Friends of slain USC students 'angered' over 'distorted reports'
Friends of the two USC graduate students who were killed in a shooting near the campus Wednesday are responding to what they say are false reports out of China, which focus on the make of the victims' car and suggest they were "showing off their wealth."
In a statement released Thursday, classmates and friends of Ying Wu and Ming Qu -- the 23-year-old victims -- said they are "deeply grieved and angered at the distorted reports of our friends."
Initially, some media outlets reported that Wu was found dead in a new BMW. Headlines in China have focused on the make of the car because luxury vehicles have become a political issue in the country.
But in their statement, friends say Qu recently purchased his used 2003 BMW with 80,000 miles on it so he could commute to a job after graduating this spring. They said the car lacked license plates because they had not yet arrived, not because the car was new.
"Ying and Ming lived a simple life during their nearly two-year study at USC," the statement said. "In order to keep their living expenses down, they both shared rooms with other classmates. Ying even chose to live on the west side of campus, where it is comparatively cheaper and less safe."
Early Wednesday morning, they were shot on Wu’s block, just outside of USC's patrol area. Qu was driving Wu home from campus.
The friends ended the statement by imploring people to "ignore the rumors and help tell the truth."
-- Rosanna Xia
Photo: Hundreds of USC students gathered on campus to mourn two graduate students at a candlelight vigil Wednesday night. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times