Friends heard screaming through online game as Purdue student was killed

Police are still trying to work out a possible motive for Varun Manish Chheda’s killing. They said it is under investigation.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — 13News is learning new details about the moments leading up to the killing of a Purdue University student

The student killed was identified as 20-year-old Varun Manish Chheda of Indianapolis. 

Purdue University Police Chief Lesley Wiete identified the suspect as 22-year-old Ji Min Sha, Chheda’s roommate and a junior who is studying cybersecurity at Purdue.  

Purdue University Police confirm with 13News that Chheda was online gaming with friends the night he died.

One of those friends, Andrew Wu, told 13News he was participating in that game with Chheda. The two attended Park Tudor School together. 

Wu claims he heard screaming through the gaming platform.

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Purdue University Police Detective Lt. Matt Rosenbarger said Sha was not online or gaming with friends, as a student news outlet had reported. Wu confirmed the same to 13News, saying Sha was not participating with their online game.

Another friend, who knew Chheda, posted a tribute on social media. He said they were childhood friends and went to school together for 12 years.

“Varun was many things but above all, he was brilliant, humble, ethical, and family-driven,” said Arunabh Sinha. “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.”

Chheda was a junior at the university and studied data science. He was also in the Purdue Honors College.

As of Thursday afternoon, Sha had not been formally charged. He is being held in jail for murder.

According to police, it was Sha who called 911 the night of the killing.

Police are still trying to work out a possible motive for Chheda’s killing. They said it is under investigation.

A preliminary autopsy Wednesday found Chheda’s cause of death was determined to be multiple sharp force traumatic injuries.

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