|Appalachian School of Law Shootings|
Sat, 19 Jan 2002
A FAILED law student accused of killing his dean, a law professor and another student in Richmond, Virginia, told a judge yesterday that he is sick and needs help.
Peter Odighizuwa shuffled into court in leg chains, surrounded by police officers. Hiding his face behind his arrest warrant, he told Judge Patrick Johnson: “I was supposed to see my doctor. He was supposed to help me out … I don’t have my medication.”
Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalised US citizen from Nigeria, went to the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia on Thursday to talk to dean Anthony Sutin about being dismissed for failing his grades.
He shot Mr Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell with a .380-calibre pistol, officials said.
He then went to a common area and opened fire at students.
Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon, officials said.
“He was angry. He thought he was being treated unfairly, and he wanted to see his transcript,” said Chris Clifton, the school’s financial aid officer.
“I don’t think Peter knew at this time that it [dismissal] was going to be permanent and final.”
Student Angela Dales, 33, was killed in the rampage, said State Police spokesman Mike Stater. Three others were injured and taken to hospital in fair condition.
Prosecutors charged Odighizuwa with three counts of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and six charges for use of a firearm in a felony.
A few minutes before his arraignment, Odighizuwa told reporters as he was led into the courtroom: “I was sick, I was sick. I need help.”
Odighizuwa will remain in custody pending a preliminary hearing on March 21. Known around the rural campus as Peter O, he had been struggling with his grades for more than a year and had been dismissed once before.
Mr Clifton met Odighizuwa a day earlier when the student learned he was to be kicked out.
Classmates described Odighizuwa as quiet, while others called him “abrasive”.
They said he would regularly have outbursts in class when he was challenged.