WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.
Cody Cousins, who is believed to have targeted Andrew Boldt inside the Electrical Engineering Building, surrendered to a police officer within minutes of the attack, Purdue Police Chief John Cox said.
Investigators were trying to determine a motive for the shooting, which happened around noon on the campus in West Lafayette, about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis. No one else was injured.
"This appears to be an isolated and intentional act," Cox said.
Boldt, a 21-year-old senior and teaching assistant from West Bend, Wis., died at the scene. Cousins, 23, who according to police has addresses listed both in Warsaw, Ind., and Centerville, Ohio, was being held on a preliminary charge of murder Tuesday night at the Tippecanoe County Jail.
Television footage showed a fire truck and several law enforcement vehicles around the building. Photographs from the scene showed police officers with guns drawn and Cousins being led away in handcuffs.
Purdue University is suspending classes through Wednesday after a campus shooting in which one person was killed.
The university called off classes Tuesday afternoon, hours after officials say the shooting happened about noon in a basement classroom of the Electrical Engineering Building on the West Lafayette campus.
The campus police chief says it appears the gunman targeted the male victim and didn't attack anyone else before surrendering to a police officer minutes later.
Purdue also scheduled a campus candlelight vigil for 8 p.m. Tuesday. The university said special counseling services would be available for students Tuesday night at several sites around campus.
Purdue officials issued a text alert telling those on the campus about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis to seek shelter shortly after the report came in. Within two hours, the university said there was no ongoing threat on campus and allowed normal operations to resume in all buildings except the engineering facility.
Students described a chaotic scene when the first report came in.
Julissa Martinez, a freshman nursing student from Portage, said she was in psychology class on another part of campus when she received the text message saying the university was on lockdown. She said her professor briefly kept teaching, then stopped lecturing so that students could contact people to let them know they were safe.
"He tried to get everything under control because people were freaking out," she said.
She said students were nervous because there was a lot of speculation about the severity of the situation.
"It was scary because you hear about it, but you never expect it to happen on your campus," Martinez said.
Senior Saran Mishra, editor of the Purdue Exponent, the campus newspaper, said some students reported hearing fire alarms and were told to evacuate.
"Right now I'm still in shock," he said.