Dean, 2 Others Fatally Shot At Rural Virginia Law School

By Fredrick Kunkle and Craig Timberg
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 17, 2002

A failing student allegedly shot three people to death and wounded three others yesterday at the Appalachian School of Law, the ambitious school created five years ago to bring newcomers and a new way of life to southwest Virginia's struggling coal-mining region.

The midday attack ended when students overpowered the gunman and held him for Buchanan County sheriff's deputies, officials said.

The lawschool was founded by community leaders eager to revitalize a region decimated by the decline of the coal industry. Built in a refurbished junior high school near Grundy's small downtown, Appalachian had begun to live up to its promise, bringing fresh faces and economic activity.

One of those fresh faces was L. Anthony Sutin, a senior official in President Bill Clinton's Justice Department who, along with his wife, Margaret Lawton, began to do exactly what the school's founders had hoped. They both were on the faculty -- Sutin was dean -- and were active in the arts council, their church and civic life.

He was among those killed yesterday.

"It's the ultimate of ironic tragedies," said Kent Markus, Sutin's Harvard LawSchool roommate and fellow Justice Department official. "Here's a case where the victim was one of the kindest . . . people imaginable, who saw his life as giving back."


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