USC students were slain outside area patrolled by campus police
The neighborhood where two USC graduate school students were shot Wednesday lies about three blocks outside the area campus police regularly patrol, a university spokesman said.
The 2700 block of Raymond Avenue is a "response area" for school authorities, meaning they will come if called, Capt. David Carlisle of the USC Department of Public Safety said. But unlike areas directly north of campus, where the vast majority of USC students live, officers do not patrol Raymond around the clock.
“There’s always going to be a point to the limit of our resources,” Carlisle said. “And quiet frankly, the violent crime in that area is quite low.… We had no violent crimes in that area this year.”
Campus authorities say that in 2011, they added 13 "security ambassadors," 72 video patrol cameras and 50 license plate recognition cameras to the area west of Vermont Avenue in response to increases in the number of students living in the area. Carlisle said some of the security cameras are north of Jefferson Boulevard in the area where the crime occurred. But he called the double homicide "a tremendous surprise."
"I think, somewhat unfairly, USC is fighting their reputation of being a good school in bad neighborhood," Carlisle said. "In the five years I’ve been here, there have been five consecutive years of a decrease in violent crime. Generally, this is a safe area."
USC has a “memorandum of understanding” with the LAPD that allows their peace officers to make arrests. The boundaries specified by that agreement have remained unchanged for years, Carlisle said, with the exception of the westward expansion last year.
The slain students were identified Wednesday as Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23-year-old electrical engineering graduate students from China. Police are examining robbery as a possible motive in the case, but emphasized that it is very early in the investigation.
Wu was shot once in the chest. Qu was shot multiple times, including a gunshot wound to the head, police said. At some point, Qu got out of the car and attempted to get help. He collapsed on a nearby porch before being able to get help.
Both victims were pronounced dead at a local hospital.
-- Matt Stevens and Sam Quinones
Photo: Yellow tape marks the area near where two USC students were fatally shot. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times