Purdue student who confessed to killing his roommate apologizes, says he was ‘blackmailed’

  • Varun Manish Chheda, a 20-year-old Purdue University student, was murdered in his dorm room in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Wednesday.

  • A preliminary autopsy revealed that the data science senior had died of “multiple sharp-force traumatic injuries” to the head and neck.

  • Chheda’s roommate, 22-year-old Ji Min Sha, was taken into custody after confessing to killing him with a knife.

  • At an initial hearing, Sha told reporters that he was “very sorry” but claimed that he was “blackmailed,” without elaborating.

  • Sha, an international student from South Korea, is set to be formally charged on Thursday.

A Purdue University student who confessed to murdering his roommate last week has apologized for the crime and claimed he was blackmailed.

Ji Min Sha, 22, a junior studying cybersecurity at the university in West Lafayette, called 911 at 12:44 a.m. on Wednesday to report that he had killed his roommate, Varun Manish Chheda, with a knife.

Chheda, a 20-year-old senior majoring in data science, was found dead on a chair in their first-floor room at McCutcheon Hall. A preliminary autopsy determined that he died of multiple sharp-force traumatic injuries to the head and neck.

Sha was taken into custody after being found in the same room with blood on his body and clothing. A folding knife was also found on the floor.

Ji Min Sha. Image via Tippecanoe County Jail

Sha, who goes by the nickname “Jimmy,” is an international student from South Korea. At an initial hearing on Friday, he told reporters “I’m very sorry” and said “I was blackmailed,” without elaborating.

Purdue University Chief of Police Lesley Weite is convinced that the attack was unprovoked.

“I believe this was unprovoked and senseless,” Weite said. “Our hearts go out to the victim and his family and friends. I can’t even imagine what his family is going through.”

So far, police have confirmed that Chheda was gaming online with friends on the night he was killed. One of those friends, Andrew Wu, told WTHR that he suddenly heard screaming.

Another friend, Arunabh Sinha, told NBC News that while he was not playing with Chheda at the time, he was told of the attack and that his friends did not know what was going on.

Chheda, who was of Indian descent, was a National Merit Scholarship award winner and a national runner-up in the 2016 Science Bowl Competition. An obituary described him as an “inquisitive” person who “loved the sciences” and had a “contagious” passion for any subject matter.

In a letter, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels assured students that a “thorough investigation” is ongoing and that the Office of the Dean of Students, Residence Halls, and Counseling and Psychological Services are providing support to those who need or want their care.

Sha is scheduled to be formally charged on Thursday. He remains held without bond at Tippecanoe County Jail.


Featured Image via FOX59 News (left) and Facebook (right)

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way.  Thank you for everyone's support. We love you all and can't appreciate you guys enough.

Support NextShark

Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Paypal