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Friends of the Purdue University student who was allegedly killed by his roommate said they had been gaming with the victim when they suddenly heard him screaming.
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 with WTHR that Chheda was online gaming with pals 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 pal, Arunabh Sinha, told NBC News that Chheda had been playing and chatting online through Discord late Tuesday when they also suddenly heard screaming on the call.
Sinha, who did not take part in the gaming session, was told by others that they heard the harrowing 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 gaming 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 sharp 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 to jail Wednesday.
Meanwhile, several students at the residence hall where Chheda was killed said they had no clue about the homicide there until hours later — and learned about it mostly from the media.
“When I saw the email [from school President Mitch Daniels] it didn’t even list which residence hall it happened at,” freshman Kolitha Perera told NBC News. “I had to Google it to find out what happened and 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 to not find out until several hours after — it was unsettling.”
In the email that one student said he got almost 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.
Asked why the school didn’t alert students at McCutcheon Hall sooner, spokesman Tim Doty told the network that Sha, who called 911 around 12:45 a.m., was arrested minutes later.
Doty cited a federal law and said there was no threat to the campus.
“No timely warning was issued,” he told NBC News.
Another freshman, Parth Thakre, slammed the school for not alerting students earlier.
“I know there is a procedure. I can see why they kind of delayed, because they got the guy. But they should have given us more information,” Thakre told the outlet.