A USC graduate student was found dead Thursday morning after he was attacked by three people as he walked home from an off-campus study group hours earlier, police said.
The 24-year-old student was attacked about 12:45 a.m. when he was "struck with an unknown blunt object," Los Angeles police said Thursday afternoon.
After the attack near 29th Street and Orchard Avenue, the student was able to walk home, leaving a trail of blood to his apartment about a block from the USC campus. His roommate found him dead inside about 7 a.m., police said.
He was identified by USC as Xinran Ji, whose family is in China. USC officials said they had spoken with the victim's family and they are making arrangements for them to travel to Los Angeles.
The campus community was on edge as they tried to figure out what happened to a fellow student.
"I live on the same floor that they found the body," one student said. "I still don't want to go back. I haven't been back to my apartment all day."
"Mr. Ji joined the school in the Fall of 2013 and was a beloved member of the Viterbi community and the Trojan Family," USC Dean Yannis C. Yortsos said in a statement. "As a Dean and Professor but also as a Viterbi parent, this news hits me very deeply."
School officials said there was no apparent threat to the campus community, but students were still concerned.
"It certainly raises questions about student safety," student Anshu Siripurapu said. "You're usually not out of, you know, eyesight of a private security officer, which is why it's shocking that this happened here and there haven't been any witnesses. It definitely has shaken my confidence a bit."
Police said they do not yet know a motive in the attack and are gathering security footage from the area. Investigators said they are searching for a dark colored compact sedan.
Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.