Friends of the Purdue University student who was allegedly killed by his roommate said they had been playing with the 20-year-old victim when they suddenly heard him scream.
Varun Manish Chheda, 20, was discovered dead in his room at McCutcheon Hall in West Lafayette after the suspect, Ji Min “Jimmy” Sha, 22, called 911 to report the killing early Wednesday, campus police said.
Indiana police described the crime as an “unprovoked and senseless” murder.
University police have confirmed to WTHR that Chheda was playing online with friends the night he died.
One of the friends, Andrew Wu, told the news outlet that he had been participating in a game with Chheda when he heard screaming through the gaming platform.
Another friend, Arunabh Sinha, told NBC News that Chheda had been playing and chatting online through Discord late Tuesday when they also suddenly heard the scream on the call.
Sinha, who did not participate in the game session, was told by others that they heard the shocking attack and had no idea what was going on, according to NBC News.
Campus Police Detective Lt. Matt Rosenbarger told WTHR that Sha, a junior from South Korea majoring in cybersecurity, was not online or playing with friends.
Police Chief Lesley Weite said during a press briefing that Sha was quickly taken into custody on a charge of murder.
Chheda, a senior data science major, died of “multiple blunt force traumatic injuries” and the manner of death was a homicide, according to preliminary autopsy results reported by NBC.
Sha appeared to mutter “I love my family” as authorities took him into custody Wednesday.
Meanwhile, several students at the residence hall where Chheda was killed said they had no idea about the killing there until hours later – and learned about it mainly from the media.
“When I saw the email [from school President Mitch Daniels] it didn’t even mention which residence it happened at,” graduate Kolitha Perera told NBC News. “I had to Google it to find out what happened and I was shocked that it was in our building. We got most of our information from the news like everyone else.”
He added: “I feel like this is something so big and that it didn’t come out until hours after – it was disturbing.”
In the email a student said he received nearly six hours after the killing was reported, the school president briefly described the incident, cited the importance of campus safety and said counseling services were available.
When asked why the school didn’t alert the students in McCutcheon Hall earlier, spokesman Tim Doty told the network that Sha, who called 911 around 12:45 p.m., was arrested minutes later.
Citing a federal law, Doty said there was no threat to the campus.
“No timely warning was issued,” he told NBC News.
Another freshman, Parth Thakre, criticized the school for not warning students earlier.
“I know there is a procedure. I can see why they kind of delayed because they got the man. But they should have given us more information,” Thakre told the magazine.