The university and the Los Angeles Police Department held a press conference Friday afternoon to encourage public help in finding the suspect or suspects responsible for the deaths of two graduate students shot dead early Wednesday morning. Officials also used the press conference to officially announce a $125,000 reward, funded by USC, for information leading to a suspect’s arrest and conviction.
LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon said detectives will work in the same fashion that they do to solve all murders, but they also need the public’s help.
“A successful resolution to this case will only happen with the help of the public,” Gannon said.
The FBI and the LAPD Operation Save Our Streets II Joint Task Force are assigned to the investigation.
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 are unknown.
Gannon noted that the rainy weather at the press conference was similar to the weather during the morning of the murder.
“[The rain] is exactly like the weather that evening, if there is any symbolism to that,” Gannon said.
The area near the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue, where the crime took place, has seen a decrease in crime in the past few years, Gannon said. Violent crime is down 50 percent in the last five years.
“This is a great neighborhood,” Gannon said. “This is a great community. We’ve had a total of three murders in the last five years.”
Jacqueline Hamilton, Wu’s host mother since June 2011, 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,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said she doesn’t know if Wu and Qu were 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,” Hamilton said. “They were at that stage in their relationship where they couldn’t bear to be apart.”
Chen Zhumin, head of the education office for the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles, said he hopes USC’s award will help catch the suspect or suspects.
“We are very grateful that USC is offering this award for information about the suspect and we appreciate the efforts made by LAPD to track down the suspect,” Zhumin said. “We hope that with this award more information will be gathered, hopefully before the parents arrive because the more information we can give to the parents, the better. And more importantly, I think with the help of the public and also the Chinese consulate, LAPD will get [the] suspect soon and bring him to justice.”
Melissa Caskey, David Lowenstein, Giovanni Osorio and Daniel Rothberg contributed to this report.