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Wisconsin native shot, killed at Purdue University remembered as exceptional student

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- As an undergraduate teaching assistant in electrical engineering at Purdue University, Andrew Boldt was a professor's dream.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- As an undergraduate teaching assistant in electrical engineering at Purdue University, Andrew Boldt was a professor's dream.

"Someone you hire four times in a row is truly exceptional," Purdue professor David G. Meyer said Wednesday. "Through his work, I knew him to be a wonderful person, very pleasant. I can't imagine anyone not liking him."

Boldt, 21, a senior from West Bend, Wis., was gunned down in front of other students Tuesday in a basement lab inside Purdue's Electrical Engineering building.

The alleged gunman, Cody M. Cousins, 23, is due to make his initial hearing Thursday afternoon at Tippecanoe County Jail.

Like Boldt, Cousins was an undergraduate teaching assistant.

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The slaying has shocked the campus community and left people grasping for a reason why such a horrific act occurred.

With a light snow blanketing the Purdue campus Wednesday, there was little activity, since classes were canceled. Some students returned to the electrical engineering building to recover their belongings while school officials made plans to reopen the campus Thursday.

In an interview in his office, Purdue University Provost Timothy Sands said, "It'll be a matter of days or weeks before we really understand.

"No one understands what the motive was," Sands said. "Clearly, it was a situation where one individual was seeking out Andrew specifically. It wasn't a case of a random shooting. It was a targeted incident. It's one of the things you hope doesn't happen but it did."

E.J. Williams, a junior from Zionsville, Ind., said Boldt was the go-to teaching assistant for such classes as Digital System Design and Microprocessor System Design and Interfacing.

Williams said Boldt would help students at all hours of the day, and recalled how he would often stay up until 4 in the morning to help tutor undergraduates.

"If you asked me who I thought was the top electrical engineering student, it was Andrew," Williams said. "He liked teaching people. He really enjoyed it."

Williams also recalled how Boldt was deeply involved in the Purdue Grand Prix, an annual go-kart event in which student teams design, build and race vehicles. Williams added that Boldt was a leader in the Cary residence hall.

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"Cary is a very close-knit group," Williams said.

Ashley Eidsmore, a graduate teaching assistant who worked with Boldt, said: "No one can comprehend why this terrible event occurred."

In an email, she said when the shooting occurred, she was right down the hallway and "the first thing I tried to do was to reach Andrew."

"He was such a motivated and passionate TA (teaching assistant) and a loved individual," she said.

She said Boldt was "the sort of individual with a positive outlook on everything, who wrote emails with exclamations of excitement and wore shorts all year long."

Eidsmore said she was glad to have told Boldt "all the good things" faculty and staff members had said about him.

She said Boldt responded: "I'm not sure what (professor) Meyer or whoever else (might) say about me, but I'll try to live up to whatever it is."

Eidsmore said, "I just wish he had the chance to do so."

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"He was loved by so many," she said, "and will be missed by all."

More than 120 people attended a prayer service Wednesday night for Boldt at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Parish in West Bend.

Boldt attended the parish's school for his last few years of grade school, the Rev. Nathan Reesman said.

One of his instructors, Terry Gardon, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade math, said she remembers Boldt as a sharp student who quickly understood the lessons and then helped others.

Her son, Sean, was a classmate of Boldt's, and Gardon said she is grieving more as a mother and parent than as a teacher.

"I can only imagine the torment the family must be going through," she said, as tears filled her eyes.

At the start of the service Wednesday night, Reesman acknowledged everyone was filled with "questions and sorrows" about the violent act that took a young life.

But he also sees another side.

"I'm amazed at people's ability to come together and decide this is not going to stop them," he said.

Related Topics: CRIME
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