As police continue to search for suspects in the recent off-campus killing of two 23-year-old graduate students from China, University of Southern California administrators and police plan to announce a reward for information in the case.
The $125,000 reward is scheduled to be announced at a 1 p.m. news conference Friday by the Los Angeles Police Department and USC officials at the scene of the shootings of Ming Qu and Ying Wu. The electrical engineering students were shot early Wednesday in the West Adams District.
A spring social set for 4 p.m. Thursday at USC's Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering was canceled, and a memorial service was be held instead.
"It’s tragic, very tragic, I don’t know what to say," said Pratik Bhalgad, a USC engineering classmate.
The pair had double-parked in a BMW sedan on Raymond Avenue south of Adams Boulevard – in a residential neighborhood several blocks west of campus – when a gunman fired on both of them. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots on an evening that was so rainy other sounds may have been difficult to perceive.
The male student, Ming Qu, escaped the car and was gunned down. He was found on the porch of a nearby residence. Neon Tommy, a campus online news source, posted a photo of blood on the doorknob of the home where Qu was found.
Qu's family has applied for visas to come to the country, according to the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles.
Detectives said on Wednesday morning that they were reviewing surveillance tapes but have no substantial leads. Witnesses saw a man running from the scene.
"At every stretch we see police standing from DPS but even then these things happen, it’s really unfortunate," said Deepak Karkala, a USC engineering classmate.
USC public safety officials were meeting early Wednesday to come up with answers to frequently asked questions about the off-campus killings. The university now has a "safety kiosk" in place, with 24-hour staffing, at the site of the shootings.
The kiosk is located three blocks outside the area where campus police usually patrol, and university officials hope it will help calm fears.
"It's a team of detectives who told us they would be working seven days a week to get this solved," said Captain David Carlisle of the USC Department of Public Safety. "With their skills, I'm pretty confident it will happen. It's just a matter of when."
"Nothing else can be done. You can’t have security everywhere, you have to be careful always," said Pratik Bhalgad, a USC engineering classmate.
A vigil on campus Wednesday night drew hundreds of students.