Chinese student found dead

Updated: 2014-07-28 20:37

By CINDY LIU in Los Angeles

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A 24-year-old Chinese graduate student at USC was found dead at his off-campus apartment after being attacked by at least three men as he was walking home from a study group, police said.

Police said they were called at about 7 am on Thursday to an apartment in the 1200 block of 30th Street where they discovered the body of Xinran Ji.

Ji was assaulted with a blunt object around 12:45 am on Thursday a few blocks from campus and near his apartment building, investigators said.

"Somehow, the victim got back to his apartment," Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Andy Neiman said at a news conference.

Ji, who apparently had just walked a friend home, did not call police. "Someone else called police," Neiman said.

Police said that the attack may have been a crime of opportunity, and that it was unclear whether Ji was robbed.

A cause of death has not been determined, but university officials said he appeared to have suffered a head injury.

Ji was a second-year graduate student at the Viterbi School of Engineering. He entered the school in the fall of 2013.

Ji's family in China has been notified of his death and the school is making arrangements for them to travel to Los Angeles, school officials said.

In a statement issued Friday on its website, the consulate-general of China in Los Angeles expressed strong condemnation of the crime and extended heartfelt condolences to the victim's family.

It also urged that police and USC solve the crime as soon as possible and take action to ensure the safety of Chinese students in Los Angeles.

A consul spokesman told China Daily in a phone interview that support will be provided to the victim's family.

The attack came two years after two other Chinese graduate students were shot to death near campus.

In April 2012, two 23-year-old Chinese graduate students in the electrical engineering program, Ying Wu and Ming Qu, were shot to death around 1 a.m. while sitting in a parked BMW just west of campus.

The students' parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university, saying the school misled them when it said it ranked among the safest in the United State.

USC has the biggest international student population in the US. According to the statistic on USC's website, 3,771 Chinese students attended in the school year 2012-2013.

A Chinese female graduate student at USC, who said she lives in the same apartment building where Ji lived, told China Daily on Thursday that her roommate saw massive blood from the victim in an elevator when she came back to their apartment around 1 am.

"I am moving out this weekend to stay temporarily with my friend in Burbank. I know it is far from school. But I can't stay here anymore,'' said the student who asked that her name not be used.

A recent USC graduate, also Chinese and who did not want her name used, told China Daily that on-campus security is much better than off-campus. She said that north of the campus where Ji was attacked is considered much safer than the off-campus south area.

"City Park is considered newer, safer and better compared to other off-campus housing," she said. "Now I am not sure. I don't know where I can recommend junior Chinese students to rent."

(China Daily USA 07/28/2014 page3)