WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — One person was killed inside a Purdue University classroom Tuesday by a gunman who surrendered to a police officer within minutes of the attack in Midwestern Indiana state, officials said.
Purdue Police Chief John Cox said the man appeared to have targeted the victim, also male, around noon in a basement classroom of the Electrical Engineering Building. He didn’t attack anyone else.
“The individual entered the facility and took the actions that he took, and then immediately left the facility without any other interaction that we’re aware of,” Cox said.
The suspect gave himself up to a West Lafayette police officer outside the building on the 40,000-student campus, he said.
Cox and Purdue Provost Tim Sands told reporters during an afternoon news conference that they had not yet confirmed the identities of either the suspected gunman or the victim.
Cox said the man arrested wasn’t immediately co-operating with investigators.
Purdue officials issued a text alert telling those on the campus about 60 miles (96 kilometres) northwest of Indianapolis to seek shelter shortly after the shooting was reported. Within two hours, the university said there was no ongoing threat on campus and allowed normal operations to resume in all buildings except the engineering facility.
Purdue officials considered the campus to be secure, said Sands, who in June will become president of Virginia Tech, the university where an April 2007 campus massacre left 33 dead.
“We’re encouraging students to continue about their usual business on the rest of the campus except for the Electrical Engineering Building,” he said.
Cox, the campus police chief, said authorities responded aggressively after the shooting was reported, with about 20 campus and city police officers at the building within minutes.
The Purdue attack came on the heels of at least two school shootings in the U.S. last week, one in Philadelphia that left two teenagers wounded and another in New Mexico that injured an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.
Students at Purdue described a chaotic scene when the first report came in.
Julissa Martinez, a nursing student from Portage, said she was in psychology class on another part of campus when she received the text message saying the university was on lockdown. She said her professor briefly kept teaching, then stopped lecturing so that students could contact people to let them know they were safe.
“He tried to get everything under control because people were freaking out,” she said.