This article was originally published May 4, 1992, in a special edition of the Daily Trojan. The city will remember the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots on April 29.
The university campus has suffered minimal damage from the riots of the past three days, University Security officials said Sunday.The efforts of all university agencies and officials — from security to Physical Plant to President Sample — have resulted in a very low number of injuries to students and little property damage to off-campus apartments.The campus has suffered only two minor fires, one extinguished by Security, the other put out by a student.
Eleven students have been injured or arrested in the rioting, Security reports said. No students have been injured seriously, but a local man was shot in the leg on Exposition Boulevard in front of Parkside Apartments Wednesday night.
Students were evacuated from their apartments north of campus due to power outages, and some property damage has been reported at Regal Trojan Apartments and buildings on 27th Street, but the extent of the damage has not yet been confirmed.
“Rooms are open, doors have been pried open … reports should be trickling in today, with students coming back and finals scheduled for Monday,” said Sgt. John Lewis of University Security.
Power was restored by the Department of Water and Power as of 11 a.m. Sunday morning, Lewis said.
“I got my TV, my phone and my answering machine stolen,” said Brandon Bandhauer, a junior majoring in creative writing and biology who lives in Regal Trojan.
“But it looks like we were not the only ones who got anything stolen,” he said. “Other screens have been pulled off, but our windows don’t lock properly, and that’s how they got in.”
“The university is very fortunate that there has been no significant damage,” Lewis said. “The damage has been nothing even close to the magnitude on the street.”
“I’m amazed that not one thing has happened,” Lt. David Ritch said. “Physical Plant, Safety … all service are really networking together.”
Administrators have taken an active role in trying to assess the situation. President Steven Sample and other top administrators have been on campus throughout the crisis.
Sample fielded phone calls to his office that threatened to “burn USC down.”
Sample and James Dennis, vice president of Student Affairs, stayed on campus with the command center until the end of last week. They also ate at EVK Dining Hall with students and faculty, many of whom had been evacuated from their normal residences.
Sample also rode along with Ritch on a routine security patrol Thursday.
“Everything seemed calm,” Ritch said. “But then we drove into the worst looting I’d seen. People were jumping over the hood of the car. I had my gun in my hand. I’m a Vietnam vet, and this was pretty bad.”
Ritch said that Sample’s eyes were as big as his head.
The fires reported on campus were minor.
A fire in a dumpster near the construction site behind Bovard Administration Building was put out by security on Wednesday night, according to Ritch.
“We put it out with extinguishers from our vehicles, and we got every fire extinguisher out of the new part of Bovard,” Ritch said.
An officer remained on the scene after the fire was put out and poured water on the smoldering dumpster with a garden hose found among the construction equipment until all the embers had been extinguished, Ritch said.
“We now have a pickup truck full of every fire extinguisher we could get our hands on in case something else happens,” Ritch said.
A student also put out a small fire in Grace Ford Salvatori Hall.
Greg Sandoval, a senior majoring in creative writing, was walking by the building, saw the small blaze and extinguished it by beating it out with his backpack.
“I rushed in to find a stack of College U. newspapers completely ablaze,” Sandoval said.
“I tried to stomp it out, but then had to beat it out with my backpack,” he said.
Sandoval said he had the fire almost extinguished when University Security officers arrived and put it out with fire extinguishers
Lewis said no students were seriously injured during the riots that followed Wednesday’s announcement of the acquittal of the four police officers accused of using excessive force on Rodney King.
A male student was jumped Wednesday night at 7 p.m. while biking down 35th Street west of Hoover, Lewis said.
“A suspect pulled him off his bike and then a group of teenagers arrived and kicked and beat him on the ground,” Lewis said.
The student suffered a cut under his left eye that required five stitches, and his face was swollen, Lewis said. He also sprained his left wrist.
At roughly 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, a local man was shot in a drive-by shooting in front of the fence on Exposition across from “A” building at Parkside Apartments.
The man was wounded in the leg, and about 10 shots were fired, according to eyewitnesses at Parkside.
Security responded immediately and stabilized the man’s condition with first aid, Ritch said.
“We waited 40 minutes for an ambulance, but no one came,” he said. “So we commandeered the Escort van, moved the seats, and took him to California Hospital in the van.”
Neither Ritch nor Lewis knew the man’s condition Sunday.
On Thursday at 10:25 p.m., two male students were attacked by looters at 36th Place and Vermont Avenue as they tried to collect their parked car. Security officers saw the looters jump the students and responded in force.
“They were rescued by security,” Lewis said. “We stabilized the situation, and the students took off in their car.”
One student was bleeding from the mouth, Lewis said, but he did not know of any other injuries.
At 11:15 a.m. the same day, a female student was pulled from her car in front of her carport at 1226 30th Place, Lewis said.
The student was shaken up, but unharmed, and the suspect drove off with her car west on 30th and then turned north on Vermont. The car has not been recovered.
On Friday at 9:15 p.m., three male students were pulled out of their car by National Guard troops in front of the Burger King next to Fire station 15 on Jefferson, Lewis said.
Apparently, the students had driven by the station two to three times very slowly, then parked their car in front of the Burger King and turned their lights off.
National Guard troops surrounded the car and forced the students to sit on the curb with their hands on their heads at gunpoint. Security arrived and searched the car, Lewis said.
“They found a large ‘Rambo’ knife in the front seat,” Lewis said. “In the trunk were three handguns in holsters — a .22 semi-automatic, and .22 revolver and a .38 revolver.”
“The students were apparently ‘videotaping the unrest,’” Lewis said. “The weapons were booked at Southwest Division.” The students received a reprimand for breaking the curfew.
Four students were also arrested for looting, Ritch said, but only one was booked.
A robbery at 11 a.m. at 1186 W. 27th St. caused $5,000 worth of property damage Saturday, Lewis said.
Rumors abound about other campus disturbances.
Two students were allegedly beaten up in the Century Apartments parking lot, but security could not confirm the reports. The Office of Residential and Greek Life had heard the rumor, but also could not confirm the beatings.
Some students were also taking matters into their own hands.
Armed students were stopped by security while patrolling Troyland Apartments on Thursday.
Fraternity members said they stayed around to protect their house and the Row throughout the rioting.
The members were armed with a variety of guns, from shotguns to 9mm Beretta pistols.
“All my stuff is here,” a fraternity member said. “We have veterans of Desert Storm in our house, and we’re letting them handle it. All the houses on the Row have guns.”
“We almost got involved in a drive-by when a car drove up and they saw my pistol sticking out of my pants,” he added.
“The car drove by, stopped, and they saw my gun where my shirt had come up and then they threw the car into reverse. Guns came out the windows and we drove behind the planter. They yelled at us and drove off,” he said.
Ritch said that he couldn’t blame fraternity members for being armed, but said that the penalties would be severe if the members were caught with weapons. He had not heard of any incidents on the Row.
Other incidents included damage to cars parked around the campus and several arrests of suspects in parking structures and on campus. But Lewis was amazed at the lack of significant injuries and damage.
“We owe a lot to the high presence of our people,” he said.
“Anyone came on campus, we put the jam on them,” Lewis said.
Assistant City Editor Julie Yamamoto contributed to this report.