thomas Blackwell were gunned down in their offices, according to school officials. The third person slain was student Angela Dales, 33, of Vansant, said State Police spokesman Mike Stater.

The suspect, Peter Odighizuwa, went to the school to meet with Sutin about his dismissal, which went into effect Wednesday, authorities said. Odighizuwa first stopped by the office of Professor Dale Rubin to talk about his grades, and as he left he reportedly asked Rubin to pray for him, Stater said.

Rubin, reached by telephone, declined to comment.

After visiting Rubin, Odighizuwa went to Sutin’s and Blackwell’s offices and shot them both with a .380-caliber pistol, Stater said.

Odighizuwa then went downstairs into a common area and opened fire on a crowd, said Dr. Jack Briggs, who has a private practice a half-mile from the school.

“When I got there there were bodies laying everywhere,” Briggs said.

Briggs said he had treated Odighizuwa in the past year. He described the Odighizuwa as a Nigerian who had flunked out last year and been allowed to return. Odighizuwa was known on campus as “Peter O” and was a naturalized U.S. citizen, authorities and students said.

He is being held in the Buchanan County Jail on three counts of capital murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, authorities said. Ellen Qualls, spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Warner, said Odighizuwa, 42, had a history of mental instability that school officials were aware of.

After the shootings, Odighizuwa left the building and was tackled and held down by several male students, including 30-year-old Todd Ross of Johnson City, Tenn.

“He came out and walked down on the sidewalk, had his hands up in the air with the gun. At some point I yelled his name and told him to drop the gun and to get on the ground,” Ross said.

Odighizuwa dropped the gun, and another student then confronted him and distracted him.

“And then I ran across and tackled him,” Ross said.

Two or three other students then helped him subdue Odighizuwa.

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

School president Lucius Ellsworth was in Richmond for a meeting with government officials Wednesday and flew back to Grundy when he learned about the shootings.

“Each of us is suffering, but as a family, we can find strength to pass through this terrible dark and tragic valley,” he told reporters at an evening news conference.

Hospital officials identified the three wounded students as Rebecca Brown, 38, of Roanoke; Martha Madeline Short, 37, of Grundy; and Stacy Beans, 22, of Berea, Ky. Amy Stevens, a spokeswoman for Wellmont Health Systems, said Short was in fair condition, and Beans and Brown were in fair condition after surgery Wednesday evening.

Beans is a 1997 graduate of Paducah Tilghman High School and graduated last year from Berea College, The Paducah Sun reported in a story to be published Thursday.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes.

“He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this,” Marlowe said.

Marlowe said Odighizuwa had flunked out of school a year ago and “the dean bent over backwards to get him enrolled again.”

Blackwell, the professor who was killed, taught classes in contracts that Odighizuwa took during the fall and winter up to the time of his dismissal, students said.

The private law school has an enrollment of about 170 students. It will be closed the remainder of the week, officials said. Local elementary, middle and high schools were locked down for an hour after the shootings.

Sutin, a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, also was an associate professor at the school. He left a Justice Department position as an assistant attorney general to found the school after working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, according to the Web site of Jurist, the Legal Education Network.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Sutin’s wife, Margaret, their two children and to all of their family and friends,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft.

“The entire Department of Justice is mourning the loss of a dedicated public servant who served the Department of Justice with distinction, integrity and honor.”

The school opened five years ago in a renovated junior high school in Grundy, a town of about 1,100 just a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

School founders hope to ease a shortage of lawyers in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, help change the region’s image and foster renewal in Appalachia. The American Bar Association rejected the school’s first application for accreditation in 1999.

The school graduated its first class of 34 in 2000. There are about 15 faculty members, including alumni of law schools at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia, Harvard and Howard universities.

“You read about it in other areas, but when it comes home it really hurts,” said state Del. Jackie Stump of Grundy, fighting back tears as he hung his head and walked away from a news conference in Richmond.

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