Suspect’s friend: ‘He wasn’t violent’

The scene on Purdue University's campus after the fatal shooting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.
The scene on Purdue University's campus after the fatal shooting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Tom Novak was in his Purdue University literature class when he heard there was a shooting on campus.

“A lot of rumors were circulating,” said Novak. “We thought there were two shooters at one point.”

It wasn’t until several hours later that Novak learned the alleged identity of that shooter. That shooter, was his friend.

“Cody? I can’t believe it,’ said Novak. “Cody? Cody? I’m very surprised, man.”

Novak said he met Cody Cousins through his roommate last summer.

He describes Cousins as a friendly guy, one with a small social circle, and one who always acted like he had something to prove.

“You could tell there was always a lot going behind his head,” said Novak. “He was very, I don’t want to say argumentative, but he used to always play devil’s advocate. You know, when he had a point, he would always argue it. It was kind of like, if he was right, he was right.”

Novak said since he’s known Cousins, he’s always been a calm person.

“He wasn’t violent,” said Novak. “That’s the thing, you know? He never threatened anyone. So, I really don’t know what the situation was between him and the victim.”

Yet, Novak said he does know one thing. Cousins is a smart guy and a guy who Tuesday, made a not so smart decision.

“Whatever happened to him that turned him into something so sinister, it’s surprising and I guess it just goes to show that, I mean, you never can tell,” said Novak.

Novak also told News 18 that never once during their friendship did Cousins ever mention anything about guns or owning a gun.

As of Tuesday evening, police were still unsure if the gun used in Tuesday’s shooting was owned by Cousins. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, off topic, or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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