The Los Angeles Police Department and the university held a press conference Friday afternoon to encourage public help in finding the people responsible for the death of two graduate students shot dead early Wednesday morning.
Viterbi School of Engineering graduate students Ming Qu and Ying Wu were fatally shot early Wednesday morning while sitting in Qu’s car near the intersection of Raymond Avenue and 27th Street.
LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon welcomed the media and community, noting the rainy weather of both the press conference and the morning of the murder.
“[The rain] is exactly like the weather that evening, if there is any symbolism to that,” Gannon said.
[Update: 1:22 p.m.] Gannon said detectives will work in the same fashion that they would to solve all murders. Both the FBI and the LAPD Save Our Streets task force are assigned to the investigation.
It appears that the unknown suspect used a hand gun to fire two or three shots at Qu and Wu through the driver’s window of Qu’s car. The possible suspect was last seen wearing dark clothes running southbound on Raymond Avenue at about the same time a black sedan was leaving the area. The race and gender of the suspect is unknown.
“In the end, successful resolution to this case will only happen with the help of the public,” Gannon said.
[Update: 1:25 p.m.] The area near the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue where the crime took place has seen a decrease in crime by in the past few years, Gannon said. Violent crime is down 50 percent in the last five years.
“This is a great neighborhood. This is a great community. We’ve had a total of three murders in the last five years,” Gannon said.
[Update: 1:32 p.m.] The university has arranged for the Qu and Wu’s families to travel to Los Angeles, and they will be here shortly, said Michael L. Jackson, vice president of student affairs.
Todd Dickey, senior vice president of administration, said the university is offering a $125,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects.
“[USC] is working in cooperation with the LAPD by offering a reward of $125,000,” Dickey said.
[Update: 1:43] Jacqueline Hamilton said Wu was a determined young woman. She spent a lot of time at the library and enjoyed cooking.
“She was a member of our family,” said Hamilton, Wu’s host mother since June 2011, who has hosted about 25 international students.
Hamilton said she doesn’t know if she can call it dating, but Wu and Qu saw each other frequently and had developed a close relationship.
“I’ve never seen Ying happier than in the last three weeks. They were at that stage in their relationship where they couldn’t bear to be apart,” Hamilton said.
She said she urges people to come forward with information about the murder.
“They were modest students trying to make a life for themselves,” Hamilton said.
[Update: 1:53 p.m.] Gannon said there is property of Qu and Wu’s that is unaccounted for, which could indicate a robbery. He said he cannot disclose information about the property.
There is no evidence that indicates the murder was gang-related, Gannon said. Investigators are not ruling out that more than one person was involved.
When LAPD arrived at the scene, the engine of the Qu’s car was running, the driver’s window of Qu’s car was broken, and all other windows were rolled up.
“I won’t let some idiot with a gun take away from my sense of safety,” Hamilton said. “No one should blame these two people for anything.”
“I’m so grateful to USC for offering up this reward,” Gannon said.
[Update: 1:57 p.m.] Qu and Wu’s parents and some extended family members have received their visas, Jackson said. They will arrive in Los Angeles in a few days.
David Lowenstein and Daniel Rothberg contributed to this report.
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