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USC students slain: Couple had moved in recently, neighbors say

 

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

Residents of the block where two USC students were fatally shot Wednesday say the victims were a couple often seen together, but they kept to themselves and rarely drove around town.

Police say a gunman opened fire on a BMW near the USC campus early Wednesday, killing the two international students from China in a bungled robbery attempt.

Hours later, neighbors Julia Martinez and Maria Perez recounted the events outside Martinez’s apartment in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue. They said the couple had moved into an apartment on the street just two to three months ago.

[For the Record,  8:20 a.m. April 12: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to South Raymond Avenue. The correct address is the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue just south of Adams Boulevard.]

PHOTOS: USC shaken by shooting deaths of two students

“They almost never talked to anyone,” Martinez said, adding the victims more often walked or biked than drove.

Perez said the students appeared to own a red Volkswagen they parked on the street and seldom used. But the victims were shot in a new BMW, police said.

Perez said she had gotten home after work about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday and soon after heard a loud noise that cut through the pounding of raindrops.

“I thought someone had fallen on the stairs because it was so rainy,” she said.

Across the street, Martinez said she heard the same noise, proceeded by “three blows” like the male victim “was trying to break the car window.” Then the women heard glass shatter onto the street and  the man get out of the car.

Neither of the women saw the alleged shooting, but said they heard cries for help. Police arrived later, and eventually removed the bodies.

Early Wednesday afternoon, other residents awoke to a grim scene.   

“It looked like a crime scene out of a television show,” resident Charlie Parker said of his block. “There was massive police presence.”

Word of the double homicide also reached members of the Chinese American student community at USC.

Eric Hau, 26, an international student from southern China who is studying biochemistry at USC, said he “heard a lot of helicopters” early Wednesday but wasn’t sure what had happened until he got word from friends Wednesday morning.

Said Hau simply: “We feel very sad.”   

RELATED:

Female USC student, man fatally shot near campus

Man shot at USC apparently was calling for help, police say

Man, woman fatally shot near USC were students from China, police say

-- Sam Quinones and Rosanna Xia

 
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