Residents, DPS urge students to be aware of surroundings
Jiangzang Zhang, a teaching assistant for an electrical engineering class, planned to return a midterm during office hours Wednesday morning. Zhang said he was surprised when Ying Wu, a student who is typically one of the first to arrive, had not shown up.
âSheâs usually one of the first people there, and I couldnât see her,â Zhang said. âAfter about 1 p.m., the news came out.â
After checking Facebook, Zhang learned that Wu and her friend Ming Qu had been fatally shot around 1 a.m. The shooting took place near the intersection of Raymond Avenue and 27th Street, about three blocks west of Vermont Avenue.
âI was really shocked, actually,â Zhang said. âAnd I also feel sad because sheâs somebody so close. Iâve known her for about a year.â
Zhang said Wu and Qu, both 23-year-old graduate students from China studying electrical engineering, were studious and diligent.
âThose people are incredibly hardworking, study at the library until 1 a.m. and then go back home,â Zhang said. âItâs not because they go to a party or something.â
In the wake of the double homicide, USC students and residents of Raymond Avenue expressed grief and shock and reflected on safety precautions near campus.
J.P. Chehade, a graduate student studying civil engineering, said he feels safer because of the security presence on campus.
âI wouldnât feel OK if the security wasnât there when I have to walk back to my car,â Chehade said. âSecurity makes a difference.â
Dept. of Public Safety Capt. David Carlisle said the incident emphasizes the importance for students to remain aware of their surroundings.
âWhat it points out is that all of us â students, faculty and staff â have to be ever vigilant because this situation may occur wherever you may be,â Carlisle said.
Sam Levy, a junior majoring in civil engineering, said the shooting has not changed his perception of safety around USC because of its distance from campus.
âI saw the location, which seemed pretty far from campus,â Levy said. âDouble homicide is pretty big, but I feel like it was far enough away where I donât feel any more in danger now than I was before. Raymond and Normandie doesnât feel that close to me.â
Several residents of the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue said they were woken by the gunshots early Wednesday.
âI remember I was sleeping,â said Johnny Rivera, a 22-year-old student at East Los Angeles College. âI was so deep into my sleep. I just dropped down to the floor, and I kind of panicked because I have my sisters in the house and everybody.â
Rivera said, in recent years, more USC students have moved into the area. He said USC students should remain aware of their surroundings, but some of the concerns about safety are exaggerated.
âIâve lived here my whole life, situations like this donât occur that much,â Rivera said. âThey should be aware, but itâs not even as bad as they say it is, like in movies.â
DPS has not had a report of violent crime in that neighborhood this year, Carlisle said.
âThis particular crime occurred in an area that doesnât have a history of violent crime,â he said.
Lynn Rossi, a Raymond resident who works as an armed security guard, said she also heard the gunshots Wednesday morning. Sitting on the wooden porch of her residence, Rossi said she believes the neighborhood is generally safe.
âI think itâs safe for students, but I do think there needs to be better security in this area in general,â Rossi said. âThere should be more patrols through here.â
Though the neighborhood is about three blocks outside DPSâs patrol boundaries, Carlisle said DPS has some license plate recognition cameras on the perimeter of the neighborhood and some video patrol cameras in the community.
âItâs a tragic crime, one thatâs very rare,â Carlisle said. âItâs an aberration and our hearts go out to the families of these poor students.â
Joey Kaufman contributed to this report.