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Purdue University student killed by roommate in unprovoked attack, police say

Purdue University homicide
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Posted at 9:53 AM, Oct 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-05 10:53:17-04

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WRTV) — A Purdue University student was killed by his roommate overnight, police said.

Varun Manish Chheda, 20, of Indianapolis was a senior studying data science, according to Purdue University Chief of Police Lesley Weite.

His death is being investigated as a homicide. An autopsy has been scheduled for Wednesday, the Tippecanoe County Coroner's Office stated.

Chheda's roommate, a 22-year-old junior and international student from Korea, reported the death to police around about 12:44 a.m. and was promptly placed under arrest, Weite said.

She added that the killing appeared to have been unprovoked and offered condolences to anyone who knew Chheda.

Weite also said that there is no known threat to the campus.

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels addressed the killing in a letter to the community sent some time before 8:10 a.m. In it, he did not disclose the exact details of what happened.

"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," Daniels wrote.

The letter continues, "... I assure you that the safety and security of our students is 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."

Police also haven't provided specifics, citing an ongoing investigation.

At least one Purdue student told Scripps TV station WRTV they felt upset that the university didn't alert students about the homicide sooner. Weite said that if the suspect hadn't turned himself in as quickly as he did and there had been an ongoing public safety threat, the community would have been notified sooner.

Daniels and Weite both said that the university will provide counseling to anyone in need.

This story was originally reported by Lucas Gonzalez and Kelsey Anderson on wrtv.com.