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Purdue University student is arrested after roommate was found killed in dorm room


By Nicki Brown and Zenebou Sylla, CNN

A Purdue University student was killed in an on-campus residence hall and his roommate has been arrested and charged with murder, university police announced.

Varun Manish Chheda, 20, died due to “multiple sharp force traumatic injuries,” according to preliminary autopsy findings from Tippecanoe County Coroner Carrie Costello.

Chheda’s roommate, Ji Min Sha, 22, called 911 early Wednesday morning to report his roommate was dead, Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete said in a news conference. Police responded to their room in McCutcheon Hall within minutes and took Sha into custody, according to Wiete.

Sha has been charged with murder, Wiete said. He is being held without bond at Tippecanoe County Jail, records show.

“I believe this was unprovoked and senseless,” the police chief said, and their investigation is ongoing.

It is unclear if Sha has obtained legal representation. CNN has reached out to the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s office for additional information.

This is the first homicide on Purdue’s campus since 2014, said Tim Doty, director of media and public relations at the university. Because there was no immediate threat to the community, alerts or warnings regarding the killing were not issued, police said.

Purdue University president Mitch Daniels addressed the death in a message to the community Wednesday, offering counseling and psychological services.

“As Purdue’s president, but even more so as a parent myself, I assure you that the safety and security of our students is the single highest priority on our campus,” Daniels said. “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,” he added. “A death on our campus and among our Purdue family affects each of us deeply.”

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