USC Murder: Chinese Graduate Students May Have Been Shot, Killed for Their BMW
ATVN, USC's student television station, interviewed LAPD Commander Andy Smith at the scene:
Residents at nearby homes tell the Los Angeles Times that over the last decade, gang activity -- especially drug-dealing -- has increased in the area, which houses a mixture of students and working-class Angelenos.
Will this affect the perception of USC to Chinese students interested in studying abroad? We spoke with a reporter at the China Press in Los Angeles who felt that indeed, the double homicide will cause a scare back at home.
Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal just ran a piece this morning on the flood of Chinese applicants to U.S. grad schools. From the piece:
The outsized rate of growth in China is due in part to a concerted effort by some U.S. schools to attract Chinese students. The thinking, say school administrators, is that international students who stay in academia will connect U.S. schools with new research partners, while those entering the corporate world may become clients of business schools' lucrative executive education programs.
A whopping 25 percent of the USC graduate student body is international.
Damn this tragedy hit so close to home. My parents were Chinese graduate students. We JUST did a show at USC for international students. RIP— David Fung (@davidbfung) April 11, 2012
Nobody really has anything nice to say about the neighborhood in which this possible carjacking and cold-blooded murder took place. "You could have given me free rent and I still wouldnt have lived anywhere near 27th St and Raymond Ave, where 2 #USC students were shot," says one apparent alumnus on Twitter.
OK, now that two students were killed, can USC please tell students to not live west of Vermont? That area will NEVER be safe. Fuck.— Kat Bee (@katbeee) April 11, 2012
Updates to come on the identities of the victims as soon as they're available.
Update, 12 p.m.: Michael Jackson, vice president of USC Student Affairs, just posted this letter to the campus community.
Dear USC students, faculty and staff:
Many of you have heard or read about the tragic event that occurred early this morning in the neighborhood west of campus. Two of our international graduate students were shot and killed while sitting in a car on Raymond Avenue - near the intersection of Normandie Avenue and Adams Boulevard. We are not able to release the names of the students until we reach their next of kin.
Our community is saddened and outraged by this callous and meaningless act. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims' families and friends and all who knew them at USC. The university is reaching out to those affected, offering counseling and support.
The Los Angeles Police Department and our Department of Public Safety are working aggressively to solve this crime.
This incident occurred outside the neighborhood areas where over the past several years we have steadily increased our security presence, adding dozens of security and license plate recognition cameras, uniformed officers, and yellow-jacketed security ambassadors. However, tragedies such as this morning's remind us that we all need to be continuously vigilant about safety and security.
While crime in our community is low compared to other areas of Los Angeles, we want to reassure you about ongoing efforts to promote safety in the neighborhoods around campus, including a public safety task force for students, parents, faculty and staff; a community safety task force with the USC Family of Schools; and a collaboration on public safety issues between the Department of Public Safety and the area's neighborhood councils. These efforts, among others, have succeeded in significantly improving safety in our surrounding community.
Finally, we urge anyone who would like counseling or other support to contact Student Affairs at (213) 740-2421 or Student Counseling Services at (213) 740-7711. Other important resources include Trojans Care for Trojans, at sait.usc.edu/ca/tc4t/, and for faculty and staff needing assistance, the USC Center for Work and Family Life at (213) 821-0800. Chaplaincy services are also available through the Office of Religious Life at (213) 740-6110.
We will provide more information as we receive it on planned remembrances for our students.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Trojan family.
The Times has been interviewing more neighbors, who describe the slain couple as private and reserved. "They almost never talked to anyone," says resident Julia Martinez.
"They kept to themselves and rarely drove around town," reports the Times. The man and woman had apparently just moved into an apartment on Raymond a few months ago.