USC shooting: Classes to be held as normal after suspects detained
As authorities concluded their on-campus investigation into the Halloween shooting at USC that wounded four people, classes were scheduled to continue as normal on Thursday, officials said.
"The campus is now open," read an early morning email alert from the university. "Classes are in session."
With two suspects quickly apprehended, USC officials turned to their next challenge: trying to reassure students, parents and the public that the campus is safe.
In April, two foreign graduate students from China were gunned down while sitting in their car, which was parked in a neighborhood off campus.
On Wednesday night, an argument broke out between two men outside the Ronald Tutor Center, where a party hosted by a campus student organization was being held, officials said. Moments later, one of the men pulled out a gun and shot his intended target in the torso three or four times, they said.
That victim was critically injured and was undergoing surgery at a local hospital. Three bystanders were also wounded with non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.
Authorities said the two suspects were chased by campus security officers and were quickly taken into custody about a football field's length away from the crime scene.
Asst. 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."
"There is no pending danger" to the university, he said.
None of the people involved in the matter were USC students, faculty or staff, authorities said.
In a statement issued on the university's website, USC's vice president for student affairs, Michael L. Jackson, said that campus policy requires that student parties be open only to guests with student IDs from USC or another university.
"This incident reminds us that we must look out for ourselves and be particularly vigilant about the personal safety of friends and guests at our social events," Jackson said in the statement.
It is unclear whether anyone was checking identifications at the event. The shooting took place outside the party, where about 100 people were gathered, officials said.
Students who witnessed the incident described a chaotic scene.
"You hear one shot and you're like, 'Wait, what was that?'" said Matthew Hamilton, a graduate student who witnessed the incident. "As soon as it registered, everyone just ran."
USC student Ashley Riegle, 27, said the gunfire seemed to occur "out of nowhere."
"Everyone ran. Everyone ran like hell," she said. "We just ducked down."
-- Kate Mather and Andrew Blankstein