Facebook Twitter

‘I need help,’ suspect in killings says

SHARE ‘I need help,’ suspect in killings says

GRUNDY, Va. — Peter Odighizuwa returned to his law school campus hoping to get another chance from his dean after flunking out for a second time. But he came armed with a pistol and, moments after being rejected, authorities say he started firing.

Odighizuwa shot his dean and a professor to death in their offices and then opened fire on a crowd of students, killing one and injuring three others before students tackled the gunman and handcuffed him, 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," Clifton added.

Odighizuwa, a 43-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, was arraigned Thursday in Grundy General District Court. He told the judge that he is sick and needs help.

Hiding his face behind his green arrest warrant, Odighizuwa 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 is charged with killing L. Anthony Sutin, dean of the Appalachiann School of Law and professor Thomas Blackwell, who taught Odighizuwa's contracts classes during the fall and winter.

Also killed was student Angela Dales, 33, said State Police spokesman Mike Stater. Three other students were hospitalized in fair condition.

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."

When Johnson said he would appoint lawyer James C. Turk Jr. to represent him, Odighizuwa asked for another attorney whom he named. But Johnson appointed Turk and said, "Once you've talked with him, I'm sure you'll see he can help you."

Odighizuwa will remain held without bond pending a preliminary hearing March 21.

The suspect, known around the rural campus as "Peter O," had been struggling with his grades for more than a year.

Justin Marlowe, a first-year law student from Richwood, W.Va., said the suspect had been in all of his classes. "He was a real quiet guy who kept to himself," Marlowe said. "He didn't talk to anybody, but he gave no indication that he was capable of something like this."

Other classmates, however, described him as "abrasive."