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Indian-American student killed at Purdue, roommate arrested

New York, Oct 6 (IANS) Varun Manish Chheda, a 20-year-old Indian-American student at US’s Purdue University, was killed in his dorm room by his roommate, who has been arrested on a preliminary murder charge, police said.

Ji Min Sha, a 22-year-old junior cybersecurity major from Seoul, South Korea, has been held as the prime suspect in the case, Purdue Police Chief Lesley Wiete said.

Wiete called the crime “unprovoked and senseless”.

Chheda died of “multiple sharp force traumatic injuries” and the manner of death was a homicide, according to preliminary autopsy results, an NBC report said.

A university spokesperson told the media that a 911 call came into the Purdue University Police Department at 12:44 a.m. on Wednesday from McCutcheon Hall on the western edge of the campus. The call was made by Sha himself.

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said in a statement that the Purdue University Police Department is conducting a thorough investigation into the incident.

“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… I assure you that the safety and security of our students is the single highest priority on our campus,” Daniels added in his statement.

Video posted on Facebook shows university police escorting Sha out of a patrol vehicle in handcuffs as reporters wait for him. As he is taken inside a building, reporters ask Sha, “Can you tell us why you did it?”

He seems to say, “I love my family.” He then repeats the comment.

Meanwhile, friends spoke about Varun to local media.

“He was a good person and a really good student,” a friend, who took classes with the slain student, told local media.

Sumeeth Guda, a mathematics and science student, who worked with Chheda on group projects, described him as a hardworking and diligent person, the Purdue Exponent reported.

Just 10 days shy of his 21st birthday, Varun Manish Chheda, a senior majoring in data science from Purdue University, was killed in an overnight attack by his roommate Ji Min Sha, a 22-year-old junior cybersecurity major from Seoul.

Arunabh Sinha, who went to school with Chheda for 12 years, remembered him as smart and humble. “A really smart guy, always top of his class, top of the chess club, science bowl team. He was really humble about it,” Sinha told NBC News.

Chheda graduated from Park Tudor High School in 2020 and was a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program the year he graduated. He was also a candidate in the 2020 US Presidential Scholars Program and ran cross country in 2019.

“The entire Park Tudor community is incredibly saddened by the tragic loss of Varun Chheda, Park Tudor class of 2020. Our prayers are with his family at this difficult time,” Dennis Bisgaard, the interim head of Park Tudor, told Fox News Digital in a statement.

The Purdue University website said that it is currently home to 2,300 Indian students-793 undergraduates and 1,507 graduate and professional program students.

About 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled for the fall semester, according to the university website.

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