USC student killings: LAPD had suspect's name day after shooting
Within a day of the fatal shooting of two USC graduate students in April, LAPD detectives had determined the identity of one of the suspects, according to a search warrant in the investigation.
The search warrant reviewed by NeonTommy shows that shortly after the killing of Wu Ying and Qu Ming about 3/4 of a mile from campus, LAPD detectives focused on Bryan Barnes as the primary suspect.
According to the warrant, a witness identified him in an earlier shooting tied to the same weapon used to kill the two Chinese graduate students.
Det. Erbie Phillips obtained a search warrant for Barnes’ Facebook account April 12, a day after the killings. Detectives then began surveillance on Barnes, who with 19-year-old Javier Bolden is charged with the murders.
Detectives had recovered several shell casings from a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun, and those casings were subsequently matched to those found at two previous shootings at parties in December and February.
In the search warrant obtained by NeonTommy, which was subsequently sealed by the court, the detective and an LAPD sergeant said they met with a witness.
In a sworn statement seeking the warrant from L.A. County Superior Court Judge Kelvin Filer, Phillips stated, “During initial interview, [the witness] mentioned to Detectives that he could positively identify the shooter in this case. [The witness] had researched information that he received from partygoers and located a man by the name of [Bryan Barnes].”
According to the affidavit, the witness said that after talking to other partygoers that night, he was able to find the alleged gunman's Facebook page. With detectives present, the witness navigated to Barnes’ profile, pointed at the screen and said, “That’s him! That’s the guy that shot [one of the Feb. 12 victims].”
The page featured photos of Barnes and his friend Bolden and included images of the No Respect Inc party crew and the Black P Stones gang logo. Neither suspect was considered a gang member.
According to Neon Tommy, the Facebook search warrant sought basics about the subscriber — Barnes’ gender and birthday, his location details and various IP addresses. Police requested access to his stored files, everything from his mini-feed and status updates to private messages with users on his "friend" list.
Barnes and Bolden were taken into custody May 18, Barnes at home in South L.A. and Bolden at a social worker’s home in Palmdale.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Scene of USC shooting. Credit: Los Angeles Times.