The intensive news coverage of the murder of two international graduate students from China this week near the University of Southern California is understandable: two young people, Wu Ying and Qu Ming, both 23, struck down senselessly in what seemed like a random carjacking or robbery attempt; the fact that both were foreign students far from home, possibly less than familiar with the dangers of their environs; the juxtaposition of a high-cost private university with its working-class surroundings; and the safety concerns for other students arising in the aftermath.
There have been other young people killed near USC in recent months, though not students. This week, as police described the crime situation surrounding USC, they mentioned there had been four murders in the area this year. There have been more homicide deaths in the larger area surrounding USC this year, but the two shooting deaths below were those closest to campus as seen in the Los Angeles Times' Homicide Report, which maps homicide deaths in the city. One victim was Latino, the other was black. Both were young.
Jostin Sosa Ordonez, 17: Sosa, described as Latino, was killed Jan. 12 in Vermont Square, a neighborhood a short distance south of the university and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum complex, on the 4100 block of South Figueroa Street. From the four-paragraph story:
Sosa Ordonez was found shot several times on a residential sidewalk about 6 a.m., said Ed Winter, spokesman for the coroner's office. Authorities were called and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Winter had no other information about the case.
Justin Ford, 32: Ford, described as black, was killed March 22, also in Vermont Square on the 4500 block of South Kansas Avenue. The way he died was tragically similar to what shooting victim Qu Ming endured this week as he sought help. From a seven-paragraph story:
Ford was seated in his parked car about 1:15 p.m. when an unknown person walked up and began firing a gun, according to an LAPD news release.
After the shooting, the assailant fled on foot.
Having been hit several times, Ford got out of the vehicle and ran to the back porch of a nearby house, police said. The residents called 911 and Ford was later pronounced dead.
Investigators believe the shooting was gang-related. No arrests have been made in connection with the case.
The shooter in the deaths of the two USC students this week also remains outstanding. The university has announced a $125,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.