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Posted: 5:19 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

No motive revealed in deadly Purdue shooting


Cody Cousins photo
Courtesy/Tippecanoe County Jail
Cody Cousins
Cody Cousins photo
Courtesy/Tippecanoe County Jail
Cody Cousins

By Breaking News Staff


Police investigating Tuesday's deadly Purdue shooting have offered no comments about a possible motive.

Cody Cousins, accused of killing another senior, in a basement classroom of the Electrical Engineering building on the Purdue campus about noon, is due in a Tippecanoe County courtroom Thursday for his initial appearance on a charge of murder.

Cousins, of Warsaw, Ind., is a 23-year-old former Clearcreek Twp. resident and 2008 Springboro High School graduate. He is a student in the college of engineering and a teaching assistant.

The victim, 21-year-old Andrew F. Boldt, of West Bend, Wis., was also a teaching assistant and apparently was targeted by Cousins, Purdue University Police Chief John Cox has said. Cousins surrendered to a police officer outside the building after firing four or five shots, Cox said. No one else was injured.

WSBT-TV, in South Bend, Ind., reported that the Cousins family left the Miami Valley after he graduated high school and moved to Warsaw. His younger sister, Savannah, attends Ball State University in Muncie.

Their mother is Dr. Wendy F. Melancon, assistant county director/psychologist at The Bowen Center in Warsaw. She conducts individual and family therapy as well as psychological assessments. She is a Wright State University graduate and once served as clinical operations coordinator of the Counseling Center at Wright State.

Her career also includes a stint as director of the Preble County office of the Good Samaritan Hospital Counseling and Treatment Centers.

Boldt's family has declined public comment, but the Rev. Warren Sazama, president of Marquette University High School in Wisconsin where Boldt graduated in 2010, said the family was in shock, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

"The mother said, 'You don't expect to get up in the morning and expect your son to be one in a million for a tragedy like this to happen,' " he said.

Former teachers described Boldt as someone who loved robotics and computers and was always willing to help others with technology issues. He spent two summers interning for John Deere in Silvis, Ill., according to his LinkedIn profile.

Reaction from those who know Cousins ranged from shock to confusion to heartbreak.

"I'm in shock. I'm confused. I don't want to believe that this actually has happened," said Thomas Gräber, a friend and former classmate who now attends Vincennes University in Indiana, told USA "Cody is a very nonviolent person, politically and personally. He would never tell a story about getting in a fight."

Those who knew each of the men described them as high-achieving students without discipline problems. They were teaching assistants in different courses, and but each course was taught by Professor David G. Meyer of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"He would just go out of his way to help me with anything," said one of Boldt's classmates, Niveah Tefillah Abraham.

Ron Malone, vice president of the Springboro school board and former Springboro High School principal, recalled Cousins as a bright student.

"If my memory serves me correctly, he was in the information technology program and an individual that was very bright, very strong in computers," Malone said.

Kayvon Samavati, of Fairborn, and a former school classmate of Cousins, said, " I remember he was a smart kid and a nice guy. This incident is very shocking news for me."

Dayton resident Sydney Albrecht, who attended middle school with Cousins, said, "Oh my God... he was one of the smartest guys I knew."

Melissa Spirek, chairwoman and professor of communication at Wright State University, said Emily Zeller, the wife of her godson Andrew Zeller, himself a graduate assistant at Purdue, was in the building where the shooting took place.

Emily Zeller, an assistant in Purdue's nanotechnology center, was not harmed.

"Everyone is stressed, especially with a graduate student being shot by a student," Spirek said, because her godson is a graduate teaching assistant at the university.

When asked for her reaction, Spirek said she felt "heartbreak have a student be the shooter...heartbreak for both families in so many ways. My heart goes out to the student, faculty and staff as well."

The Exponent, the student newspaper at Purdue, reported Tuesday night that police executed a search warrant at the residence in West Lafayette where Cousins lived. What, if anything, was found has not been reported. A spokesman for the West Lafayette Police Department said officers have had prior contact with Cousins in an alcohol-related arrest. No other details about that arrest were divulged.

According to media reports, immediately after the shooting students were initially told to stay in place until the building was cleared and the area fully searched. At about 12:45 p.m., other campus buildings were opened and the "shelter in place order" was lifted, the school tweeted.

A few minutes later, the school tweeted an all-clear. "No ongoing threat to campus. Resume normal operations. (Electrical Engineering) will remain closed."

A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night on the front steps of the Hovde Hall, near the Engineering Fountain, the student newspaper reported.

Wednesday classes at Purdue have been canceled and the electrical engineering building will be reopened sometime Wednesday, according to the Exponent.

Tonight, a Wisconsin church will hold a prayer service and rosary for Boldt. Details for the visitation and funeral Mass were still being finalized.

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