|Appalachian School of Law Shootings|
Thu, 17 Jan 2002
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.