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Judge sides with USC in wrongful-death lawsuit over fatally shot students

Ming Qu (left) and Ying Wu (right) were shot and killed near the University of Southern California on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
November 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A judge sided with USC Tuesday in a wrongful death lawsuit brought against the school by parents of two Chinese students killed off-campus in a botched robbery in April.

Ming Qu and Ying Wu were fatally shot at about 1 a.m. on April 11 while sitting in Qu's double-parked car off-campus on the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue. Qu and Wu were both 23-year-old engineering students at the university.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson agreed with USC attorneys that the lawsuit filed by the slain students' parents lacked sufficient legal arguments to move forward. The attorney for the families have 20 days to file an amended complaint.

The USC court papers state that the parents' lawyers have not stated any evidence showing the school is responsible for off-campus crimes committed by people with no connection to the university.

"The students' deaths at the hands of third-party criminals were tragic, but USC is not the appropriate target of plaintiffs' grief," the defense attorneys' court papers state. "This case and others like it expose a victim's damage suit for what it is ... an artificial scheme designed not to fairly assess culpability, but to reach into the deepest pocket."

The lawsuit filed by the parents of the students states that USC does not provide patrols in the area where the students were killed and the campus is in a high-crime area. The lawsuit accused USC of hiding behind the word "urban" in its online application form and not saying the school is in a high-crime residential area. The suit alleges "USC is not one of the safest U.S. universities and colleges and does not provide 24-hour law enforcement services in the surrounding neighborhoods and is in a high crime area."

"Boiled down to its core elements, (the) complaint is nothing more than an attempt to try to hold USC financially responsible for damages inflicted on its students by the criminal behavior of third parties unrelated to USC," the defense court papers state.

Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden, both 20, have been charged with the murders. The charges include special circumstance allegations that make the accused eligible for the death penalty if they're convicted.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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