4 in custody in killing of Chinese USC student

July 28, 2014

(CNS) – Two men and two juveniles were behind bars today in connection with the beating death of a Chinese USC graduate student who was attacked while walking home and was found hours later inside his apartment.

Jonathan DelCarmen, 19, Andrew Garcia, 18, along with a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, are suspected of robbing and beating 24-year-old Xinran Ji around 12:45 a.m. Thursday near 29th Street and Orchard Avenue.

DelCarmen was booked on suspicion of murder, while the other three suspects were booked on suspicion of murder, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

A fifth juvenile, a 14-year-old girl, was also arrested, and police said that while they believe she had some connection to the USC killing, the extent of her involvement was not immediately known. She was being held only on suspicion of a separate robbery.

The names of the juveniles were not released because of their ages.

Ji, an electrical engineering graduate student, managed to walk back to his City Park apartment in the 1200 block of West 30th Street, where he was found dead around 7 a.m. that morning. A trail of blood marked the path Ji

Investigators believe that after attacking Ji, the group went to Dockweiler Beach and committed another robbery in that area, where DelCarmen and Garcia were arrested Thursday, Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew
Smith said.

“Two men at that point were taken into custody and throughout the rest of the day the detectives from Pacific area were able to follow up and take more people into custody,” Smith said. “So a total of five people were taken
into custody following the robbery over in the Pacific area.”

Smith would not give specifics about how the suspects were connected to Ji’s death, but he hinted that surveillance cameras and other crime-fighting technology played a role.

“The technology that the University of Southern California and Los Angeles Police Department have invested in this area has gone a long way toward helping us solve this crime,” Smith said.

With the attack again raising questions about safety on the outskirts of the USC campus, Smith said the department was “taking a look at all of our efforts, all of our technology, all of our deployment efforts, all of our personnel efforts in the USC area to do everything we can to ensure that things are safe for students at USC and to try and prevent any incident like this from ever happening again.”

LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said last week Ji was struck with an unknown type of “blunt-force object.”  Ji had apparently been with a study group and had just walked a friend home before heading toward his own apartment when the attack occurred, Neiman said.

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering was expected to hold a memorial service for Ji later this week.