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Slain USC students mourned at candlelight vigil

April 11, 2012 | 11:35 pm

Vigil for slain USC students

More than 500 students of various ethnicities, backgrounds and majors gathered Wednesday evening at a candlelight vigil to mourn Ming Qu and Ying Wu, Chinese graduate students who were murdered earlier in the day about a mile from the school.

Some clutched bouquets of white lilies. Others held white votive prayer candles, many of which were then placed on the ground in the shape of a heart. The students dressed in black and wore black stickers with white lettering in English and Chinese that read: “May the victims rest in peace.”

Several school officials, including the university’s provost, also attended the gathering for Qu and Wu, who police said were gunned down in Qu's BMW about 1 a.m. Wednesday in an attack that has shocked USC and rekindled long-held concerns about safety around the university.

PHOTOS: USC shaken by shooting deaths of two students

Qu and Wu were both 23 and were studying electrical engineering.

"We gather here today for something we never though we’d have to organize,” Weinan Wang, a  junior, economics major and president of the USC Chinese Scholars and Students Assn. told the vigil attendees in Chinese as they stood by the Tommy Trojan statute in the center of campus and bowed their heads in respectful silence.

Many of the students said they didn’t know Qu and Wu, but they wanted to express their solidarity at the event, which was organized by various Chinese and international student groups.

Four condolence books were provided for students to record memories and messages. The books would be given to the victims’ families later this month when they are expected to come to California, organizers said.

“If [Qu and Wu] were here today, they would be touched to see how many are gathered here,” Clayton Dube, executive director of the USC US-China Institute told the crowd.


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-- Rosanna Xia at USC

Photo: Students gathered on campus Wednesday night to mourn the two slain USC students at a candlelight vigil. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times