September 27, 2016

Police arrest men after 2 Purdue students injured by pellet gun

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University police have arrested two men after an incident early Tuesday (Sept. 27) morning in which two Purdue students were injured by shots from a pellet gun.

Christopher W. Smith, 20, of Frankfort, faces a preliminary charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Austin R. Smith, 18, of Frankfort, faces a preliminary charge of attempted criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon. Both men were in a vehicle with a third male who also is from Frankfort. None of the men is affiliated with the university.

Purdue police were contacted about 2:40 a.m. by the first victim, who said approximately an hour earlier he was walking south on Grant Street between State and Wood streets when he felt something strike his chest. The Purdue student continued to his residence and initially did not seek medical treatment.

Officers searched the area and shortly after 3 a.m. stopped a vehicle leaving the Wood Street Parking Garage. Inside the vehicle officers recovered a pellet gun with a scope. Officers determined there was no ongoing threat to campus, and all three of the males were interviewed by police, leading to Christopher Smith’s arrest at about 4:45 a.m. Austin Smith was arrested Tuesday afternoon after further investigation.

Shortly after 5 a.m., police were notified of a second student who was being treated at St. Elizabeth East for a chest injury. The victim told police he was riding his bike home about 3 a.m. when he felt something strike him in the chest as he was at the intersection of Grant and Wood streets. He initially did not seek treatment for the injury, but then drove himself to the hospital when the pain worsened.

Upon encouragement from Purdue police, the first victim was later transported by Purdue ambulance to IU Health Arnett Hospital, where he is being treated for his injury.

Staff from Purdue’s Office of the Dean of Students were with the victims to offer support and assistance and to work with their family members.

Both suspects are being held in Tippecanoe County Jail on $10,000 surety bonds. Purdue police chief John Cox said the other man has not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone in the area from 1-3 a.m. who might have witnessed anything suspicious or was potentially struck by an object is asked to call the Purdue Police Department at 765-494-8221. The WeTip anonymous hotline, which is used by all Greater Lafayette law enforcement agencies, also is available at 1-800-78CRIME (1-800-782-7463).

The fact a person has been arrested or charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law. 

Sources: John Cox, 765-494-8221,

Katherine Sermersheim, dean of students, 765-494-1257,

Emergency Contact Information

Emergency:  911
Phone: 765-49-48221

Emergency:  911
Phone: 765-49-46919

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