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2 USC students injured in party shooting near campus

September 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A party near the USC campus took a violent turn Sunday morning, leaving two students injured with gunshot wounds.

An undergraduate student and a graduate student were injured in the shooting. The undergraduate student, a junior, was shot in the chest. The graduate student was shot in the finger, and police are crediting her for helping save the other victim's life.

The incident happened about 2 a.m. Sunday at a party that began Saturday night at an apartment complex in the 1200 block of West 37th Place. According to Capt. Melissa Zak of the Los Angeles Police Department, the victims confronted an uninvited guest after they suspected he had stolen an expensive set of headphones from them.

When confronted, the suspect took out a handgun and fired multiple rounds at the victims.

"He got shot in the collarbone. Nobody seemed to know who (the gunman) was," said Ben Ketelaar, a neighbor.

The two victims were rushed to California Hospital Medical Center, where the undergraduate student was listed in critical but stable condition. He underwent surgery and was recovering.

The second victim was treated for her hand injury, release and expected to be OK. Hospital officials told police that her hand deflected the bullet and delayed its path before entering the other victim's chest, likely saving his life.

"The female involved tried to interfere, tried to save him. And she was inadvertently struck," Zak said.

The apartment is owned by Stuho housing, a leasing company that offers students off-campus housing. The company is not affiliated with the university. The building has security cameras, and detectives are reviewing video that may help them with the case.

Officers also interviewed many of the 100 people who attended the party and were following leads to track down the suspect or suspects involved in the shooting.

Detectives said the suspect was shirtless and wearing jean shorts.

Zac said many resources have been tapped to conduct the suspect search.


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