"Like Heaven Fell Down": Parents Grieve Slain USC Grad Student - NBC 7 San Diego

"Like Heaven Fell Down": Parents Grieve Slain USC Grad Student

Four people have been charged with capital murder in the slaying of Xinran Ji, 24



    The parents of a USC graduate student beaten to death near campus arrived in Los Angeles Thursday from China. Hetty Chang reports from Alhambra for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, 2014. (Published Thursday, July 31, 2014)

    The parents of the 24-year-old USC graduate student who was beaten to death on July 24 mourned the loss of their son Thursday outside the Chung Wah funeral home in Alhambra.

    Songbo Ji and Jinhui Du, the parents of Xinran Ji, broke down in tears as they were getting ready to address the media.

    "It's like heaven fell down, the sky fell down," the family said through an interpreter. Their son was their hope, they said.

    The family blames the university for not increasing security aftter a shooting in 2012 left two other Chinese grad students dead in a botched robbery near the campus.

    They also called on the Chinese government to issue a travel alert for its citizens planning to have students attend to the university.

    "Let the people in China know, if you do not do enough to ensure the safety of Chinese students we will have no choice but warn our parents not to send their kids to USC," said Daniel Deng, the family's attorney.

    Their son, who was studying electrical engineering at the university, was struck on the head with a bat as he walked home from an off-campus study group. Ji's roommate found his body in his apartment.

    Two men, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl have been charged with capital murder in the slaying, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

    Jonathan DelCarmen, 19, Andrew Garcia, 18, Alberto Ochoa, 17, and Alejandra Guerrero, 16, face murder charges with the special circumstance of murder during an attempted robbery, prosecutors said.

    The DA's Office said that after attacking Ji, the suspects went to Dockweiler Beach where three of them were involved in another robbery.

    DelCarmen and Garcia are eligible for the death penalty. Ochoa and Guerrero, who were charged as adults, face life in prison without the possibility of parole. They are ineligible for the death penalty because they are under 18.

    Arraignment for the four has been postponed to Aug. 12.

    Ji’s killing was the second deadly attack on USC graduate students from China during a botched robbery in as many years.

    In 2012, two 23-year-old graduate students, Ying Wu and Ming Qu, were shot to death as they sat in their car double-parked near the campus.

    Bryan Barnes, 21, was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the slaying. Javier Bolden, 21, is awaiting trial in connection with the killings.

    The family of Wu and Qu filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit, which was dismissed.

    The Wu and Qu case, which garnered international interest, prompted promises by USC officials, the LAPD and then-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to beef up security around the campus in the wake of the killings.