VALPARAISO, Ind.— A Valparaiso University student was fatally stabbed at a Planet Fitness gym in Northwest Indiana, and a 24-year-old man is suspected in the attack. The university president confirmed the death of Varun Raj Pucha, describing it as a significant loss for the campus community. Pucha, who was set to graduate in December with a Master’s degree in Computer Science, was found stabbed at the fitness center on October 29. The suspect, Jordan Andrade, initially faced charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, but the charges are expected to be upgraded to murder.
Authorities have not stated a motive for the stabbing, but it has been reported that Andrade has a history of serious mental health conditions. The attack occurred while Pucha was seated in a massage chair inside the gym. According to court documents, Andrade claimed that he believed Pucha was a threat. When questioned about the folding knife used in the killing, Andrade said he had previously used it for opening boxes at work.
Pucha suffered a stab wound to his right temple, which reached his brain stem, leaving him with a slim chance of survival. Andrade is currently being held at the Porter County Jail, with his next court appearance scheduled for January 19.
The Valparaiso University community is mourning the loss of Pucha, who was described as a dedicated student and a valued member of the campus family. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, and authorities are working to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the attack.
This tragic incident highlights the importance of mental health awareness and the need for support systems for individuals struggling with mental health conditions. The Valparaiso University community is coming together to remember Pucha and provide support to those affected by his untimely death.