A 22-year-old Purdue University student is facing murder charges after his alleged involvement with his roommate’s death.
Early Wednesday morning around 12:44 a.m. Ji Min Sha (pictured above), an international student from South Korea, called campus police to his first floor dorm on the West Lafayette, Indiana campus. When police arrived at the scene they found something they never expected — the body of the cyber security major’s roommate. Varun Manish Chheda was only 20 years old and exactly one month from turning 21 when he was killed. So young…
The Tippecanoe County Coroner’s Office, who identified the victim, reported he died from “multiple sharp force traumatic injuries” — in other words he was stabbed to death. And although toxicology reports are still pending, police are pretty sure they know what happened. They’ve identified his roommate, the one who called them, as the main suspect.
Sha, who also frequently goes by the nickname Jimmy, was taken into custody by campus police. Purdue Police Chief Lesley Wiete says the alleged attack lacks motive — he calls the killing “unprovoked” and “senseless” as there were no reported incidents between the two students before. It’s been determined by police via CBS News the suspect is not “a threat to the community” — but strangely he’s still being held without bond, according to booking records.
Due to the active crime scene, eight students were removed from the first floor of McCutcheon Hall but are due to be let back into their rooms by the end of the day Wednesday. PU’s president, Mitch Daniels, quickly addressed the situation in a statement on Wednesday following the news of the murder:
“I write to let you know that early this morning, one of our students was killed in his residence hall room. This is as tragic an event as we can imagine happening on our campus and our hearts and thoughts go out to all of those affected by this terrible event.”
He continued in his statement to say there are no details available yet due to the ongoing investigation:
“We do not have all the details yet. Our Purdue University Police Department is conducting a thorough investigation of this incident so that we all may learn more about what transpired.”
Without motive, we wonder how police determined it was the roommate. Did he confess? What happened?!
Despite the shocking events, Daniels assured staff and peers the university is still very much a “safe place”:
“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.”
This isn’t the first stabbing to happen on the campus, however. In 2014 Cody Cousins stabbed his 21-year-old fellow student Andrew Boldt and openly confessed to the killing in court only to die by suicide in prison after being sentenced to 65 years. This isn’t to say the university is unsafe, but the thought of two stabbings happening inside school grounds in less than a decade isn’t exactly reassuring…
Michael Van Shoik of CBS 4 Indy spoke to Jad Khalaf of PU following the news of the homicide. The young man, who was “shocked and unsettled” to wake up to such a horrible situation said:
“It surprises me. It’s never something you can sit there and plan in your right mind. Just think ‘I’m going to hurt someone’. That’s why it’s surprised us. The magnitude of what we all experienced.”
So, so sad. Our hearts go out to Varun’s family and loved ones. May he rest in peace and get the justice he deserves.
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