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Hundreds of Boilermakers gather to honor slain classmate

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Students on Purdue University’s campus were somber as they gathered Wednesday night to honor the life of 20-year-old student Varun Chheda, who was killed in his dorm on Wednesday.

Claire Schnnefke, the President of the Purdue Residence Hall Association, said, “I think everyone’s in shock. I think everyone’s really surprised. No one really woke up this morning and expected this to happen. Especially not on a safe campus like Purdue.”

Chheda was from Indianapolis, and former teachers from the Sycamore School described him as brilliant, funny and well-liked.

Hundreds of Boilermakers gathered to honor his life.

Katelyn On, a representative with the Asian student union, said, “Amongst all that he had were friends and family that cared so much and so deeply for him. It’s incomprehensibly difficult to deal with the loss of a loved one, so we ask you all to join us in sending our love to the loved ones of Varun.”

Student leaders say a goal of the event was to make sure all students feel safe on campus.

Torin van der Vort, the President of Willey Hall, said, “We want students to feel safe, but also considering what comes after this, we don’t want there to be any influx of hatred towards any group of people. We want to make sure everyone knows we are staying as a community and there’s no backlash towards international students or Korean students at our campus. We want to make sure we’re staying as a group and protecting each other.”