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LAPD arrests 2 suspects in murder of 2 USC international students

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

The house police believe USC grad student Ming Qu was able to walk to and ask for help at before dying after being shot.

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

The reward sign for the USC murder case showed at the press conference announcing the arrest of suspects; police are still seeking more information, so the reward stands.


The LAPD announced Friday the arrest of two suspects in the murder of two international students at the University of Southern California. Police took into custody a man suspected of being the shooter who killed two USC students, as well as a second man believed to be involved in the killings.

The suspects are Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19. Both have minor criminal records and are not known to be gang members, though Chief Charlie Beck said they may have some connection with a gang.

The chief didn't say much about the arrests, but he did say there was forensic evidence linking the suspects to the murder.

"The evidence all points to a street robbery," Beck said.

Although Beck would not elaborate, he said forensic evidence linked the suspects to at least two other attempted murders in Los Angeles. Both are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in L.A. criminal court.

The search is still ongoing for the murder weapon, Beck said, and police are still offering a reward for more information in the killings. Beck asked anyone with more information about the fatal shooting to talk with the police.

"This was a crime that shocked this city," said Beck. "And we absolutely left no stone unturned and spared no expense [to solve] this crime."

The University of Southern California released a statement online thanking police for sharing the university’s “outrage at this senseless and singular act.”

"Let this be a reminder to anyone who wants to do something like this, we will work every day to find you," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a press conference at LAPD Headquarters. Joining Villaraigosa and Beck were detectives from the LAPD's Criminal Gang Homicide Division and representatives from LAPD command staff.

The suspected killer was taken into custody about 4 p.m., according to the L.A. Times. The second man was allegedly present during the attempted robbery, the Times reported. One suspect was arrested near USC, the other in Palmdale; both are being held without bail.

Students Ming Qu and Ying Wu were shot and killed a mile from the USC campus on April 11. They were sitting in a BMW around 1 a.m. in the West Adams neighborhood when they were approached by an armed man and told to get out, before he shot and killed them both.

They were international graduate students from China studying electrical engineering. Parents of the students recently sued USC for promoting its comprehensive safety programs but not patroling the area where the students were killed. Last month, USC and police announced extra security patrols around the campus near downtown L.A.

This story has been updated; original story published at 6:39 p.m. Friday.

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