Fears Linger at USC After Grad Student's Fatal Attack

A 24-year-old student was attacked and left a trail of blood to his apartment

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some USC grad students are moving out, one day after a student was attacked and found dead in his apartment. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 25, 2014. (Published Friday, Jul 25, 2014)

    One day after a Chinese USC graduate student was found dead just one block off campus, a group of Chinese graduate students are moving out of the apartment building across the street.

    Xinran Ji, 24, was found dead in his apartment near 30th Street and Vermont Avenue by a roommate Thursday morning, hours after he was attacked by three people as he walked home from an off-campus study group, police said.

    After the attack near 29th Street and Orchard Avenue, Ji walked home, leaving a trail of blood to his apartment about a block from the USC campus. Police said Ji was "struck with an unknown blunt object."

    Students who live near where Ji's body was found said they were too disturbed to stay.

    "It seems every place is not safe. Wherever we go, maybe something bad (will) happen," graduate student Yuan Tao said. "I wouldn't get out after sunset."

    Huang and his roommate said they chose to live north of campus, believing it's safer than surrounding neighborhoods, but still don't feel safe walking anywhere at night.

    "The neighborhood is not so good, but I still think it's the safest," graduate student Hao Ming said.

    Ming is also leaving his apartment on the same street and moving to Koreatown.

    "I think that neighborhood may be better and cheaper, nicer," Ming said.

    A student who lives on Ji's floor told NBC4 on Thursday she didn't go back to her apartment the entire day.

    While students question the university's security, USC and LAPD have stepped up patrols in the area since the 2012 murders of two Chinese graduate students who were shot to death as they sat in their car off campus.

    More than 150 cameras have been added and a free security escort service is offered for students living off campus.

    Lifelong area resident Donell Hogan said he has noticed the difference and was surprised by Thursday's attack.

    "I thought public safety and cameras and stuff around here were making a difference but I guess not," Hogan said.

    Hogan and other residents said they haven't seen USC's private security patrolling the neighborhood recently and wondered if they are scaled back during the summer.

    The chief of USC's Department of Public Safety had not responded to request for comment about summer security staffing by time of publication.

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