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USC students killed: 1 shot while running for help; gunman sought

April 11, 2012 | 10:26 am

USC students killed: 1 shot while running for help; gunman sought

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

A gunman opened fire on a BMW near the USC campus Wednesday, killing two international students from China in a bungled robbery attempt, police said.

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, a few blocks from USC.

[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.]

Police said both were graduate students from China studying electrical engineering, and Los Angeles authorities were working with school officials and the Chinese consulate to notify their families.

A lone assailant is believed responsible for the slayings, said Cmdr. Andrew Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department. He said detectives had little to go on and were examining all possibilities.

“We’re just hoping we get a tip from someone in the area,” he said.

Homicide detectives were going door to door Wednesday, talking with neighbors in the 2700 block of South Raymond Avenue.

The area, several blocks from campus, has a mix of USC students and working-class people, and residents said the neighborhood once experienced a lot of gang activity, which had slowed down over the last decade as students moved in.

Police said crime has fallen precipitously in the neighborhood over the last two decades.

For many years, said resident Deatriz Moreno, "it was pure gangs" on the street until the 2000s, when students flocked to the area.

Julie Burleigh has lived on the block for the last decade, and said that while "it’s not super unusual to see cop cars here," the neighborhood is "fairly quiet."

"In the last 10 years, we’ve definitely seen the neighborhood get better and quieter," Burleigh said.

On Wednesday, detectives were reviewing intersection cameras, canvassing the neighborhood and talking to residents. TV news trucks were lined up along the street.


Female USC student, man fatally shot near campus

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

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

-- Sam Quinones and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Vivian Hernandez looks around as she tries to get her car out of the police tape area where a man and a woman were fatally shot Wednesday while in a car in the West Adams area of Los Angeles. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times