When Armed Resistance Meets a Murderer

Have you ever heard of the Appalachia School of Law massacre? No. The reason you have never heard of it is because armed students stopped the killer.


January 16, 2002 Peter Odighizuwa came to campus. He had been suspended due to failing grades. Odighizuwa was angry and waving a gun calling on students to “come get me”. The students, seeing the gun, ran. A shooting spree started almost immediately. In seconds Odighizuwa had killed the school dean, a professor and one student. Three other students were shot as well, one in the chest, one in the stomach and one in the throat.

Many students heard the shots. Two who did were Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges. Mikael was outside the school having just returned to campus from lunch when he heard the shots. Tracy was inside attending class. Both immediately ran to their cars. Each had a handgun locked in the vehicle.

Bridges pulled a .357 Magnum pistol and he later said he was prepared to shoot to kill if necessary. He and Gross both approached Odighizuwa at the same time from different directions. Both were pointing their weapons at him. Bridges yelled for Odighizuwa to drop his weapon. When the shooter realized they had the drop on him he threw his weapon down. A third student, unarmed, Ted Besen, tackled Odighizuwa.

The media accounts downplayed the role the armed resistance played in the killer’s apprehension but most eye witness accounts credited Gross and Bridges for stopping the killer.

Most are aware by now of the horrific shooting that occurred in a movie theater in Aurora, CO this past weekend. The theater prohibited firearms in the building. However, the killer (I refuse to use his name and glorify him) didn’t care what the signs said. Murderers are like that.

Who knows what would have happened if a couple of armed citizens in the theater had sent a few rounds in the killer’s direction. Even through his bulletproof vest, the killer would have been knocked off balance. A shot to the head would have stopped the massacre abruptly. Or maybe the killer, knowing he was being confronted, would have run. Or, yes, a stray bullet from an armed citizen might have killed a bystander.

Chances are good that armed resistance would have resulted in a lower body count.

While I am not a fan of assault weapons with 100 round magazines being available for purchase by every crack pot with a wad of cash, neither am I in favor of disarming citizens. In the Aurora case, the problem was not too many guns but not enough guns.

What do you think? Could more/less guns stop these types of massacres?


  1. Yes! Banning guns does not keep Godless people with a seared conscience from using them against others- it keeps sane people from having means to defend themselves! Great post!

    • You account of the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law is not true. The student body president, who witnessed students wrestle the killer to the ground, said that Mikael Gross and Tracey Bridges arrived AFTER students had subdued Peter Odighuzuwa. FIRST HAND accounts of that shooting say you were wrong. Not telling the truth does no one any good. I notice you do not mention the right of our daughter-in-law Angela Dales to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Why is it that guns rights advocates NEVER talk about the rights of the victims–I guess their lives don’t mean anything to you.

      • I have read many accounts, some by eye witnesses. I know their stories vary. This one is the most credible. I stand by it.

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