VALPARAISO, IN – The death of Varun Raj Pucha, a student at Valparaiso University, was confirmed Wednesday by the university president, José D. Padilla. The tragic incident involved a stabbing at a local Planet Fitness in the Northwest Indiana area. Padilla described Pucha’s passing as an “immense loss”, particularly for those close to him.
The 24-year-old computer science student, who was due to graduate with his Master’s in December, died on Tuesday, November 7, following the incident on October 29. Authorities were alerted about a stabbing at the fitness center located on Strongbow Centre Drive and this led to the identification of a 24-year-old suspect, Jordan Andrade of Porter Township.
Initially detained on attempted murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon charges, Andrade’s charges are expected to be upgraded to murder. While no motive has been officially disclosed, the Northwest Indiana Times reported that Andrade has a history of severe mental health conditions.
Court documents indicated Andrade viewed Pucha as a threat within the gym environment. He claimed that the alleged folding knife used in the assault was previously used for opening boxes at his workplace. Pucha reportedly sustained a major stab wound in his right temple sufficient to reach his brain stem, which led to a survival prognosis of less than 5%.
Currently, Andrade remains in Porter County Jail with a court date set for January 19. The university has promised continued support to Pucha’s grieving family as they navigate through the tragedy. A memorial service is scheduled to be held on the university campus for Pucha on Thursday, November 16.