Purdue University hosts candlelight vigil after shooting - KMSP-TV

Purdue University hosts candlelight vigil after shooting

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Student crouched under a desk. (Photo courtesy of Wei Liu via @weiwuu on Twitter) Student crouched under a desk. (Photo courtesy of Wei Liu via @weiwuu on Twitter)
(Kyle M. Siemers via @KyleSiemers) (Kyle M. Siemers via @KyleSiemers)


There is sorrow and shock and a lot of questions Tuesday night at Purdue University after a student shot and killed a teaching assistant inside a classroom Tuesday afternoon.

One person was killed inside a classroom in the Purdue University engineering building in West LaFayette, Ind. Tuesday by a gunman who surrendered to a police officer within minutes of the attack, officials said.

Purdue Police Chief John Cox said the suspect appeared to have targeted the male victim in a basement classroom of the Electrical Engineering Building about noon CST and didn't attack anyone else.

"The individual entered the facility and took the actions that he took, and then immediately left the facility without any other interaction that we're aware of," Cox said.

The suspect gave himself up to a West Lafayette police officer outside the building on the 40,000-student campus, he said.

Police have now identified the suspect as a 23-year-old-man from Indiana. The victim a 21-year-old-senior and teachers assistant from Wisconsin who interned the last two summers with John Deere in Silvis, Ill. near the Quad Cities.

Purdue officials issued a text alert telling those on the campus about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis to seek shelter shortly after the shooting was reported. Within two hours, the university said there was no ongoing threat on campus and allowed normal operations to resume in all buildings except the engineering facility.

Tuesday night, students and faculty gathered for a candlelight vigil on the engineering quad.

The mood was somber, but students described a great sense of community.

They mourned the death of Andrew Boldt, an Eagle Scout from West End, Wisc., described as a very capable student and an even better person.

Students remember Boldt while trying to work through details from earlier in the day.

Students said they scrambled and huddled under desks and the campus went on lockdown.

"I heard a gunshot, I heard a man scream, then there were a couple more gunshots that kinda trailed off, I don't know exactly how many," Purdue student, Nick Wheelen, said.

Another student, also in a classroom next door, heard the commotion.

"In about 30 seconds you hear a lot more banging, a lot more yelling. You hear a cop tell a guy to get down, and then so then we knew things were pretty serious, and then like two seconds after that you, the cops ran in our room and told us all we had to evacuate the building," Purdue freshman, Anton Morris, said.

Emails and text alerts told students across campus to shelter in place.

"My classroom specifically, the students, we started closing the windows and turning the lights off, and eventually students got antsy and wanted to see what was happening outside and after a few minutes we realized there was a lot of plain clothes officers outside with large guns," Purdue University senior, Kate Manning, said.

Julissa Martinez, a freshman nursing student from Portage, said she was in psychology class on another part of campus when she received the text message saying the university was on lockdown. She said her professor briefly kept teaching, then stopped lecturing so that students could contact people to let them know they were safe.

"He tried to get everything under control because people were freaking out," she said.

She said students were nervous because there was a lot of speculation about the severity of the situation.

"It was scary because you hear about it, but you never expect it to happen on your campus," Martinez said.

Senior Saran Mishra, editor of the Purdue Exponent, the campus newspaper, said some students reported hearing fire alarms and were told to evacuate.

"Right now I'm still in shock," he said.

Police said the shooter, identified as Cody Cousins from Warsaw, Ind., then left the building and was taken into custody.

He is now charged with murder.

Police said this was not a random shooting, the victim was deliberately targeted, but the motive at this point is unclear.

Tuesday night in Evanston there was a moment of silence before the Purdue University v. Northwestern University men's basketball game.

On the Purdue campus, classes are canceled until Thursday.

FOX 32's Craig Wall contributed to this report.


Associated Press writers Tom Coyne in South Bend and Jeni O'Malley and Tom Davies in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

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