Purdue University student told police he fatally stabbed roommate, prosecutors say


A Purdue University student arrested Wednesday after his roommate was found dead in their dormitory told police he fatally stabbed him, the Indiana prosecutor said Friday.

Ji Min Sha, 22, said he used a knife to kill his roommate, Varun Manish Chheda, 20, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Friday by the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office.

After the stabbing, Sha called 911 around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday and remained in the room at the campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, until police arrived and arrested him, the document said.

When police arrived at the student’s room in McCutcheon Hall, they saw “blood spatter on the wall, a pool of blood on the floor and a folding knife on the floor,” according to the affidavit.

Sha was arrested and charged with murder, Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete announced Wednesday, although Sha has not been formally charged in court.

“I think it was unprovoked and senseless,” the police chief said of the attack.

Chheda’s cause of death was “multiple blunt force trauma,” according to preliminary autopsy results conducted by Tippecanoe County Coroner Carrie Costello.

CNN could not immediately identify an attorney for Sha.

Sha, who appeared in court on Friday, told reporters “I am very sorry” when asked if he had anything to say to the victim’s family.

Students place downlights for a vigil in memory of Varun Manish Chheda on October 5 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

A judge granted prosecutors’ request Friday for a 72-hour break in the case during which authorities will continue their investigation and formally file charges, documents obtained by the WISH-TV show show. Sha is expected back in court on October 13.

The killing is the first on Purdue’s campus since 2014, said Tim Doty, director of media and public relations at the university.

Following the incident, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels addressed the death in a message to the community on Wednesday.

“A death on our campus and among our Purdue family deeply affects each of us,” Daniels wrote in the message. “As Purdue’s president, but even more so as a parent myself, I assure you that the safety and security of our students is the highest priority on our campus.”

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