Hundreds gathered at Purdue University despite temperatures well below freezing to hold a candlelight vigil for Andrew Boldt, a teaching assistant who was shot to death on campus, allegedly by another teaching assistant.
Boldt, 21, was killed about noon Tuesday in a classroom in the university's electrical engineering building, police said.
Tuesday night’s vigil was on the front steps of Hovde Hall at the West Lafayette, Ind., campus.
Allie Lang, a Purdue sophomore, said it was packed.
“It was really sad but also pretty inspiring that so many people were able to come together in such a short amount of time and just be there for one another,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Because it was 6 degrees outside, Lang said, the service was beautiful but brief, lasting about 35 minutes.
First, the Purdue band and drum line performed a cadence, she said. Then several faculty members and students spoke about the incident and Boldt. Two choral groups sang hymns, and there was a moment of silence.
Lang was in class in the mathematics building at the time of the shooting. She said it was important to attend the vigil to show support for Boldt’s family and the Purdue community.
“Even though we may not have known him, his life was important and it was meant to be celebrated,” she said. “One tragedy is one tragedy too many. It doesn’t matter that only one person was killed today. It should have never happened.”
The suspect, Cody Cousins, 23, was also a teaching assistant, officials said. He was being held in the Tippecanoe County Jail without bond on suspicion of homicide, campus Police Chief John Cox said at an afternoon news conference.
Sarah May, assistant director of the All Campus & Community Chorale and the PMO Kids Choir, told The Times that the vigil was a "simple expression of community and solidarity."
She believes the vigil was important for the community because "the only way you can respond to evil is with love."
May, 26, said that she did not know Boldt, but that some of the singers did.
"But everyone on campus is trying to pull together," she said. "It was good tonight to see people able to express their sorrow together."
According to Boldt's LinkedIn profile, he was a Wisconsin native and an Eagle Scout. He had been expected to graduate from Purdue this spring.
Lang and May were among those who took to social media to share their emotions about the vigil and the shooting, using the hashtags #prayforpurdue and #boilerstrong.
Here are some of the many Tweets:
Proud to be a Boilermaker and stand among thousands of the Purdue community for the candlelight vigil… http://t.co/oARwvbU5BJ— Vanessa (@vhen92) January 22, 2014
candlelight vigil was really great tonight besides the cold. Glad to see so many #purdue students there, really encouraging.— Arden Holderby (@ardenholderby) January 22, 2014