USC shooting: Halloween party billed as safe with 'no worries'
A Halloween party in the heart of the USC campus where four young men were shot and wounded was pitched as a safe, officially sanctioned event: "Strict Off Duty Officers plus Campus [Police] = No Worries."
"Freak or Greek" was publicized across social media as a college costume party by LA HYPE in association with USC Black Student Assembly. The party was free to USC students, and half price to those in costume or in fraternities or sororities.
But the event -- scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. -- turned violent about 11:45 p.m. when a gunman opened fire and wounded four people after an argument. Former Crenshaw High football stars Davonte Smith and Geno Hall were among the wounded. Hall suffered at least seven bullet wounds, his father said, and is expected to survive after undergoing surgery for three hours.
Representatives for LA HYPE could not be reached for comment.
But a USC student who helped organize the party said the celebration "became unorganized" as throngs of people showed up and organizers tried to keep those without student identification cards out.
"We were turning people away [without ID's].... Some left and some didn't," said Roger Bayyan, a junior studying film.
Bayyan said the party was very popular and many non-students may have thought the event was open to all. He said the party was intended for college students.
About 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, "some people started pushing each other" because they were angry "because we had to turn people away," Bayyan said.
It's unclear what the men were arguing about before the shooting.
In a statement posted on the university's website, USC President C.L. Max Nikias called the shooting a "disturbing incident" that has prompted administrators to assess and review visitor and event policies.
Nikias said that although the risk of such an episode on campus "is very low, it reminds all of us that we must look out for ourselves and be particularly vigilant about the personal safety of friends and guests at our social events."
-- Richard Winton and Ari Bloomekatz