LOS ANGELES, May 17 (Reuters) - The parents of two Chinese
graduate students slain near the University of Southern
California last month have filed a wrongful death lawsuit
accusing the school of misrepresenting the area as safe and
failing to provide security patrols.
The 15-page lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles
Superior Court comes just over a month after Ming Qu and Ying
Wu, both 23, were fatally shot as they were sitting in a 2003
BMW car that had been double-parked.
The early morning shooting deaths on April 11 occurred in
front of Wu's rented home over half a dozen city blocks from the
campus, sparking a debate over whether USC provides adequate
security measures in neighborhoods adjacent to the Los Angeles
campus where many students live.
The lawsuit said that USC provides security in some areas
around the campus, but not where the shooting of the two
"There's no excuse for it. You can't tell when you're
walking from one area to another. There's no sign that says,
'Safety zone ahead,'" said attorney Alan Newman, who represents
both sets of parents.
Debra Wong Yang, an attorney for USC, said the school would
seek to have the lawsuit dismissed.
"USC is deeply saddened by this tragic event, which was a
random violent act not representative of the safety of USC or
the neighborhood around campus," she said.
The lawsuit accuses USC of actively recruiting international
students, such as the two slain graduate students from China,
who were studying electrical engineering.
The complaint quotes a USC website that calls the school one
of the safest universities in the United States and also touts
the fact that its public safety officers provide 24-hour
security on campus as well as in surrounding neighborhoods.
The lawsuit further said that USC provided security in some
adjacent streets that are called the "patrolled area," while
that the place where the students were killed was the "quick
"A 'quick response' is only helpful after the crime has been
committed," the lawsuit said. "There was no reason not to extend
the same (patrol) security to the quick response area."
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages.
Los Angeles police continue to seek any person responsible
for the death of the two students, and the city and the
university offered a combined $200,000 reward for information
that would help solve the crime.
Police initially said that some unspecified property of the
victims was taken, suggesting robbery might have been a factor.
USC had more than 7,200 international students enrolled in
2011, and the largest group was from China, the school's website
said. The school charges those students over $30,000 a year for
tuition, Newman said.
The case is Qu v University of Southern California, Superior
Court of California, no. BC484543.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)
Follow us on Twitter: @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook