USC reassures students campus is safe

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(CNS) – University of Southern California officials sought today to reassure students, faculty and staff that the campus is safe, in the wake of the slayings of two foreign students who were gunned down blocks from the university in an apparent botched carjacking.

A woman, Ying Wu, and a man, Ming Qu — USC engineering graduate students from China who were both in their early 20s — were fatally shot early this morning while in a new BMW in the West Adams area of Los Angeles, police said.

Officers sent to the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue near West 27th Street shortly after 1 a.m. found the victims suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Paramedics took them to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

In a letter sent to USC email addresses, Vice President of Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson and Senior Vice President of Administration Todd Dickey said campus security is a priority.

“This incident occurred outside the neighborhood areas where over the past several years we have steadily increased our security presence, adding dozens of security and license plate recognition cameras, uniformed officers and yellow-jacketed security ambassadors,” the letter says. “However, tragedies such as this morning’s remind us that we all need to be continuously vigilant about safety and security.”

The officials sought to remind the campus community about a variety of ongoing collaborations between the university and students and parents, community groups and the city’s public safety agencies.

“These efforts, among others, have succeeded in significantly improving safety in our surrounding community,” Jackson and Dickey’s letter states.

Students who might need counseling were instructed to contact Student Counseling Services at (213) 740-2421, while faculty members were directed to the USC Center for Work and Family Life at (213) 821-0800.

“Our community is saddened and outraged by this callous and meaningless act. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and friends and all who knew them at USC,” the letter says. “The Los Angeles Police Department and our Department of Public Safety are working aggressively to solve this crime.”

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