Suspects Admitted Singling Out Chinese Student Near USC, Detective Says

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An LAPD detective testified that Andrew Garcia, left, told him he and four friends decided to rob Xinran Ji near USC. Ji was beaten to death. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

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Four teenagers accused of murdering a USC student gave various accounts of the attack in police interviews, but all admitted to singling out a target near the college campus and taking a bat to rob him, according to court testimony.

LAPD Det. Paul Shearholdt testified at a preliminary hearing Wednesday that each of the suspects said the group was roaming near USC looking for someone to “flock” — a term they used to describe robbery — for money.

Andrew Garcia, 19, said he and four friends were in a car driving on West 29th Street just past midnight on July 24 when they saw Xinran Ji walking alone, Shearholdt testified, and they decided that “because he was Chinese he must have money.”

Ji, a 24-year-old engineering graduate student, was killed two years after the shooting deaths of two other engineering graduate students from China. Ming Qu and Ying Wu were shot to death after a botched robbery in April 2012, prompting fears for the security of international students at and around USC. Those concerns were heightened when Ji was killed.

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