Appalachian School of Law Shootings
       

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Thu, 17 Jan 2002

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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