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Suspect in Purdue University shooting due in court Thursday

Cody Cousins, 23, the suspect in the shooting at Indiana's Purdue University is seen in this handout photo courtesy of the Tippacanoe County
Cody Cousins, 23, the suspect in the shooting at Indiana's Purdue University is seen in this handout photo courtesy of the Tippacanoe County

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) - A Purdue University student who police said barged into a classroom and fatally shot a teacher's assistant on the Indiana school's campus is due in court Thursday.

The shooting was the latest in a rash of gun attacks at schools across the United States that gun control advocates say illustrate the need for tighter controls on firearms.

Cody Cousins, 23, of Warsaw, Indiana, was being held without bond in Tippecanoe County jail and faces a preliminary murder charge, according to jail records. Prosecutors said his initial hearing is set for 2 p.m. local time on Thursday.

Authorities say Cousins killed Andrew Boldt, 21, at about noon Tuesday in a basement classroom of the university's electrical engineering building. Boldt, of West Bend, Wisconsin, was a senior in the College of Engineering, as is Cousins, the university said.

Authorities have not specified a motive for the attack but said the shooter seemed to target Boldt specifically and no one else.

Cousins was arrested when he exited the engineering building.

Classes were suspended Wednesday and counseling was being offered to students.

University spokeswoman Liz Evans said school officials would likely be looking at the incident to determine if they need to make any changes to security on campus.

The shooting followed others at schools in Philadelphia, New Mexico and Georgia, intensifying the national debate over gun control.

On Monday night, a student was shot and critically wounded outside an athletic center at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.

Last week alone, two students were shot at a high school in Philadelphia, another was shot at a high school in Georgia, and two students were shot at a middle school in New Mexico.

Gun ownership laws in the United States have come under scrutiny since December 2012, when 20 young children and six educators were shot dead by a long gunman at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City and David Bailey in Minneapolis, Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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