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USC Grad Student Beaten To Death Near Campus On His Way Home From A Study Group

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A USC engineering graduate student who was found dead in his apartment near campus Thursday morning was the victim of a brutal attack.Xinran Ji, 24, was assaulted around 12:45 a.m. by at least three suspects who hit him with an unknown blunt object while he was walking home from a study group session on 29th Street, near Orchard Avenue, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman told the Pasadena Star-News. After he was beaten, Ji left a trail of blood behind him on the street as he managed to get back to his home at the City Park Apartments in the 1200 block of 30th Street.

Ji's roommate found him around 7 a.m. when he notified police; however Ji was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities are still investigating what led to the attack, including whether the suspects stole anything from Ji. Though they don't have a description of the attackers, they have information that there are at least three suspects involved. They are going through the area's surveillance camera videos to see if they can find any more clues. Police also say they are searching for a dark-colored compact sedan.

The school has notified Ji's family, who lives in China, about his death, and they are making arrangements to travel out to Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times. The victim started attending the school for electrical engineering in fall 2013.

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This isn't the first time there have been violent crimes committed near the school. Two Chinese engineering graduate students at USC, Ming Qu and Ying Wu, were gunned down in in their car near the school in a botched robbery in 2012.

"It's shocking, but at the same time you're almost desensitized because you're like, 'Are you kidding me? It happened again?'" Joe Benson, a senior undergraduate student, told the Times.

USC Department of Public Safety Chief John Thomas told the Times that Ji's attack was an "isolated incident." "We do all we can to ensure the safety of our campus and surrounding neighborhoods," he said in a statement. "Unfortunately, tragic events of this kind can take place despite our best efforts, and our entire community is grieving the loss of our student."