The Los Angeles Police Department arrested two men Friday afternoon believed to be responsible for the fatal shooting of two international graduate students in April, LAPD Detective David Garrido said.
Garrido said the suspects, who are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, are Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19. Though the suspects, who are being held without bail, are not known gang members, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a press conference Friday evening that they might be tied to a gang. The search for a weapon is still ongoing. Garrido said one suspect was arrested near Victorville and the other was arrested in South Central. Both are being held without bail.
Garrido said the LAPD is “quite confident” that Barnes and Bolden are responsible for the double homicide.
“The district attorney’s office is filing charges on Monday,” Garrido said.
Ming Qu and Ying Wu, 23-year old electrical engineering students from China, were fatally shot around 1 a.m. while sitting in Qu’s car on April 11. The incident occurred near the intersection of 27th Street and Raymond Avenue, about three blocks west of Vermont Avenue. The parents of Qu and Wu filed a lawsuit against USC Wednesday claiming that the university had intentionally misrepresented the safety of the surrounding area and the public safety services that the university provides.
Garrido said LAPD does not know whether the suspects knew the victims because Barnes and Bolden have not been interviewed. Garrido said police believe that the murders resulted from a robbery rather than a car-jacking, as initial reports suggested.
In a statement issued by the university, USC President C. L. Max Nikias lauded the city’s efforts in working to find those responsible for the shooting.
“They shared our outrage at this senseless and singular act and worked passionately to reach a resolution,” Nikias said. “The arrest of the suspects in the tragic deaths of our graduate students, Ying Wu and Ming Qu, begins the process of healing and of closing a painful chapter in the life of our community. We will always mourn the loss of Ying and Ming, but find comfort in the hope of achieving justice.”
Garrido said there is no longer a reward for information concerning the case.
During the press conference, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that LAPD’s efforts should serve as a deterrent for future criminals.
“Let this be a reminder to anyone who wants to do something like this, we will work everyday to find you,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.