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.

“She’s usually one of the first people there, and I couldn’t see her,” Zhang said. “After about 1 p.m., the news came out.”

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.

“I was really shocked, actually,” Zhang said. “And I also feel sad because she’s somebody so close. I’ve known her for about a year.”

Zhang said Wu and Qu, both 23-year-old graduate students from China studying electrical engineering, were studious and diligent.

“Those people are incredibly hardworking, study at the library until 1 a.m. and then go back home,” Zhang said. “It’s not because they go to a party or something.”

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.

“I wouldn’t feel OK if the security wasn’t there when I have to walk back to my car,” Chehade said. “Security makes a difference.”

Dept. of Public Safety Capt. David Carlisle said the incident emphasizes the importance for students to remain aware of their surroundings.

“What it points out is that all of us — students, faculty and staff — have to be ever vigilant because this situation may occur wherever you may be,” 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.

“I saw the location, which seemed pretty far from campus,” Levy said. “Double homicide is pretty big, but I feel like it was far enough away where I don’t feel any more in danger now than I was before. Raymond and Normandie doesn’t feel that close to me.”

Several residents of the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue said they were woken by the gunshots early Wednesday.

“I remember I was sleeping,” said Johnny Rivera, a 22-year-old student at East Los Angeles College. “I 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.”

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.

“I’ve lived here my whole life, situations like this don’t occur that much,” Rivera said. “They should be aware, but it’s not even as bad as they say it is, like in movies.”

DPS has not had a report of violent crime in that neighborhood this year, Carlisle said.

“This particular crime occurred in an area that doesn’t have a history of violent crime,” 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.

“I think it’s safe for students, but I do think there needs to be better security in this area in general,” Rossi said. “There should be more patrols through here.”

Though the neighborhood is about three blocks outside DPS’s 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.

“It’s a tragic crime, one that’s very rare,” Carlisle said. “It’s an aberration and our hearts go out to the families of these poor students.”


Joey Kaufman contributed to this report.

17 replies
  1. JM
    JM says:

    USC has done a lot to protect all of their students and the community around the school. I read that they hired many new “Ambassadors” that monitor various locations. This is probably helpful but it does not take the place of trained professional officers on patrol. I passed by the school today and it looks like a fortune has been spent on new buildings. Please use some more of your resources to increase, equip, and train professional DPS officers to help deal with the less than human menaces to society beings out there who prey on any innocent person rich or poor who crosses their paths. Ambassadors and cameras may help but they don’t hook & book the bad guys.

  2. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    DRIVE BY–Catalina Street–about a quarter mile from Raymond–ONE DEAD.

    Look it up–get your facts straight MR. “AT LEAST, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT”

    • at least get your facts straight
      at least get your facts straight says:

      Could you at least provide a link to a news story? I seriously cannot find a single news article about this supposed shooting…

      • maybe they meant this one?
        maybe they meant this one? says:

        A non-USC student was shot in a drive-by…but it wasn’t anywhere near Catalina (it was 29th and Hoover), so I don’t know. And I think that case ended up being a targeted shooting? They weren’t aiming for or targeting any students, just this one guy….but I have no idea if this is even the case Amanda was referring to…

        and that was the only thing i could find that might be remotely related? I don’t know what Amanda is talking about either. I would appreciate someone providing links too. Amanda, could you give us a source? I can’t recall any drive by shooting incidents during my time at USC, other than the one I found…

  3. josh
    josh says:

    I won’t blame Frank at all for his contemplation about the artificial showing-off brand new BMW because that’s exactly what the first news report tried to insinuate there. And as usual the media managed to manipulate common people’s mindset, including Frank’s, to believe it is some random and unlucky incident, not for any security’s fault but more for a wealthy asian pimp’s flashy pants.

  4. Joe Trojan
    Joe Trojan says:

    I agree with you CK. Frank you need to get your facts in order. And don’t give us “well it’s still a BMW…” diatribe. I’m well aware of the types of cares in University Park and West Adams and rest assured there are plenty of ‘premium vehicles’ afoot in these locations.

    As for you Oregon Mom, you can’t stop the youth from being the youth. No one should be forced to live in shades of grey. But the youth can help each other out by being mindful of each other.

