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

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.

/nd/tackle | 205