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Purdue University student told police he fatally stabbed roommate, prosecutors say

<i>Alex Martin/Journal and Courier/USA Today Network</i><br/>Students place down lights for a vigil in memory of Varun Manish Chheda on October 5 at Purdue University in West Lafayette
Alex Martin/Journal and Courier
Alex Martin/Journal and Courier/USA Today Network
Students place down lights for a vigil in memory of Varun Manish Chheda on October 5 at Purdue University in West Lafayette

By Zenebou Sylla, Liam Reilly and Rob Frehse, CNN

A Purdue University student who was arrested Wednesday after his roommate was found dead in their dormitory told police he fatally stabbed him, Indiana prosecutors said Friday.

Ji Min Sha, 22, said he used a knife to kill his roommate, Varun Manish Chheda, 20, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Friday by the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office.

After the stabbing, Sha called 911 around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday and remained in the room at the West Lafayette, Indiana, campus until police arrived and arrested him, the document states.

When police arrived at the student’s room in McCutcheon Hall, they saw “blood spatter on the wall, a pool of blood on the floor and a folding knife on the floor,” according to the affidavit.

Sha was arrested and charged with murder, Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete announced Wednesday, though Sha has not been formally charged in court.

“I believe this was unprovoked and senseless,” the police chief said of the attack.

Chheda’s cause of death was due to “multiple sharp force traumatic injuries,” according to preliminary autopsy findings conducted by Tippecanoe County Coroner Carrie Costello.

CNN could not immediately identify an attorney for Sha.

Sha, who appeared in court Friday, told reporters “I am very sorry” when asked if he had anything to say to the victim’s family.

A judge granted prosecutors’ request Friday for a 72-hour recess for the case during which time authorities will continue their investigation and formally file charges, documents obtained by WISH-TV show. Sha is expected back in court October 13.

The killing is the first homicide on Purdue’s campus since 2014, said Tim Doty, director of media and public relations at the university.

Following the incident, Purdue University president Mitch Daniels addressed the death in a message to the community Wednesday.

“A death on our campus and among our Purdue family affects each of us deeply,” Daniels wrote in the message. “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.”

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CNN’s Nicki Brown contributed to this report.

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