VA town mourns

BY SUSAN KIM | GRUNDY, VA | January 20, 2002

Residents in the tiny town of Grundy gathered for a memorial service to remember a slain dean, professor, and student after a gunman opened fire at the Appalachian School of Law Wednesday.

The violent tragedy struck a tiny town that had already been coping with years of disaster.

Three other students were admitted to Buchanan General Hospital.

The suspect -- a student who had been dismissed from the school for failing grades -- was taken into custody after his fellow students tackled and subdued him. A doctor in Grundy said that the student had spoken to him about coping with stress.

The suspect allegedly later told officials he "was sick" and needed help.

The law school, which enrolls some 170 students, is in the tiny town of Grundy, population 1,100.

The town, a few miles south of the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines, has faced repeated flooding and economic hardship for decades. But many residents had renewed hopes as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started work on a flood mitigation project that involves relocating the town's Main Street.

The law school, opened in 1997, was founded with a goal of easing a shortage of lawyers in the area and fostering a sense of renewal in the area.

Wednesday's shooting had many residents saying they felt disaster had again targeted their town.

Gov. Mark Warner served on the board of the law school until he took office. In a statement issued by his office, he said his heart went out to the small town. "I know such a close-knit community will feel such a tragedy especially deeply," he said.

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