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USC Doesn't Have Enough Off-Campus Security, Says Suit Filed By Slain Students' Parents

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The parents of two graduate students from China who were shot to death off-campus last month have filed a wrongful death suit against USC claiming that the school doesn't provide enough security for its students off-campus.Ming Qu and Ying Wu were 23-year-old electrical engineering students from China who were shot during around 1 am during a downpour on April 11. Wu was found slumped over the wheel behind the wheel of her car, and Qu was found a short distance from the car, leading investigators to believe that they might have been the victim of a bungled car-jacking.

The lawsuit filed by Wanzhi Qu and Xiaohong Fei (parents of Qu) and Xiyong Wu and Meinan Yin (parents of Wu) says that the school lures international students to the school for a substantial sum of money with false claims, according to City News Service.

The school's website assures prospective students that the university "is ranked among the safest of U.S. universities and colleges, with one of the most comprehensive, proactive campus and community safety programs in the nation." However, the lawsuit claims that the campus is in a high-crime area and that USC does not provide patrols in the area where the students were killed.

Shortly after the killings, USC sent out a letter saying that it did not provide patrols in the area where the students were killed. But USC's attorney Debra Wong Yang today issued a statement about the suit, saying that the incident was random and not typical for that area:

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"USC is deeply saddened by this tragic event, which was a random violent act not representative of the safety of USC or the neighborhoods around campus. While we have deep sympathy for the victims' families, this lawsuit is baseless and we will move to have it dismissed. As part of our support for the families we met with them and offered financial assistance as a gesture of kindness and sympathy. The attorney for the families subsequently instructed them to decline USC's gesture and filed suit."

Update 11:40 am: Alan Burton Newman, the attorney for the students' families, e-mailed LAist to explain that his client's rejected USC's offer of financial assistance because of the strings that came attached: it would release the school from all liability.