    The sad fact is that many asian immigrants aren’t aware to the many dangers posed in the city. They are frequent targets of crime given their lack of “streets smarts” and english language limitations. Nonetheless, we as a community must look after one another for safety and protection. DPS and LAPD do what they can, but untimely it is up to the community and the individual.

    Rest in Peace, my heart goes out to you and your families.

  5. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Neighborhood not known for violent crime?

    Let’s be honest USC, in the last year this particular neighborhood had a drive-by shooting resulting in death.

    Last year two students were shot–one nearly died.

    This year both students died in this particualr shooting.

    If my neighborhood had five people shot in the last year, I would move.

    This neighborhood is violent–not to say the people are bad or violent but the neighborhood is violent. Students are living west of USC simply because there is no housing closer to campus–this is a result of the School adding , over the last two years, approxmately 5,000 additional students without having the place to house them.

    Bad policiy, Nikias, in my opinion.

    • at least get your facts straight
      at least get your facts straight says:

      Drive by shooting in the last year? Where? There have been plenty of shootings all over LA in the last year, but a “drive by shooting” within 2 or 3 miles of USC? Nope. There are no news stories whatsoever about anything like that…if you are going to make a claim like that, you need to provide sources, please.

      As for your other reference–the shooting on 37th Place in September was more than a mile south of this incident. That is not considered the same neighborhood–the “neighborhood” they are referring to here is the specific area these students were living, which technically falls out of the DPS patrol zone. The 2700 block of Raymond is therefore not considered the same as the 1200 block of 37th Place.

      And to be fair, one of the students in the 37th Place incident was shot in the hand because she reached up to block the gun and the bullet went through her hand before hitting the second person. Her injuries were reported as “minor.” The male student that was hit went into surgery and was listed in critical condition for a day or two, but he thankfully recovered well. It also wasn’t some random shooting on the street. It happened at a crowded apartment party that was unregulated, unregistered, and opened to the public. That is a completely different situation from what happened here.

      You are right that there isn’t enough student housing available–that is a valid issue that needs to be addressed. But walling students off in secluded university housing isn’t going to make the reality of living in a major metropolitan area go away.

        • la
          la says:

          uh, in what way? sounds like everything they said was completely based on fact and mostly taken from reputable news sources…how is anything that they said wrong?

  6. CK
    CK says:

    Frank — get your facts straight. The “new” BMW you speak of was a used 2003 model that he had recently purchased to commute to work. No one should have to “dress in rags and drive an old beat up car” to be guaranteed safety.

  7. Oregon Mom
    Oregon Mom says:

    It’s easy for students to let their guard down as they become comfortable at USC. My own student has reported going home at 3, 4 in the morning after off campus parties. I don’t care if you have to wait for campus cruiser, get a ride home for God’s sake. Always walk with a friend at night. Take off your ear buds. Not to blame any potential victims, but think twice about dressing like a stripper when you’re headed on buses to off campus parties. I think the campus itself is likely as safe as it can be. But you are going to school in one of the biggest cities in the country, at a wealthy university surrounded by a low income area. You are ripe for the picking. Take this horrific tragedy as a reminder of these realities. We parents are sacrificing so much to send you there. Do your part to stay safe.

    • Tommy Trojan
      Tommy Trojan says:

      You hit the nail on the head with your comments. Common sense plays a key role in one’s personal safety.

    • Frank
      Frank says:

      I agree with you completely. From what I heard in the news they were driving a new BMW. One thing everyone must keep in mind is you have to blend in with the surroundings. Being an Asian international student sticks out like a sore thumb already this plus driving a flashy car is two strikes against you. Things like this happens everyday all over the world in big or small cities and please don’t blame security as they are not there to babysit you. Be street smart, be aware of your surroundings and most important don’t be a show off. I am sure if they dress in rags and drive an old beat up car, this might not have happened.

      • Clutch
        Clutch says:

        The car was bought for $10k and was almost a decade old. Compare to some of the cars I see legit rich $poiled children driving… the car the victims drove was a clunker at best.

      • cs
        cs says:

        WOW, you are sure? Easy for you to say since you weren’t the one who got jumped and shot in the face.

    • USC Alum '10
      USC Alum '10 says:

      Way to victim blame young women; the old adage of “she dressed like a stripper, she was asking for it” is old and hackneyed. As a mother and a female, you should be ashamed.

      Scumbags cause crime, not short skirts.

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