4 Teens in Custody in ‘Senseless’ Killing of USC Graduate Student: LAPD

Four teen suspects have been arrested in the slaying of a USC graduate student who left a trail of blood when returning to his apartment from an assault on streets nearby, police said Monday.

Xinran Ji was killed while walking back to his off-campus apartment near USC on July 24, 2014.

Xinran Ji was killed while walking back to his off-campus apartment near USC on July 24, 2014.

Two adults and two juveniles were in custody and were being held on suspicion of murder and other charges, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Xinran Ji, 24, died in his apartment in the 1200 block of 30th Street after being assaulted as he walked home early July 24, police had said.

Ji was returning from a group study session when he was approached in the area of 29th Street and Orchard Avenue, blocks from the University of Southern California campus, police have said.

He was hit with a blunt-force object, according to Los Angeles Police Department.

“He was set upon by a group of individuals, we believe five,” Smith said. “Those individuals beat him severely.”

The assault was an attempted robbery, Smith said.

Police believe the assailants drove to Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey after the attack on Ji and committed another robbery on July 24. Two of them were taken into custody shortly afterward and three others were detained later, Smith said.

Four of those five were being held in connection with Ji’s death.

They were identified as Jonathan Delcarmen, 19, who was being held on suspicion of murder, and Andrew Garcia, 18, who was held on murder, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

Flowers were placed outside the apartment where Xinran Ji had lived. (Credit: KTLA)

Flowers were placed outside the apartment where Xinran Ji had lived. (Credit: KTLA)

Two juveniles, one of whom was female, were held on murder, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. They were described only as ages 16 and 17 by Cmdr. Bill Scott of South Bureau.

A fifth suspect, a 14-year-old girl, was being held only in connection with the Dockweiler robbery, Smith said.

“I don’t know why a group of young people would go on a crime spree as terrible as this … and do these kind of unspeakable things to someone who is just walking home at night,” Smith said.

No booking photos were being released.

Garcia and Delcarmen were each being held on $1 million bail after their 11 a.m. arrest by Southwest Division on July 25, online county inmate records showed.

Ji was a graduate student from China, where his death made news. In 2012, two other Chinese USC graduate students were brutally killed near campus.

Ji’s death was a “senseless loss of life,” Scott said.

“This impacts all of us,” Scott said.

Some USC students expressed relief that an arrest was made in the case, but they acknowledged some safety concerns for the area.

“Knowing that it was a random act, and not someone who was targeted makes it a little more freakier because it could’ve been anyone,” one female student told KTLA. “Like, if I had decided to walk down the street that night, it could’ve easily been me.”

Unspecified technology installed by USC’s Department of Public Safety aided in the investigation, Smith said.

LAPD planned to evaluate deployment, personnel and technology in the area of USC to ensure safety, Smith said.

Meanwhile, an official at USC said the victim’s family would be traveling to Los Angeles from China, and that once they arrive, the university would plan a memorial service for Ji.