LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A gunman opened fire outside a large Halloween party at the University of Southern California and wounded four people in the second major shooting incident involving the urban Los Angeles institution this year, police said on Thursday.
The gunfire erupted late on Wednesday outside a party at the Tutor Campus Center, the university said in a statement, although the people wounded in the incident were not students, faculty or staff at the school.
Two men got into an argument at the party before one opened fire, shooting the other man and three bystanders, according to Captain David Carlisle, a spokesman for the university’s Department of Public Safety.
Police said two people were detained for questioning in connection with the shooting outside the party, which they said attracted a large crowd including many people from outside the campus.
The violence came just over six months after two Chinese graduate students were shot and killed while sitting in a car a few blocks from the campus.
Those deaths were attributed by law enforcement to an attempted robbery gone wrong, and sparked a debate over whether the expensive private university provides adequate security measures in neighborhoods where many students live adjacent to the campus.
The shooting on Wednesday also came four years after University of Southern California sprinter Bryshon Nellum, who won a silver medal this year at the London Olympics, was shot in both legs at a Halloween party near campus.
University President C. L. Max Nikias said in a statement that the school would carefully reassess “all of the university’s policies regarding visitors and events held on campus” in the wake of the shooting.
Nikias said university policy requires that student parties on campus be open only to guests with student identification from the school or another university. Nikias said the people involved in the shooting had not been admitted to the gathering.
The Los Angeles Times, citing law enforcement sources, identified the critically wounded man as Geno Hall, a former football star at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles who in 2009 was ranked by the newspaper as a top local player.
Carlisle said the targeted man was in critical condition and three others were hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds.
“Although this incident did not involve USC students and was resolved quickly, it strikes at the heart of the Trojan Family,” Nikias said, referring to the university’s nickname. “I understand the apprehensions and concerns of our campus community as we move forward.”
“All of us have been shaken by serious incidents this year. Despite these events, or indeed because of them, we must continue to support each other as members of the Trojan Family,” Nikias added.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Will Dunham