The Purdue University student found killed, allegedly by his roommate, in their dorm room on the Indiana school’s campus was remembered by loved ones as an amazing young man who was destined to go on to do great things in life.
Varun Manish Chheda is believed to have died. “multiple sharp force traumatic injuries” after an incident allegedly involving his roommate, 22-year-old Ji Min “Jimmy” Sha, unfolded in a room on the first floor of McCutcheon Hall, officials said.
Sha, a 22-year-old junior cybersecurity major and international student from Korea, was taken into custody on a murder charge after calling 911 around 12:45 a.m., alerting police to Chheda’s death, Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete told reporters during a news conference Wednesday.
Preliminary autopsy results indicated that he was killed by homicide.
“I believe this was unprovoked and senseless,”Wiete spoke out. She noted that both men were awake at time of incident.
Chheda was a 20-year-old from Indianapolis who was studying data science at the University. He was a senior.
“Losing a friend like Varun hurts hard,”His friend Arunabh Sinha wrote Facebook. Sinha said that he attended school with Chheda 12 years ago along with his sister.
“Varun touched lives at every turn he took, from Sycamore, Park Tudor, and Purdue, to everywhere outside of school he was involved. He was destined to make a large impact in our world and while we have been robbed of this opportunity, I am still highly appreciative to have known him since 1st grade,”He wrote.
“As Varun’s friends and I have reflected on this great loss, we have recognized some key elements to what made him so special,” Sinha wrote.
Sinha went on to list Chheda’s many attributes, noting, “Varun was many things but above all, he was brilliant, humble, ethical, and family-driven.”
Chheda was often a mentor in academic settings. “consistently strived to be a better version of himself, and showed great respect towards everyone and their goals,” Sinha wrote.
His friend pointed out that he was driven as much by morality and filial piety as he was by filial piety.
“Varun always chose to take the route of integrity,” Sinha wrote. “He would do what is right especially if no one was watching, from academics to chess and video games. He refused to take shortcuts and was willing to put in the effort to make the morally sound decision.
“Varun was, above all, a brilliant son to his parents, and a role model for his younger sister.” Sinha continued. “As I saw how much he cared about Kavya, I was able to look up to him. His parents, Kavya and their families are all in our hearts.
“Rest in peace, Varun. We will miss you dearly,”He wrote.
Chheda was an alumnus of the Sycamore School, which he attended from kindergarten through eighth grade. He graduated in 2016 from the Sycamore School.
“We will miss him. Varun was a brilliant student, funny, and well liked by his classmates. He possessed admirable character traits that stemmed from a strong family,”Diane Borgmann, Sycamore’s Head of School Statement.
Chheda addressed his class at the Sycamore School graduation.
“What a class we are. Individually we have all achieved great heights, be it in music, art, science, math, literature, history, language, or sports,”He stated. “Each of these achievements has not just been recognized at school, but at local, state, national, and even international levels. Sycamore provides an experience not found anywhere else. I have made many friends. Relationships have been built on mutual respect and admiration and I will cherish them. It is more than a school; it is a positive, healthy environment, where students, like young birds grow, and take flight.”
Chedda went on to attend the Indianapolis private school Park Tudor. “The entire Park Tudor community is incredibly saddened by the tragic loss of Varun Chheda, Park Tudor class of 2020. Our prayers are with his family at this difficult time,” Dennis Bisgaard, interim head of school, said in a statement to NBC News.
Wednesday’s statement was also issued by President of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels, to students and employees. The statement stated that “This is as tragic as we can imagine happening at our campus and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are affected by this horrible event.”
Authorities didn’t release any details on a possible motive. The investigation into Chheda’s murder is ongoing. According to booking records and authorities, Sha is currently being held in Tippecanoe County Jail on a preliminary charge of murder without bond. Records showed that no bond has been established for Sha.