Two students injured in off-campus shooting

Two USC students were shot early Sunday morning outside of a party at an apartment complex at 1241 West 37th Place.

A male undergraduate student was shot in the chest and a female graduate student was shot in the hand and suffered a bloody finger, Sgt. Mark Green of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southwest division told City News Service.

The shooting occurred when a resident of the apartment complex accused the suspect of having stolen a pair of expensive headphones from him. The victims attempted to help settle the altercation between the resident and the suspect, according to Gueston Cordae Smith, a sophomore majoring in architecture who attended the party.

“We were dancing and having a good time, and all of a sudden the victim turned on the lights and was acting really angry,” Gueston Cordae Smith said. “[The resident] said that his headphones were stolen … and then walked up to the shooter.”

In response to the accusation, the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired multiple rounds at the victims, according to Sgt. Will Smith of LAPD’s Southwest division.

“An argument came up and, not even a minute later, the [shooter] pulled out a gun,” Gueston Cordae Smith said. “I saw that gun in his hand, so I grabbed two of the girls who were with me and just ran out. As soon as I was running down the hall, I heard a gunshot.”

The suspect is a black male between the ages of 18 and 25, Sgt. Smith said. He was shirtless and wearing blue jeans when he fled the scene, according to CNS.

Both victims were immediately taken to California Hospital Medical Center, where the undergraduate student was listed in critical but stable condition, Sgt. Smith said. The male victim remains in the intensive care unit at California Hospital Medical Center after having undergone surgery earlier Sunday, Capt. Melissa Zak of LAPD’s Southwest division said at a press conference.

The graduate student is in “OK” condition, according to the Dept. of Public Safety. She is scheduled to go under surgery Sunday night, Zak said.

Police interviewed witnesses at the party and have begun searching for the suspect. Police performed a comprehensive search of the premises Sunday afternoon.

An investigation into the shooting includes members of LAPD, DPS, the FBI and members of the South Bureau’s Criminal Gang/Homicide Division, according to Sgt. Smith.

Although the handgun has not yet been found, LAPD is currently following several solid leads, Zak said.

Sgt. Smith labeled the incident as isolated and said it poses no threat to the USC community.

Annenberg Television News has reaction from residents of the apartment complex.

Rachel Bracker contributed to this report.

54 replies
  1. ms. neighborhood
    ms. neighborhood says:

    Fred is on to something, but doesn’t understand why the City of Los Angeles would allow a neighborhood to go to H*** in a hand basket.
    He doesn’t have to look any further than his own school. The University made a deal with the City to keep the area underutilized so it could be snapped up by the University – or given to the University by the CRA – whenever the University thought it would be convenient. Galen is built on CRA land which was supposed to be development by the school that would better the economic climate for the area and all we have is a University building. Jobs were supposed to be created but as far as I know there are only a handful of people who work there on a regular basis. Mostly guards. Now they are going to cause others build a “multi-use complex” with hotels, movie theaters, restaurants and – oh yeah – really expensive student housing on the site of the old University Village. Plans originally shown to the neighborhood by the City inadvertently showed an annexation of all the historic houses on one side of a street they weren’t supposed to have since it is a National Historic District and under also protection by the City of Los Angeles as a Specific Plan.
    The University, for its part, stopped building infrastructure, such as appropriate student housing, ceding its responsibility to an endless stream of misbegotten mom-and-pop developments of converted one-family dwellings to apartment buildings of sub-par construction. Many of these buildings were someone’s home or their granny’s home so the “neighborhood” has a cultural memory of the wrongs that have been perpetrated against it.

  2. ms. neighborhood
    ms. neighborhood says:

    In response to Fred who claimed that the City (of Los Angeles) is doing everything to keep the neighborhood around USC a slum is really on the right track. But he doesn’t understand why this would happen.
    It is because of the University. The City and the CRA has always allowed a multiple of violations, actions and behaviors from the area because it keeps property values low so that the University can gobble it up when it finds it convenient to do so.
    This co-dependence between the University and the City has gone on – in this iteration – since the late 50’s. It became institutionalized when US

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    As someone who lives in the same complex in which the kid was shot, I feel justified in saying that these guys were stupid. I’m sorry he got injured, but maybe they shouldn’t have been letting people in off the street. Our building is one of the most secure/nicest on the block, and the shooter definitely just saw it as a crime of opportunity with a bunch of drunk kids wandering in and out. I was away when it happened, and I’m thankful for that. The guys were dumb to let him in–he wasn’t wearing a shirt and was covered in tattoos, no one there knew him. Even the drunkest person has to stop and think, “Hm, something’s not right about this guy.” I’m not as upset that USC waited to address this issue as I am that our management hasn’t addressed it. I had to hear about it from a text from my roommate, and then from the news. I haven’t recieved any e-mails, notices, signs, increased security, nothing. Don’t go StuHo, guys.

  4. Wow
    Wow says:

    Sorry to hear this and hopefully the injured will recuperate. But you all, every student, staff, and faculty bear the responsibility to notice people who look out of place on and off campus. If there isn’t a number or an ‘app’ to use to report these incidents there needs to be.

    Wouldn’t it be helpful if someone could have posted a picture of the shooter to a DPS ‘app’?

    The “hood” isn’t going to change any time soon and there would never be enough DPS to do the job that you can do if you have a reliable portal to direct DPS.

  5. AnonLeavyLibrary
    AnonLeavyLibrary says:

    The host should have aksed for student ID as a way to screen people coming in. Its not racial profiling and if the community thinks it is they can go to hell. Since when does someone have to be PC to let a hoodlum into their home to party steal and rape?

  6. Fred
    Fred says:

    USC is surrounded by low-income housing projects and social services, and unfortunately, the University courts more of the same, rather than promoting business development.

    The City of Los Angeles does everything possible to keep the area a slum, promoting poverty, illiteracy, and government dependence.

    There will always be gang violence in the neighborhood, unless we have a seed change in the governance of the city and the university. If landlords aren’t allowed to evict, rehab, or raze and rebuild, if police won’t arrest illegal gang members, domestic abusers or remove drunks, if multiple agencies (DPS, ICE, General Services, LAPD, MTA, CHP) that cruise the area can’t be bothered to respond to calls, nothing will improve.

  7. Spoiled Rich Kid
    Spoiled Rich Kid says:

    After reading the article, and then these posts, a few thoughts come to mind. Many complain that DPS doesn’t do anything. What exactly was DPS supposed to do in this case, an off duty house-party? If they had stopped some black kid, who was walking down the street, because he looks like he “doesn’t belong”, wouldn’t most on here call DPS racist and a bunch of Nazis? At what point does the party host take responisblity for allowing some young (and probably thuggish) looking uninvited guest into his apt? Maybe he didn’t want to throw the “black” kid out because he did’t want to appear to be “racist.”

    What we have hear isn’t the fault of DPS. What we have hear is total irresponsibility on the part of the party host, typical and expected thuggish behavior by the ghetto residents who live in the surrounding neighborhood, and a lack of acceptance of responsibilty by the spoiled rich kids who think it’s the job of others to wipe their noses as they’re apparently unable to do so themselves (“what does DPS do? where was my Trojan Alert? Waah, waah”). With no pun intended here, maybe it’s time to call a spade a spade and realize that it’s not so cool to have thuggish looking dirtbags attend your party. Then again, after seeing the poster on the wall of the resident in the above video maybe he just reaped what he sowed. Grow up children…part of being an adult is accepting responsiblity for your OWN foolish actions and making wise, not STUPID, decisions!

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      DPS should be posted around campus in strategic spots to respond to incidents like this, rather than having five or ten cars on the row or on another street when shutting down a party which is obviously harmless.
      Maybe the kid was foolish, maybe not, I don’t know…but DPS should do its JOB.

  8. Tex
    Tex says:

    If at least one out of ten students held a concealed weapons permit and packed heat, someone at the that party could have dispatched that street thug with a double tap.

  9. T'Sheika
    T'Sheika says:

    Wow, you are all missing the point here. Firstly, It was a ‘House Party’ and everyone is aware it ain’t a house party with out univited ‘play’ahZ’

    Secondly – those were Dr.Dre headphones! After a successful ‘rap’ career he invented viable energy alternatives and a cure for unicornitis as well as authored several children’s books, uncluding ‘Let’s Shoot Some Rich Whiteys’

    Go Trojans – wished more Africans in the community used this fine product.

  10. Freddie
    Freddie says:

    You people are nuts. The campus wide alert system is for situations where DPS believes the incident is ongoing. This incident was clearly over and DPS made the right decision. You can wait and read it in paper the next day like the rest of Los Angeles. The University and DPS doesn’t need to tell you that something bad happened immediately. You aren’t that important and you need to get used to it…

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      I’m not so much mad as the fact that they didn’t send out an alert as I am at the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time at USC.

  11. Matt
    Matt says:

    This is unacceptable. We need a transformation like the one NYC went through to stop crime.

    The next group of students running for student government should make student safety, not from drugs, alcohol, or traffic, but from real crime, their #1 priority and campaign promise.

    For every incident like this, USC should return $5,000 in tuition to each student for risking their lives. That sure would make school officials put an end to violent crime right away would’t it?

    • Mc
      Mc says:

      Matt USC is a school not a paramilitary unit with shock troops. USC can’t just make crime disappear ? And drugs, alcohol, and parties are usually related to many of the crimes, fights, and medical emergencies in the area.

      Don’t believe me that smart intelligent college students can make really bad choices? Turn on you tube and watch a show called Campus PD…its rampant everywhere not just USC.

      • Matt
        Matt says:

        I’m not talking about typical college crime disorderly conduct, being drunk in public or petty stealing. I’m not talking about drugs, alcohol, or fights. I’m talking about armed robberies, shootings, weekly muggings with knives or firearms. Those things are not typical of college campuses, nor should they be.
        The vast, vast majority of these crimes are committed by locals and others who are not USC students. I don’t care if students are making bad choices- those things are being dealt with reasonably well.
        What I’m worried about are deadly incidents like this in which one person is threatening the life or well being of another person, not when one guy threatens his own well being by drinking too much. There is a huge difference.

        We don’t need a paramilitary unit, we need a campus police force with the resources and mandate to actually prevent crime. We’re so used to the crime that we don’t even stop to think- does it have to be like this?

        We are an enormously well off private school that can well afford to protect its students. We should demand this as our right, not hope that a shooting like this happens to someone other than ourselves.

        • Anon
          Anon says:

          This incident happened at a private, off-campus party. The only way USC could have prevented this incident would be to have a DPS officer stationed inside the apartment itself. In which case you’d be bitching about the school infringing on students’ right to party in the privacy of their own homes.

          The simple fact is that USC is located in a dangerous neighborhood. This is not new information. West Adams has been a crime-infested shithole for more than half a century. You knew what kind of place you’d be living in when you decided to attend school here. You can be upset, saddened, and scared when things like this happen, but you shouldn’t be surprised.

          • Mc
            Mc says:

            Well Matt I came to school here for 4 years and never had a single problem I did not incur upon myself. Not sure what to tell you, and I would go running alone at night almost every night. Loved it.

          • Matt
            Matt says:

            I’m not saying DPS could have prevented this particular incident, but they could have responded much better. And if they developed a reputation of responding more effectively to these types of events, the events would be less likely to occur because criminals wouldn’t have the motivation to commit heinous crimes!!!!

  12. lyaz
    lyaz says:

    i lived in that block in my first semester, scary as hell !. USC should move its campus. that’s a really bad area.

  13. Maxy
    Maxy says:

    You shouldn’t let people with guns into your parties! DPS has much more important things to worry about then a “censored” with a bitch-ass little 22…

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    There seems to be a serious disconnect between DPS and the student body. First, as many have asked, why was there no Trojan Alert? Just like last year’s incident on 29th st, DPS sent out no notification to students who may have been at parties around the area. Second, why is DPS going around breaking up safe parties on Menlo, unnecessarily (and literally) lining the street with 10 cars to shut them down and turn hundreds of people into the streets at once, when obviously their actual service could be used securing the area west of campus-and, oh, I don’t know, living up to their name of department of public SAFETY.

    • Mc
      Mc says:

      Seems to me that you failed to read the part about how a house party turned into a shooting…hmmm menlo is a public street …I think the people on 37th would probably have argued the same thing until the shooting started. Too many loud drunken parties Can NEVER be called safe.

  15. anonymous
    anonymous says:

    How about that last sentence? “Sgt. Smith labeled the incident as isolated and said it poses no threat to the USC community.” Really?? Good to know!

  16. Concerned
    Concerned says:

    I strongly recommend that the City of LA and USC build a new police station solely for the University Park area, maybe put it into the the UV plans. This university needs more than DPS. DPS can only do so much.

    • Recent alumn
      Recent alumn says:

      This “side” of USC has always been known to my friends and I as the “bad side” of USC, where you definitely do not want to be. Perhaps we should start a student website that publishes incidents and neighborhood opinions so true violence and risk may be identified and assessed. The problem, of course, is that there is no neighborhood community because residents are temporary and the university certainly doesn’t have anyone [worthwhile] looking out for the well-being of the students. I would never recommend living on that side of sc for this very reason.

  17. courtney
    courtney says:

    Why wasn’t a trojan alert issued when the shooter was still at large in the area?! Is USC more concerned about their image or their students’ safety? Stop sending me dumb trojan alerts about heat waves and road closures and send me info about legitimate dangers in the area, as I know there are many. Communication is one way we can help keep students and community members safe but USC has to do their part.

    • Anon
      Anon says:

      They didn’t issue a Trojan alert because the shooter was unlikely to shoot someone else that night.

      This incident was something that happens every day in this country: Guy gets caught stealing something. Owner confronts him. Guy panics and draws a gun. Situation escalates. Guy fires a shot and hits the owner. Guy realizes he just committed attempted murder, panics, and runs somewhere to hide from the cops.

      99% of the time the assailant in this situation flees to his house or a friends house to hide from the police, which is exactly where this guy probably is right now. The last thing on his mind is trying to hit up ANOTHER party to rob when he knows the cops are looking for him. Criminals are stupid, but they’re not that stupid. Self-preservation is every person’s first instinct.

      This is a completely different situation than something like a Virginia Tech shooting where the guy is clearly on a rampage and will keep killing people. That’s why DPS didn’t issue a campus-wide alert.

  18. Travis
    Travis says:

    I am so angry about this! To many gang bangers roam freely in this area. DPS needs to conduct more patrols and yes these kiddos need to USE COMMON SENSE.

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    DPS is getting an angry email from me about the lack of Trojan Alert or even crime alert; I suggest all concerned students and parents do the same. Telling DPS why we’re angry is the best way to get change and be taken seriously as area residents.

  20. Matt
    Matt says:

    Once again I’m wondering where the hell DPS is. Instead of shutting down harmless frat parties and bothering innocent students, they should be doing their job and cracking down on thugs like this shooter to the point that no one dares rob a USC student. Anything less is unacceptable.

    • Josh
      Josh says:

      DPS is essentially useless. Anytime I’ve had issues with local thugs–which has been quite often, at least once per school year–DPS has never been sufficiently competent to deal with the situation properly. Just this semester, I was harassed ON CAMPUS by a group of non-USC thugs who were making criminal threats, called DPS who said they would dispatch a unit, waited two hours, and no one ever showed up. I recommend calling LAPD first. They’re much better trained for this sort of thing and rarely disappoint.

  21. Seriously?
    Seriously? says:

    Agree with Anonymous. Where was the Trojan Alert for our students? And again have to wonder why USC administration has a target on the Greek community. Contain this craziness surrounding the campus and keep all of our students safe. And for goodness sakes, ALERT STUDENTS WHEN THERE IS AN ARMED GUNMAN ON THE RUN IN THEIR AREA!!!

  22. California Pixie
    California Pixie says:

    The strong armed robberies in the area are frightening and concerning enough but this is terrifying and alarming. Students need to be careful in the areas surrounding the university, as well as, with opening their parties and living space up to every Tom, Dick and Harry that shows up. With a daughter attending the school I am in the LA area quite a bit and I am always surprised about how nonchalant the students are roaming around the streets at 1am, 2am in the morning, alone, in pairs, tipsy, iPhones againt their ears, etc. Sstudents to need exercise more caution and common sense because Los Angeles is not a safe city and some of the residents just don’t give a damn…period. I’m assuming it wasn’t a student or peer because partygoers probably would have a name or be able to identify the person.

    @Frank I understand your outrage and I’m right there with you but profiling in Los Angeles or any ethnic area will never be sensible.

    Wishing the USC students speedy recoveries and praying they catch the SOB.

  23. Mitty
    Mitty says:

    LA can be a very scary place. Let’s not let our students forget it.
    How common are open parties in that neighborhood? Probably foolish?

  24. Frank Blaha
    Frank Blaha says:

    Time for political correctness to end and sensible profiling to return. America sends it’s best and brighest to USC and local preditors are allowed to circulate among them. Enough!

    • Josh
      Josh says:

      Wish there was a thumbs up button for this comment. Politically correct nonsense has rendered SC students virtually powerless to defend themselves. Not to mention the fact that DPS allows anyone and everyone from the neighborhood to wander freely around our private campus, no questions asked. Remind me, what exactly does DPS do again?

      • Chuck
        Chuck says:

        How many times has a USC student been seriously injured by some creep in the past 20 years? VERY few. I personally think it’s because DPS actually does their job for the most part. I’ve had positive experiences with them. They respond way faster than LAPD will and I see them stopping suspicious people all the time! I mean how is it even possible for anyone to know that some thug is going to show up at an off campus party and start going nuts? But then again…this IS south central so you can’t be too surprised. I think given the fact that our school is in the hood, we’re pretty lucky that things like this don’t happen more often! Kudos to all the people protecting us, especially our own DPS.

    • Rachel
      Rachel says:

      What exactly are you even suggesting? That if policemen were to stop every black man they see and check them for illegal items, this wouldn’t have happened? I’m sorry, that’s ridiculous. I wish there were a “thumbs down” button for this comment.

  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    And once again I am left wondering where my Trojan Alert was… especially seeing as local news says the suspect is still at large…. awesome.

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