An attorney for the parents of two USC students slain in an off-campus robbery attempt in April said in court documents that university officials failed to provide adequate security.
Attorney Alan Newman said in court papers filed on Monday in his civil wrongful death lawsuit that USC should be held liable for the killings of Ming Qu and Ying Wu, who were shot April 11, blocks away from the South Los Angeles private university.
Newman said the area in which the killings occurred ranked 27th out of 209 L.A. neighborhoods for violent crime. He argued that USC doesn’t provide around-the-clock security as it claims it does on its website.
“The University is like a fortress surrounded by a high crime neighborhood,” the lawsuit said. “By not providing a security presence, it sends a message to the community and neighborhood that violent crime and protection of the students is not a concern of USC and emboldens violence in the area.”
Debra Wong Yang, an attorney representing USC, did not return a call seeking comment.
The case, which garnered international interest, prompted a police manhunt for the killers and promises by USC officials, the LAPD and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to beef up security around the campus in the wake of the killings.
The manhunt for the killers ended five weeks after the slayings with the arrests May 18 of Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19.
They face capital murder charges in connection with the slayings. They are expected to appear in court on Nov. 20.
Bolden also faces attempted murder charges in connection with a shooting at a party in South L.A. in February, the Los Angeles County District Attorney said. Both men also face attempted murder in another South L.A. shooting that wounded a 20-year-old man at a party in December, prosecutors said.
Wu and Qu were sitting in Qu’s BMW that was double parked at 1 a.m. on Raymond Avenue near West 27th Street when they were killed after they refused to give up the car and possessions, court documents said.
The former electrical engineering graduate students from China were both 23.