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Fort Wayne student describes lockdown in shooting situation

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 6:42 am

News-Sentinel reporter Cindy Larson and her husband, Steve, heard from their daughter, Claire, a student at Purdue University soon after a shooting took place Tuesday on the campus.

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, of Warsaw, on a preliminary charge of murder.

This is what Claire Larson reported:

Larson, a sophomore at Purdue, took a bus to class Tuesday morning. "I literally got dropped off out in front of the EE building about a half-hour before it happened," she said.

She saw nothing unusual as she walked to her class at Brown, two buildings south of the EE building. While in her chemistry lab she noticed a student walk up to the teaching assistant supervising the lab and show him something on a cell phone. The other students in the lab didn't get the initial text because their phones were to be put away during the lab.

Shortly thereafter a faculty member ushered a young woman sitting in the hall into the chemestry lab and told the teaching assistant to lock the doors and turn off the lights. Everyone in the room was told to stay on the ground behind tables, so it looked as if the room was empty, Larson said.

"Most people were pretty relaxed about it," Larson said. Although as students got out their cell phones and began to text and check social media to get more information - some of it erroneous -some students began to get nervous, especially those with friends in the EE building, she said.

At about 1:20 p.m. Purdue texted the all-clear message and the teaching assistant told the students in Larson's lab to finish their project. "Everything turned back to normal," Larson said.

Except it didn't, really. When she walked out of the building and saw helicopters hovering, "It was super weird. Scary," she said. A friend gave her a ride back to her apartment.

Back at home Larson's roommates and friend were almost euphoric with relief. Larson became more somber later, however, when she learned the victim had died. "My thoughts and prayers are with the victim and everyone involved, and I'm very thankful to be OK," she said.