WEST LAFAYETTE — Varun Chheda will be remembered as kind, intelligent and passionate by one of his closest friends.
Chheda was killed in his Purdue dorm room overnight Wednesday. His roommate, 22-year-old Ji Min Sha, called the police to report the death. Sha has been preliminarily charged in Chheda’s murder.
Andrew Wu said he knew Chheda through middle school and high school. Both he and Chheda went to Park Tudor School in Indianapolis.
”He was really just the best guy you ever wanted to hang out with,” Wu said.
Wu said he and Chheda stayed in touch after high school by playing video games online together almost every day.
”We played tons of different games,” Wu said. “He’s smart, he knows what to do, he’s very passionate about the games and he’s very passionate about everything, he puts his everything into everything.”
The Tippecanoe County Coroner’s Office said Chheda’s cause of death was “multiple sharp traumatic injuries.”
“It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to do this to him,” Wu said.
Chheda was a 2020 graduate of Park Tudor. Wu graduated in 2019 and now attends MIT. Wu said despite being a year older, he and Chheda had a lot of the same classes together.
”He did everything in high school,” Wu said. “Science Bowl, he did Math Olympiads, Science Olympiads. He did everything and he did it very, very well.”
Wu said he and Chheda competed together in Science Bowl.
”He was the smartest kid I ever met in science bowl, any subject; geography, geology, math, chemistry, physics,” Wu said. “He knew it all.”
When asked about Chheda’s roommate, now accused of the killing, Wu said he doesn’t know much.
”He never mentioned anything about him, really,” Wu said.
CBS4 cameras were there as Sha was brought into the Tippecanoe County Jail. I asked him if he had anything to say.
”I love my family,” Sha said.
The Purdue Police couldn’t tell us what weapon was used in the killing and did not have a motive to share yet, but did share this about the scene.
”Neither one of them were asleep and I believe this was unprovoked and senseless,” said Purdue Police Chief Lesley Wiete.
Wu said he can’t believe something like this would happen. He had just been with Chheda a month ago at Purdue. Heading into his senior year, Wu said Chheda didn’t know what he wanted to do after college but Wu knew he would be great.
“He was focusing on his classes and he was studying,” Wu said. ”Very clearly wanted to work in some science and make some kind of difference, its just sad he couldn’t.”
CAPS, Purdue’s counseling service, is accepting walk-ins and police encourage anyone affected by this killing to seek help there.
Other Purdue students left flowers and letters on the Unfinished Block P. There is a vigil scheduled for 8 p.m. there Wednesday night.