Appalachian School of Law Shootings

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Fri, 18 Jan 2002

Law school killer

Michael Beach
Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)

A FAILED law student executed two professors then shot dead a fellow student at a small American university yesterday.

Three more students are in a critical condition after being shot as they ran through the corridors of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia.

The gunman, 43-year-old Nigerian foreign exchange student Peter Odighizuma, was wrestled to the ground and disarmed of his 38-calibre automatic pistol by four other students.

The dead included the university’s dean, Anthony Sutin, 41, who advised Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and served under Mr Clinton as a high-ranking legal counsel in the Justice Department.

Local physician Dr Jack Briggs, who had treated Odighizuma for stress, was the first doctor to arrive at the law school after the shootings.

“The scene was a disaster,” he said.

Dr Briggs said Mr Sutin and another professor had been shot at point-blank range in an apparent revenge attack.

“He had flunked out of school last year,” Dr Briggs said.

“He had been allowed an opportunity to come back and complete the semester again.

“But I believe the dean was about to tell him he was no longer going to be able to come back.”

A university spokesman said Odighizuma had been suspended from the school yesterday.

After murdering the two professors, he began shooting randomly at students. One died after being shot in the neck and back.

Three others, suffering bullet wounds to their abdomens, were flown to the closest trauma centre in Bristol, Tennessee, for emergency surgery.

The Appalachian School of Law was founded four years ago to help ease a shortage of lawyers in the southwest Virginia coal mining towns.

The killings came a day after a high school student evaded a metal detector to shoot two classmates at the Martin Luther King Jnr school in Manhattan.

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