Purdue officials to review response to shooting as campus continues to heal
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.– Purdue University officials plan to review their response to Tuesday’s fatal shooting as the community continues to recover after the loss of one of their own.
Classes are expected to resume Thursday, but it is still unclear whether classes will be held inside the Electrical Engineering Building where a 21-year-old senior and teaching assistant, Andrew Bolt, was killed.
Authorities have not released a motive behind the shooting but have arrested 23-year-old Cody Cousins, who was also a teacher’s assistant.
“Purdue really comes together as one big team very, very fast,” said Ron Wright, director of emergency preparedness for the university. “We’re here to support basically everybody in the Purdue community (and) get them through this as best they can.”
Wright said they reopened the electrical engineering building at noon Wednesday to allow students who had to evacuate Tuesday an opportunity to pick up their belongings.
University officials are focused on helping students deal with Tuesday’s tragedy.
“We’re working to reassure our students that our campus is safe and helping them get back to normal,” said Jim Hintz, acting dean of students at Purdue.
Hintz said they are reaching out to Boldt’s friends, people who knew him and everyone who was impacted by this. Counseling is available now and whenever it is needed.
Police officials said Cousins targeted Boldt on Tuesday. They stressed the shooting was an isolated incident.
“We’ve had students approach us. We have had parents reach out and let us know they’re concerned about their individual student. We’re constantly doing outreach,” Hintz said.
Besides contacting Boldt’s friends, Hintz said they are in the process of reaching out to everyone who was inside the electrical engineering building yesterday. They have also spoken with students, who were in the classroom the moment Boldt was shot and killed. Hintz said they have directly contacted those students to provide initial services to them.
“Sometimes this sets in later, so like you said, tomorrow (or) next week (or) even in the month to come (we want to be there to help). We’re going to be sure we’ve (been) in touch with those students and to make it widely available that….if students are impacted by this down the road…we’ll be able to work with them and provide those counseling services and outreach support for them,” Hintz said.
As students and staff heal, university officials will also begin the process of reviewing their response.
Purdue’s director of emergency preparedness, Ron Wright, said they are going to put a team together that will be in charge of looking over everything.
“We’ve already started thinking about that, but in the future days we will be gathering a group together,” Wright said.
The team is called the ‘After Action Review Group’.
“It’s still too early. We’re still trying to digest everything and (we are) thankful that it was over reasonably quick(ly), but we’ll certainly take a look at everything and discuss it with all the public safety folks and others within the university that played a role,” Wright said.
Wright said this year they participated in active shooter training with local representatives. He said it was a table top discussion and he believes they learned something from that and that it more than likely helped them on Tuesday.
Cousins is scheduled to appear for an initial hearing on Thursday. He has been preliminarily charged with murder.