Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

January 24, 2014

DAVE BANGERT: 'This happens on the news, not at Purdue'

Thousands gather for vigil after shooting

The guy standing at a North-western Avenue bus stop, just outside Purdue University’s Electrical Engineering Building, looked out of place from the window of Jordan Raynor and Alex Poerio’s apartment across the street.

“At first, the kid was just wandering around, like he didn’t know what was going on,” said Raynor, a Purdue junior. “It was like he didn’t have a backpack, no coat — just a T-shirt. It was weird.”

Less than a minute later, Poerio said, officers came at the guy from two directions, the man laid face down on the sidewalk and police had him handcuffed.

“We got a text from the university about a shooting a few minutes later,” Raynor said. “That’s just crazy. This happens on the news, not at Purdue.”

A lot of that was going around on the West Lafayette campus after a fatal shooting just after noon in a basement classroom in the Electrical Engineering Building — with one student accused of killing another student.

This happens on the news, not at Purdue.

“Except it does,” said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis.

“And it did,” Dennis said. “It’s a horrible day for this city. For this campus. For this state. Man.”

Man, is right.

“The fact of the matter is we are prepared for these type of events,” said Dennis, a former police officer. “Unfortunately, it’s not that big of an anomaly. … Today is a perfect example of that.”

Police swarmed, a suspect was caught and the university even tried to get back to normal — or as close to normal as possible, Provost Tim Sands supposed — within hours. Purdue Police Chief John Cox said he was confident this was a targeted situation, not someone bent on a random shooting spree. He also quickly knocked down rumors about a second shooter and other theories conjured during a campus lockdown.

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