USC and the nearby West Adams neighborhood where the double murder took place April 11 are still in shock. Police are hunting the cold-blooded killer in a widening manhunt, and a new wave of fear is settling into the neighborhood after two decades of reductions in local crime. As president of the Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association, the block club for the area where the murders happened, I want to express the most profound sympathy from all of our neighbors to the parents of Ying Wu, who lived among us, and of her male friend Ming Qu.
I met Ying Wu only once, in the home where she rented a room, four doors away from mine, and remember her as lovely and laughing. She had come from distant Hunan in China's interior to study electrical engineering at USC. She was living with a nurturing couple and their daughter who are among my closest friends and in whose home I have spent many happy hours. On the day we met I had visited to watch Sergio Leone's spaghetti western, Once Upon a Time in the West, with the homeowner, my friend David. As it was ending Ying Wu and her roommate came home. We were introduced and shared momentary pleasantries, they sampled the snacks I had brought and went up to their room. Yesterday the wanton violence of our celluloid afternoon became real and she was struck down at the age of twenty-three while talking in the rain in her boyfriend's car. She was shot in the chest; he in the face. Trying to save her, Ming Qu, mortally wounded, made his way from the car, up the walk to the house. He banged on the door to summon help, breaking two small glass panes before falling unconscious. He died on the way to the hospital, also twenty-three. Under China's one-child policy they were both only children.
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