Purdue professor survives shooting; husband dead

Published: .
Updated: .

Friday was intended to be a "day of healing" for the Purdue University campus, but the West Lafayette community finds itself facing another tragedy after a professor was shot overnight.

Marcia Gentry, a 51-year-old Purdue professor, is in serious condition after being shot multiple times inside a home on Farmstead Lane Thursday night. The Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office says they found Gentry's husband, William Byers, 64, dead inside the home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Gentry was taken to IU Health Arnett Hospital, then transferred to Methodist Hospital where she was upgaded later Friday to fair condition with gunshot wounds to the lower extremities.

Gentry is a professor in Purdue's Department of Educational Studies and Gifted, Created and Talented Studies. She is also the director of the Gifted Education Resource Institute.

The university held a previously scheduled Day of Healing to help students deal with the shooting death of student Andrew Boldt, who was killed last week. His alleged attacker and fellow student 23-year-old Cody Cousins entered a plea of 'not guilty' to a murder charge. 

Purdue students gathered around dogs and puppies at a university gym to play and pet the animals. Purdue University created the Day of Healing as a non-traditional emotional support atmosphere for students still recovering from last week's murder.

The dogs, cooking classes and other special activites help the students feel more comfortable.

"They're so sweet and calm, and just petting them relieves so much stress," said student Sami Wagner. "It allows you to stop thinking about your worries and just kind of lose yourself in something that cares unconditionally."

Along with the therapy dogs, Purdue had counselors available to speak with students, and many of those counselors passed around their calling cards. One counselor said from what he's seen, students have been remarkably resilient. The university says it will continue to urge students to talk to counselors in the coming months.