Viterbi, LAPD hold meeting on shooting, safety

Community members and graduate students of the Viterbi School of Engineering gathered in the Seeley G. Mudd Building on Friday to mourn the loss of Ying Wu and Ming Qu, who were fatally shot Wednesday morning on the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue.

USC administrators and members of the Los Angeles Police Department addressed questions ranging from safety concerns to community healing at a town hall-style meeting.

Wanted · The Los Angeles Police Department announced USC will offer a $125,000 reward for information on the murder of two graduate students. - Ani Kolangian | Daily Trojan

Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of Viterbi, said it was the most tragic event to occur within the Viterbi community.

“[The shooting] was an unprecedented event in our history,” Yortsos said. “I’ve been with USC since 1979, and I don’t remember an event of this magnitude.”

Yortsos said it is hard for students to comprehend the death of Wu and Qu, who were graduate students studying electrical enginnering.

“We engineers are very analytical,” Yortsos said. “We are people who want to know why things happen. When we are confronted with this unexplainable, atrocious event, we are unable to comprehend how these two young people, full of life, that came from across the oceans to explore the worlds, have been taken away from us. It is something that we simply do not have the capacity to understand.”

Wu’s and Qu’s deaths should be seen as a call for the Viterbi community to improve the world, Yortsos said.

“We should move a step up and see how, with our capacity, with our commitment, with our enthusiasm, with our talent, how we can make the world a better place,” Yortsos said. “This is an important challenge for us. This is a debt that we owe to the memory of Ming and Ying.”

LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon said though safety has improved west of campus, it is important the USC community remains aware.

“The area [around USC] has changed dramatically and even though it is safer, it still has a variety of challenges,” Gannon said. “You always, always have to be careful — even in the safest areas of Los Angeles. Make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, make sure you know where you’re going, make sure your cell phone is charged.”

Dept. of Public Safety Capt. David Carlisle said that students should not view this one incident as indicative of a bad neighborhood.

“The neighborhoods surrounding USC are safe,” Carlisle said. “We have seen decreases in crime consecutively each year, for the 5 1/2 years that I’ve worked here. Do not judge our neighborhoods by one act of violent crime.”

Denzil Suite, associate vice president for student affairs, said that the university has a plan to increase housing opportunities to graduate students by adding 3,120 beds to The Village at USC for graduate students.

Derek Zhou, a former Viterbi graduate student, said losing a child can be especially stressful for Chinese parents because of the country’s one-child policy.

“I didn’t even tell my parents about the shooting,” Zhou said. “Most Chinese parents only have one child and if they lose their child, they’ve lost everything. It’s a loss that you can only imagine.”

9 replies
  1. Freddie Nerk
    Freddie Nerk says:

    USC needs to petition L.A to clean out the rubbish from the area-send the Army and have them go door to door. Its obvious who are the criminals in the are.

  2. Student
    Student says:

    “Wu’s and Qu’s deaths should be seen as a call for the Viterbi community to improve the world, Yortsos said.”

    What utter nonsense!

    I wish USC would stop the self-serving sugarcoating of the tragedy.

    2 students died needlessly in a crime is a call for USC to improve the safety of its students and the local neighborhood!!!

  3. Terry
    Terry says:

    I’m from L.A. and I think USC wants to give people who don’t know L.A. a false impression that the neighborhood it’s located in is as safe as the rest of L.A..

    But in fact USC is located in one of the most dangerous part of L.A.

    For comparison, the part of of L.A that I live in is called Racho Palos Verdes. It has about 41,000 residents, so roughly the same as the USC population.

    Over the last 5 years, there have been a total of 3 killings in my town:

    During the same time frame, in the 2 mile neighborhood of USC, there has been 99 killings:,%20Los%20Angeles,%20CA%2090007,%20USA&lat=34.0309102&lng=-118.2980541&g=Geocodify.

    The crime statistics show that you’re 33 times more likely to be murdered in the USC neighborhood vs RPV!

    I think it’s time that USC stop hiding the truth about the danger of living around the USC neighborhood so that innocent and probably naive prospective students won’t be lulled into a false sense of security should they decide to enroll at USC.

    Otherwise, USC has blood on it’s hands!

    • Brian
      Brian says:

      Terry-What a stupid comparision; Ranch PV versus the in inner city LA. Try living down below in Carson, Gardena, Compton where most people are. Not everyone is as lucky as you to live on the hill. For where you live, why even three killings!

      • Locals
        Locals says:


        I think Terry’s point is valid – some parts of L.A. is safe while other parts of L.A. is definitely not.

        USC has always try to portray itself to the world outside as having crime problems that is typical of the city of L.A..

        But L.A. locals know that USC is in fact located next to a very dangerous part of L.A.

        You’re right in that the USC’s neighborhood is far more dangerous than safe parts of L.A. such as Rancho Palos Verdes that Terry mentioned and is more similar to other tough parts of L.A. such as Carson, Gardena, and Compton.

        But did you know that the USC’s neighborhood is actually even more dangerous than those tough towns that you mentioned?

        For example, Carson, one of bad parts of L.A. that you mentioned, with a population of 90,000 people (double the population of USC), has only 38 killings in the last 5 years:

        Gardena, another bad part of L.A. that you mentioned, with a population of 58,000, has only 21 killings in the last 5 years:

        Even a terrible part of L.A. such as Compton that you mentioned, with a population of 94,000, has less killing on a per capita basis with 159 killings in the last 5 years:

        As you can see Brian, the USC neighborhood is even more deadly than even those tough parts of L.A. that you mentioned!

      • SmartOne
        SmartOne says:

        Rancho Palos Verdes is a very nice place.

        I guess that’s why lucky people like Terry and USC president Nikias chose to live there instead of living in the “safe” neighborhood next to USC like the rest of us poor USC students!

  4. TJ
    TJ says:

    USC should stop giving outside world the false impression that the neighborhood is safe.

    Just because the neighborhood crime rate went down does NOT mean that area is safe.

    The truth is the neighborhood merely went from terrible to bad!

    A current USC student posted in a another article that USC has already sent out robbery alerts to students that average to about a robbery once a month this year!

    These 2 victims had been studying in the library and the guy was dropping the girl off at her house. He was double parked and had his engine running when someone approached the car and shot them to death.

    USC’s advice of knowing where you are/making sure you know where you’re going/having your cell phone charged would have made no difference in the case whatsoever!

    • Just Disappointed
      Just Disappointed says:

      A robbery once a month? Do you realize how few that is in a community of over 40,000 people?

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