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Purdue University student charged with murder in death of roommate in dorm room, police say

Purdue University student Jim Min Sha charged with murder in death of roommate in dorm room
Purdue University student Jim Min Sha charged with murder in death of roommate in dorm room 02:25

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (CBS) --  A Purdue University student  was charged with murdering his roommate in a dorm room on campus, according to campus police.

Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete said the suspect, Ji Min Sha, called police around 12:44 a.m. to report his roommate, Varun Manish Chheda, 20, was dead. 

Chedda of Indianapolis was a senior studying data science. Now, never to graduate.

Park Tudor High School

CBS 2's Sabrina Franza reports Sha was booked on the murder charge in Tippecanoe County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.  He is currently being held without bond.

As Sha was being led into jail by police, he told reporters, "I love my family."

Murder suspect Ji Min Sha is transferred to Tippecanoe County Jail on Wednesday.  CBS 4 -- Indianapolis

The two shared a room at McCutcheon Hall on the first floor, Wiete said. She declined to discuss any weapons used.  However, Chedda was stabbed multiple times, according to the autopsy report issued early Wednesday afternoon from the Tippecanoe County coroner. His death was ruled a homicide. 

Purdue University student Varun Manish Chheda killed by roommate in dorm room. 02:21

Wiete called the murder unprovoked and senseless.  Police are on campus investigating and say there is no threat to the campus.

Sha, 22, is a junior from Korea studying cybersecurity. Chheda, 20, of Indianapolis. was a senior who studied data science. Students tell CBS 2 it happened on the first floor of their dorm building at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Charged with murder, 22-year-old is an exchange student from South Korea, a junior studying cyber security. He called 911 on himself, according to police, after stabbing his roommate to death.

"I woke up this morning to my mom calling me and was crying 'are you ok? Are you ok? I heard someone's been murdered.'"

Justin Bobb is a sophomore from Munster and lives in the same building, an all men's dorm. Students said just before 1:00 a.m., they heard screaming.

"But I heard he was just attacked by his roommate and that was that," Bobb said.

Now finding it a little harder to go back into McCutchen Hall, without thinking about the tragedy that unfolded there.

"Having a happen so close to home it really does make you feel uneasy," lamented Bobb.

Purdue University made counseling and psychological services available for students. Campus police said there is no longer a threat to students and that the investigation is ongoing.

In explaining why no university-wide alert was issued, Wiete said police took Sha into custody within minutes after receiving the 911 call and said there was no threat to other students. She said eight other students were moved from their rooms so that police could conduct their investigation. 

Tippecanoe County Jail

"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," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement. 

"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."

One McCutcheon Hall resident said these events don't sit right with him.

"Back home, where I'm from, we used to leave our doors open all the time, and we would be in our friends' houses. Especially in my area of residence. I would be going to my friends' houses overnight, and we wouldn't be thinking twice, because the place that I'm from, we're kind of used to it. Mostly because it's a rather safe area," Purdue freshman Jad Khalaf said. "Which, Purdue also is pretty safe, but it really surprised me. That's why it doesn't really sit right with me, about how something like this could happen so easily."

The University said it has clinicians available for walk-in appointments, and will provide crisis counseling services to those who need it.     

It's the first homicide on campus since 2014. 

In 2014, Cody Cousins killed Andrew Boldt in the university's Electrical Engineering building. Cousin pleaded guilty, was sentenced, then died by suicide in a Michigan City jail later that year. 

"In general, I do what I want and I deal with the consequences later," Cousins, who pleaded guilty this summer, told the court during his sentencing. 

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