Purdue student killed in residence hall; roommate in custody, university says

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 9:29 AM PDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2022 at 4:47 PM PDT
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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WPTA/Gray News) - Purdue University police said they are investigating the death of a student in a residence hall early Wednesday morning as a homicide.

Police said 911 call came in around 12:44 a.m. from the student’s roommate. A letter from University President Mitch Daniels said the roommate is now being held as a suspect in the killing.

Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete has identified the suspect as 22-year-old Ji Min Sha, a junior who is studying cybersecurity, WTHR reported. Police said Sha is an international student from Korea.

The victim has been identified as 20-year-old Varun Manish Chheda from Indianapolis.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Wiete said both students were awake at the time of the incident in their first-floor dorm room, and she said she believes the crime was “unprovoked and senseless.”

In a statement, Daniels called the slaying “as tragic an event as we can imagine happening on our campus.” The university is offering counseling to those who want it.

Daniels also offered reassurance about campus safety, saying it’s the “single highest priority on our campus. Purdue is an extraordinarily safe place on any given day, and compared with cities of Purdue’s population (approximately 60,000 in all), we experience a tiny fraction of violent and property crime that occurs elsewhere. Such statistics are of no consolation on a day like this. A death on our campus and among our Purdue family affects each of us deeply.”