Appalachian School of Law Shootings
       

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Wed, 16 Jan 2002

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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