Two Arrested in USC Students' Murders

Bryan Barnes, 20, of Los Angeles, and Javier Bolden, 19, of Palmdale, have been arrested on suspicion of murder in the slayings of Ying Wu and Ming Qu

By Samantha Tata
|  Saturday, May 19, 2012  |  Updated 12:01 AM PDT
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Bryan Barnes, 20, of Los Angeles, and Javier Bolden, 19, of Palmdale, were arrested Friday, May 18, in connection with the murders of USC graduate students Ying Wu and Ming Qu. Units first arrested Barnes and then boarded waiting helicopters to Palmdale to arrest Bolden. Kim Baldonado reports from downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 18, 2012.

Kim Baldonado & Rodney Danson

Bryan Barnes, 20, of Los Angeles, and Javier Bolden, 19, of Palmdale, were arrested Friday, May 18, in connection with the murders of USC graduate students Ying Wu and Ming Qu. Units first arrested Barnes and then boarded waiting helicopters to Palmdale to arrest Bolden. Kim Baldonado reports from downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 18, 2012.

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Witness: LAPD Surveyed USC Murder Suspect's House for Days

Neighbors on 91st Street say their quiet block sprang into action around 4 p.m. Friday when the LAPD arrested Bryan Barnes on suspicion of double-murder in the deaths of USC graduate students Ying Wu and Ming Qu. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 18, 2012.
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Forensic evidence found at the scene linked the double murder of USC students Ying Wu and Ming Qu to two attempted homicides in Los Angeles, leading to two arrests in the fatal shootings, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Friday.

Bryan Barnes, 20, of Los Angeles, and Javier Bolden, 19, of Palmdale, are being held without bail in connection with the murders of the electrical engineering students from China, Beck said.

The first arrest went down around 4:30 p.m. Friday in the 1200 block of 91st Street in South LA. The arrest teams then boarded two waiting helicopters, which took them to the 6800 block of Atmore Street in Palmdale.

They have been booked for murder and are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck joined detectives from the criminal gang homicide division for a news conference Friday night. Detectives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI worked on the case with LAPD detectives.

"They left no stone unturned and spared no expense at the solving of this crime," Beck said. "People have the right to come to this city from anywhere in the world ... without being phased by vicious criminals."

Javier and Barnes have minor records and are not documented gang members, but Beck said authorities believe they have gang affiliations.

Wu and Qu, both 23-year-old electrical engineering students from China, were driving home from the library around 1 a.m. on April 11. The pair was double parked in a BMW sedan on Raymond Avenue south of Adams Boulevard when they were shot.

Neighbors in the residential neighborhood, several blocks west of the USC campus, reported hearing gunfire.

The male student, Qu, ran from the vehicle, apparently seeking help from neighbors. His body was found on the porch of a nearby residence.

Meanwhile, residents on 91st Street say their quiet block sprang into action around 4 p.m. on Friday when the LAPD arrested Barnes on suspicion of double-murder.

"I would say at least eight or more cop cars," according to witness Carlos Nino

The arrests come one day after the victims' parents filed a wrongful death suit against the university seeking unspecified damages, a suit USC officials said was "baseless."

USC President C. L. Max Nikias said Friday night that the arrests begin 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," Nikias said in a statement.

On April 13, police announced a $125,000 reward, which climbed to $200,000 after the LA City Council unanimously approved an additional $75,000 reward.

Annual scholarships were established in honor of the students, USC President C.L. Max Nikias said at a campuswide memorial service in April.

The shootings rattled the campus community and their substantial international student body. Wu and Qu were among the largest foreign student body in the United States.

Nearly 9,000 foreign transplants chose USC during the 2010-11 academic year, making the campus near downtown Los Angeles top in the nation for international students.

Between Fall 2009 and Spring 2010, enrollment by Chinese students jumped nearly 37 percent, according to that year's enrollment report.

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