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USC students chased robber before he was shot by security

April 18, 2012 | 10:00 am

Shooting
Two of the four students robbed near fraternity row early Wednesday chased an armed assailant until a USC public safety officer took up the pursuit and shot the Compton-area gang member, police said

Police said the suspect approached four students -- three men and one woman --  at West 28th and South Figueroa streets near USC's fraternity row and demanded items, which he placed in a backpack before fleeing, said Lt. Andy Neiman of the LAPD.

Two of the male students followed the robber and flagged down a USC public safety officer, who they spotted near a Del Taco on Figueroa Street. The safety officer pursued the suspect in his car for a couple of blocks. The officer shot the suspect in the leg after he appeared to be reaching for a weapon, Neiman said. It is unclear whether he fired from his patrol car.

Two LAPD officers who saw the pursuit also witnessed the shooting, Neiman said.

Authorities have identified the suspect as Jeremy Hendricks, 24, who is being treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. He has multiple prior arrests for assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and robbery, according to LAPD officials. He is on probation for manufacturing dangerous weapons, officials said.

Hendricks is from Compton and police said they are investigating why he was in the USC area. According to sources, Compton gang members have been known to frequent the area around 43rd and Hoover streets.

Officials said it was too early to know whether the incident is related to the shooting deaths of two USC graduate students from China last week in the 2900 block of South Raymond Avenue. But sources familiar with the investigation said at this stage, they have not made any direct link.

The suspect's gun as well as property belonging to the students was recovered, Neiman said.

A memorial service for the students killed last week -- Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23-year-old electrical engineering students -- is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Shrine Auditorium.

No one has been arrested in connection with their deaths. The city and school have offered rewards totaling $200,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.

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-- Richard Winton, Andrew Blankstein and Stephen Ceasar

Photo: Officers investigate the scene of a shooting near fraternity row early Wednesday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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