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Former Rutgers Student Indicted on Attempted Murder Charges in Campus Arson Case

10-Count Indictment Accuses Former Rutgers University Student of Setting Fire to Campus Building, Endangering 206 People and Causing $250K in Damage
Grand Jury Room
The grand jury room at the Middlesex County Courthouse Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) has announced a grand jury has handed up a 10-count indictment today charging a former Rutgers University student with setting fire to a campus building and endangering 206 people inside when the fire was ignited.

Shayam Sridhar a 21-year-old from Edison, was charged with six counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated arson and one count each of causing widespread injury or damage and criminal mischief for setting the fire at the Allison Road Classroom (ARC) Building on the Busch Campus in Piscataway on Tuesday December 20, 2014.

The police investigation determined that Sridhar set fire to a 30-foot section of a hallway and an adjoining classroom on the second floor of the ARC Building at 1:03 p.m.

The fire was extinguished by an overhead sprinkler, but damaged portions of the hallway and the classroom. The ensuing fire left the University with a $250,000 repair and cleanup bill.

According to the MCPO, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Scott LaMountain handed the indictment up in New Brunswick following a presentation to the grand jury.

The grand jury filed two counts of aggravated arson, contending Sridhar damaged the college building and endangered the people inside the building.

The grand jury also handed up six counts of attempted murder, charging the defendant purposely attempted to cause the deaths of a student who was studying on the second floor, as well as a professor and four proctors who were monitoring the test as it was being administered on the first floor.

The MCPO said that, Detective Todd Giese of the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) and Detective Todd O’Malley of the MCPO initially charged Sridhar on Christmas Day 2014.

Sridhar was apprehended only after Officer David Tingle of the Edison Police Department identified him from a photo obtained during the investigation.

Authorities also said that the defendant had been a student at Rutgers, but left during the fall term last year.