USC campus officer shoots armed robbery suspect

April 18, 2012 - 12:55 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A gunman was shot Wednesday during his arrest by a University of Southern California police officer after a group of students was robbed near the campus, authorities said.

The shooting came a week after two Chinese graduate students were killed off-campus as they sat in a BMW, but police said it was too early to determine whether both crimes were linked.

"Certainly they are looking very closely into what happened here," said Los Angeles police Lt. Andy Neiman. "Hopefully, there is a connection, but to say there is one right now would be complete speculation."

Ballistic tests will be done on the handgun used in the robbery and the evidence recovered from last week's slayings, he said.

The shooting of the suspect on Wednesday occurred shortly after 12:30 a.m. near sorority row and the Shrine Auditorium. Police said Jeremy Hendricks, 24, of Compton approached three men and a woman and demanded their belongings.

The man loaded up a backpack with the stolen items and two of the victims gave chase, authorities said. They were able to find a USC Department of Public Safety officer who joined the pursuit.

Neiman said the officer confronted the suspect and shot him once in the leg. The shooting was under investigation and it unclear whether the man pointed the gun at the officer.

The man was taken to a hospital and will be booked for investigation of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, Neiman said.

Hendricks has a criminal record that includes robbery and burglary and may have been on probation, authorities said.

None of the victims were injured and their belongings, along with the handgun, were recovered.

Some students said they were concerned for their safety after Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23, were shot and killed about a mile from the USC campus.

Investigators have said the attack might have been part of a robbery or attempted carjacking. Some of the victims' items were missing, but police declined to elaborate.

Authorities have not yet released a description of the shooter in that attack. A $200,000 reward has been offered leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

A Wednesday evening memorial service was set at the Shrine Auditorium for Qu and Wu, whose families have flown from China.