The family of Andrew Boldt, a student and teaching assistant who was shot to death in an electrical engineering building at Purdue University, asked for prayers for him as police on Wednesday investigated the killing, allegedly by a fellow teaching assistant.
“They [the Boldt family] are truly grateful for everyone’s prayers and support," wrote Father Nathan Reesman, a pastor at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Parish in West Bend, Wis., on the church’s website. “All the offerings to bring food and assist are very kind and the family feels the love of this community for them. For the moment, their request is simply that we pray.”
Reesman said a prayer vigil will be held at the church Wednesday night.
Cody Cousins, 23, was arrested in the shooting after he walked out of the engineering building and surrendered to police. He is being held at the Tippecanoe County Jail without bond on a preliminary charge of murder, pending a hearing Tuesday.
Purdue Police Chief John Cox said witnesses believed the shooting was “an intentional act” but said there was no immediate indication that Cousins and Boldt had past troubles, the Associated Press reported. Police have not said what the possible motive in the shooting was.
The Tuesday incident prompted campus-wide lockdown. No one else was injured.
Classes were canceled at the university Wednesday and counseling is being offered to students and employees. The university announced that the majority of the electrical engineering building would reopen at noon Wednesday, allowing faculty, staff and students to retrieve items they may have left behind.
Boldt, a Wisconsin native, was a member of the Boy Scouts and previously worked at John Deere as an enterprise electric drives services group intern, according to his LinkedIn page. He was expected to graduate this spring.
His Facebook page, which as of Wednesday morning was still online, showed he was a member of Purdue’s EPICS Kart Build Class, which is part of the school’s engineering projects in community service. He was also part of an alumni group for Marquette University High School Class of 2010, which has 107 members.
Hundreds of “Boilermakers," the official nickname for the university’s athletic teams and community members, gathered at the university Tuesday evening despite temperatures well below freezing to hold a candlelight vigil for Boldt, 21.
The vigil, which was about 35 minutes, featured performances by the campus drum line, band and choral groups, as well as speeches by some faculty members and students.
“Even though we may not have known him, his life was important and it was meant to be celebrated,” Allie Lang, a Purdue sophomore, told the Los Angeles Times. “One tragedy is one tragedy too many. It doesn’t matter that only one person was killed today. It should have never happened.”
In a statement read at the vigil, university President Mitch Daniels extended his condolences to family members, who he said “have suffered a loss beyond calculation or consolation.”
“Violent crime, whenever and wherever it occurs, shocks our conscience and incites our rage,” he said. “When it happens in our home, to a family member -- and as a Boilermaker Andrew Boldt was family to us -- those emotions are more powerful still.”
Daniels was in Colombia on a university-related trip when the shooting occurred but was making arrangements to return to campus, according to the university statement.
Police radio traffic, uploaded online by a local newspaper, Journal & Courier, described Cousins as a “white male with brown hair and a black T-shirt.” He had blood on him when they took him into custody. Toward the end of the nearly three-minute recording, police were instructed to enter the electrical engineering building in teams to “make sure” they didn’t “miss anything.”