Vigil at Purdue in West Lafayette Tuesday night [Photo/Purdue Facebook page]
Police say a teacher's assistant was shot and killed by another teacher's assistant in the basement area of the electrical engineering building on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette Tuesday. The suspect, identified as 23-year-old Cody Cousins, of Warsaw, in northern Indiana, surrendered to police and was being held at the Tippecanoe County Jail facing a preliminary charge of murder. Police identified the victim as 21-year-old Andrew Boldt of West Bend, Wisconsin, which is just outside Milwaukee. Police were still investigating a motive, but authorities said it appears Cousins targeted Boldt. Both are listed as seniors in the College of Engineering. There were no reports of other injuries. The shooting occurred around noon Eastern Time. The West Lafayette campus reopened a little over an hour later, but the electrical engineering building remained closed. Classes were cancelled for the remainder of the day Tuesday, and also all day today at the West Lafayette campus. A candlelight vigil was held on campus Tuesday night.
Here is a link to the news conference Tuesday evening: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q1/january-21%2C-2014%2C-6-p.m.-news-conference.html
Purdue Police Chief John Cox said emergency personnel arrived on the scene within minutes and secured the building. Officers from the Lafayette and West Lafayette police departments and Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department also responded. Other responders included the West Lafayette and Purdue fire departments and the Tippecanoe County Emergency Ambulance Service.
Cox said Cousins allegedly fired four or five shots, and then left the building. He surrendered to police just outside the east side of the Electrical Engineering Building. While Cousins was in custody within minutes, an order for the campus community to remain sheltered in place stayed in effect until about 1:15 p.m.
Cox said the Electrical Engineering Building remains closed as officers, including investigators from the Indiana State Police, aid in assessing the crime scene. The West Lafayette Police Department also executed a search warrant at Cousins' off-campus apartment in the 300 block of W. Stadium Ave.
The shooting, which was initially reported at 12:03 p.m. EST, triggered the university's alert system. That system is composed of multiple layers that include text messages, outdoor sirens, mass email and the university's website.
The following statement from Purdue University President Mitch Daniels was delivered during a candlelight vigil Tuesday (Jan. 21) evening. Daniels, who was in Colombia on a university-related trip when the shooting occurred, was making arrangements to return to campus immediately.
"Violent crime, whenever and wherever it occurs, shocks our conscience and incites our rage. When it happens in our home, to a family member - and as a Boilermaker Andrew Boldt was family to us - those emotions are more powerful still.
"Our prayers tonight are with Andrew and with his parents, who have suffered a loss beyond calculation or consolation. In our grief, we pause to thank this event's organizers, but equally each person in attendance. Through your caring witness, you are demonstrating your love for the Boldts, and for each other in the very special community we call 'Boilermakers.'"