USC shooting: Campus visitor policies under review, president says
USC's president made his first public comment on the campus shooting that left four people injured on Halloween night, calling it a "disturbing incident" that has prompted administrators to assess and review visitor and event policies.
President C.L. Max Nikias' statement was posted online Thursday morning, hours after the shooting occurred in the heart of campus. Nikias said that while 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."
About 100 people were outside a party at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center when two men began arguing, authorities said. At about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, one man pulled out a gun and fired several shots at Geno Hall, a former Crenshaw High School football star. Three others were also wounded.
USC officials said about 400 people attended the Halloween party, which was sponsored by the Black Student Assembly. None of those involved in the shooting — either the two detained suspects or the four injured — attend USC, authorities said.
“Although this incident did not involve USC students and was resolved quickly, it strikes at the heart of the Trojan Family," Nikias said. "I understand the apprehensions and concerns of our campus community as we move forward. All of us have been shaken by serious incidents this year. Despite these events, or indeed because of them, we must continue to support each other as members of the Trojan Family."
Assistant Chief John Thomas of the USC Department of Public Safety said at a news briefing Thursday morning that the shooting was "totally an isolated incident" but some students raised concerns about the university's "open campus" policy, questioning whether non-USC students should be allowed at on-campus parties.
"It just makes me a little suspicious as to why there were so many people who were not students on campus," said Kelly Reinke, 18, a freshman studying broadcast journalism. "It makes me a little bit uncomfortable."
Ryan de Lara, a 20-year-old communications major, called the incident "surreal." She said she wasn't concerned about her safety but was shaken.
"Because we are not in the best area, it seems like maybe we should be a closed campus," she said.
Campus policy requires that any student parties on campus be open only to guests with student IDs from USC or another university.
Geno Hall's father also questioned the campus policy and whether the shooter was a college student. USC should keep those who are not in school away from campus parties, he said.
The younger Hall attends West Los Angeles College, Eugene Hall said.
The former high school football star was recovering in the intensive care unit at California Hospital after sustaining bullet wounds in the left thigh, stomach, back of leg, buttocks and arm, his father said.
"The doc says he'll pull through but they're keeping him up there," Hall said.
-- Kate Mather, Andrew Khouri and Ari Bloomekatz