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Party violence tied to suspects charged in USC killings

May 22, 2012 |  2:34 pm

Slain USC graduate students

Two men charged Tuesday in the slaying of two USC graduate students from China are also connected to two shootings months earlier at parties in South L.A.

Los Angeles Police Department officials said forensic evidence found at the scene of the USC slayings matched evidence found in the two party shootings.

Both suspects face murder charges that could result in the death penalty. They are scheduled to appear in court later Tuesday.

Bryan Barnes, 20, of Los Angeles and Javier Bolden, 19, also face charges in a Dec. 3, 2011, attempted murder at a South L.A. party.  Barnes also faces a third count of attempted murder in connection with a shooting at another party in February.

Shell casings from those shootings were connected to the USC student shootings, according to prosecutors.

Barnes was taken into custody Friday afternoon by a team of LAPD SWAT officers, along with FBI and other federal agents who raided an apartment near the USC campus.

Bolden was arrested by the same team three hours later in Victorville and flown back to L.A. by helicopter.

Police sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation, said Barnes was the suspected gunman in the April 11 slaying of electronic engineering students Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23.

Bolden was believed to have been present when the students were gunned down during a robbery while sitting in Qu's parked BMW in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue, the sources said.

Detectives working on the two earlier shootings had followed some "very tenuous" leads that they believed tied the earlier incidents to the primary suspect in the USC case, a police source said.

The cellphone of one of the grad students helped lead police to their alleged killers, law enforcement sources told The Times.


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Photo: USC President C.L. Max Nikias bows before images of Ying Wu and Ming Qu before eulogizing the students at a memorial service last month. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times