Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

USC students slain: 'This really scares me'

April 11, 2012 | 10:44 am

USC students slain: 'This really scares me'

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

Even before Wednesday's slaying of two USC graduate students from China, some students said they were taking precautions whenever they left the confines of the campus southwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Students were especially rattled Wednesday after waking up to find this text message on their cellphones from the university at 6:25 a.m.: "LAPD is investigating a homicide that occurred early this morning at 27th and Raymond."

The graduate students in USC's electrical engineering department were fatally shot about 1 a.m. Wednesday when a gunman opened fire on their BMW in what police believe was a bungled robbery attempt.

PHOTOS: USC shaken by shooting deaths of two students

One of the victims, a man in his 20s, attempted to run for help after being shot but never made it. He was found collapsed on a porch, police said. The other victim, a woman in her 20s, was found slumped over in the BMW parked in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue.

[For the Record,  8:20 a.m. April 12: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to South Raymond Avenue. The correct address is the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue just south of Adams Boulevard.]

When Lauren Broussard, a 20-year-old sophomore, realized how close that was to campus, she was startled.

"I know it's not the greatest neighborhood," she said, despite the security guards who patrol some streets. "But this really scares me. I'm worried about walking around that area. I'm a young woman; I have pepper spray. That's not going to go too far with a gun."

Broussard, who commutes from Sherman Oaks, was walking with her friend Julia Tabar, 20, a sophomore who lives on campus. Around them, students rode bikes and skateboards, and high school tour groups passed by.

Both women said they already took a number of precautions when they left the confines of USC -- even in daylight. For example, they started tucking away their cellphones after hearing a number of reports about students' phones being snatched out of their hands.

"The less I have, the better," Broussard said.

Tabar said she will not wander the surrounding streets alone at night. And if she and her friends are headed out in dresses and heels -- the kind of outfit that would prevent them from running -- they will call a campus service that will drop them off in the surrounding neighborhood.

"I've always been scared of going off campus," Tabar said. Now, after the shootings, "I'm going to have to get more cautious about what I do."


Man shot at USC apparently was calling for help, police say

USC students slain: Neighborhood 'was pure gangs,' resident says

Man, woman fatally shot near USC were students from China, police say

-- Ashley Powers

Photo: Neighbors go out onto Raymond Street amid police tape after a man and a woman were fatally shot today while in a car in the West Adams area of Los Angeles. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times