Thousands attend vigil for slain Purdue student

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Thousands of people gathered on Purdue University's campus for a candlelight vigil Tuesday night to remember a student who was killed earlier that afternoon.

The students, many who "sheltered in place" only hours earlier with the fear of a gunman on campus, listened with a sense of relief, but with heavy hearts and minds focused not on their next assignment, but on the tragedy that has forever left a mark on Purdue.

Students held each other tight for comfort as well as warmth in the single-digit temperatures.

"You kind of have to forget about the cold for a second and just take a minute to be thankful I guess, because as sad as the event was, it could've been a lot worse since we have 30,000 undergraduates... things could have ended a lot worse," student Janai Rhodes said.

Andrew Boldt of West Bend, Wis., was fatally shot Tuesday in the Electrical Engineering Building on the school's main campus in West Lafayette. Police have arrested another student, 23-year-old Cody Cousins, on a preliminary charge of murder.

Police say they believe Cousins targeted Boldt but are still trying to determine a motive for the shooting.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels was traveling Tuesday but offered his prayers for Boldt's family in a statement read at the vigil:

"Violent crime, whenever and wherever it occurs, shocks our conscience and incites our rage. 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.

"Our prayers tonight are with Andrew and with his parents, who have suffered a loss beyond calculation or consolation. In our grief, we pause to thank this event's organizers, but equally each person in attendance. Through your caring witness, you are demonstrating your love for the Boldts, and for each other in the very special community we call 'Boilermakers.'"

Provost Tim Sands says he hoped the vigil would be the start of a healing process for the university.

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