Just a few hours after the gunshots took place, an atmosphere of mourning covered the USC University Park Campus as students gathered for a vigil, remembering the two Chinese graduate students who were killed Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, several Chinese media irritated international students in the U.S.—especially fellow Trojans—with distorted reports of the incident.
The reporter continued to remind readers of the BMW’s importance to the story, stating that the BMW car was a brand new car worth $60,000. However, the BMW was later discovered to be a 2003 model that the male victim bought for about $10,000, reported The LA Times.
Because of the “$60,000 BMW” claim, the two students were criticized by multiple Chinese media outlets as being among the “second generation of the rich”—which carries with it a negative connotation in China. The characterization refers to kids from rich families who do not study or work, choosing instead to take advantage of their family background and spend money. Contrary to the stigma, the two victims were described by their classmates as being hardworking students who saved money instead of spending loosely.
Several Chinese media reporters not only offended the victims with misinformed labels, but some Internet users also gloated over the story, leaving malicious comments:“Good job of killing them, kill more ‘2nd generation of the rich’”; “Highly celebrate the death of the rich kids in American!!!!”; “Driving BMW, not worth sympathy.”
A number of USC Chinese students said they felt a huge betrayal by their country and are extremely disappointed by the comments made.
“The reporters distort the truth and possess the stereotype of “2nd generation of the rich” on Chinese students who study abroad,” said Yujiao Xian, a freshman at USC.
“The Internet users who maliciously attacked the victims and the students who study abroad are just jealous that they can afford to study abroad and may have a brighter future,” said Hanwen Lei.
A family friend of the female victim Ying Wu requested that the media reporters in attendance at Wednesday’s memorial follow moral guidelines and only report the facts.
The 163.com website has since fixed its headline and the inaccurate details after receiving requests from the public while qq.com’s comments remained unchanged.
(image via Gracie Zheng)
UPDATE: 8:45 a.m.: Reports now say it may not have been an attempted carjacking.
Two USC students, a man and a woman, were fatally shot in a car in the West Adams district near campus early Wednesday morning, police said.
The students, who were in their 20s, were found by police at 1 a.m. and may be the victims of a bungled carjacking just south of 27th Street on Raymond Ave., according to City News Service. They were taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Their car was a newer model BMW.
The man was found outside the car near a home, suggesting he was able to get out of the car before collapsing.
Police say they have officers fanned out in all directions. ATVN reports from the scene: “LAPD has roped off both sides of the intersection of 27th and Raymond.”
From CBSLocal: “While officials say it was too dark to get a good description of the shooter, there were several witnesses who say the shooter drove away in a dark-colored vehicle.”
An alert was sent to USC students Wednesday morning. “Names of the victims are withheld pending notification of next of kin,” wrote USC campus police Capt. David Carlisle in the alert. “The circumstances surrounding the shooting are unclear. USC’s Department of Public Safety is working closely with LAPD on the investigation.
As fury over the Trayvon Martin case surmounts with protests around the country, one thing about the case has become clear: the more details are released, the more confusing it gets.
George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch member, who shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin on February 26, said to police that Martin slammed his head on the sidewalk.
According to CNN, Zimmerman was on his way to the grocery store when he noticed Martin in his gated community. He called police and described that Martin was acting strangely and may have been on drugs:
Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., told CBS Thursday night, calling George “the neighbor everyone would want to have.”
Robert Zimmerman said he believed the medical records will help prove George Zimmerman’s motive. In contrast to the “good neighbor” portrait his family has been describing, a former co-worker told New York Daily News that Zimmerman had a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality and that he was fired from his job as security guard for being overly aggressive.
In the meantime, protests continue around the country- demanding that George Zimmerman be arrested while the case continues to be investigated.
President Obama gave his reactions to the slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Friday, saying it was “a tragedy” and that a federal investigation of the case was crucial.
"I can only imagine what these parents are going through," Mr. Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, as CBS News reported, “and when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local, to figure out how this tragedy happened.”
The Justice Department has begun investigating the shooting that happened on Feb. 26 when the unarmed Martin was killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader, who claimed he did it in self-defense.
Protesters have been gathering around the country, demanding justice for Trayvon’s murder. The “Million Hoodie March” took place in New York this week as well as a rally that attracted hundreds to Leimert Park in Los Angeles. Rallies are expected to continue- and intensify- this weekend as the outcries for justice surge.
French police continue to push Islamic activist and murder suspect Mohammed Merah toward surrender tonight, as a siege at his apartment home in Toulouse, France nears the 24-hour mark.
Merah, 24, is accused in the killings of seven individuals, including a rabbi, three Jewish children, and three paratroopers over an eight-day shooting spree. Clues related to Merah’s weapon, his scooter, and an Internet IP address led officials to his current location in a southwest district of Toulouse, according to U.K. Telegraph’s France correspondent Henry Samuel.
Conflicting reports about whether or not the residence had come under assault from French police have risen throughout the day, the result of police actions meant to persuade Merah to yield. Earlier this evening, street lights of the neighborhood were shut off, gas and electric lines were cut, and spotlights were trained on Merah’s apartment so that police in night vision goggles could better track his movements.
According to the Associated Press:
As midnight approached, three explosions were heard and orange flashes lit up the night sky near the building. An Interior Ministry official said the suspect had gone back on a previous pledge to turn himself in — and that police blew up the shutters outside the apartment window to pressure him to surrender.
Hours later, two new blasts and a burst of gunfire were heard, though officials insisted no full-out assault was under way.
Authorities were “counting on his great fatigue and weakening,” said Didier Martinez of the SGP police union, adding the siege could go on for hours.
Merah remains inside the home, armed with powerful assault weapons. Negotiations, stalled for a time earlier Wednesday, have continued, but there is no end in sight to the blockade. For now, hundreds of French policemen, officials, and journalists are camped out around Merah’s residence as cold sets in, waiting for the sun to rise.