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

Thu, 17 Jan 2002


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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