2 adults, 3 minors, arrested in fatal assault on USC student

USC grad student Xinran Ji, 24, was found dead in his off-campus apartment on Thursday, July 24, 2014,  after being attacked by at least three assailants, police said.

CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - Authorities announced they have made a "series of arrests" in the beating death of a University of Southern California graduate student who was attacked while walking to his off-campus apartment last week, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Xinran Ji, a 24-year-old international student from China studying electrical engineering, was found dead by his roommate in their shared apartment around 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to the station.

In a late-afternoon news conference Monday at LAPD headquarters, police announced 19-year-old Jonathan Del Carmen, 18-year-old Andrew Garcia and three juveniles have been charged for their alleged roles in the beating.

Four of the five arrested individuals are charged with murder with special circumstances, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted robbery, the station reports. They will be eligible for the death penalty. The fifth suspect, who has not been charged with murder, is a 15-year-old girl.

"As [Ji] was walking home, he was set upon by a group of individuals, we believe five," said Cmdr. Andy Smith during the press conference. "And those five individuals accosted him and beat him severely in what we believe may have been an attempted robbery."

The victim was attacked around 12:45 a.m. July 24 as he was heading back to his apartment after walking a friend home, according to Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Andy Neiman. Following the beating, Ji managed to walk the rest of the way to his apartment, leaving a trail of blood behind him.

Neiman said Ji was struck with an unknown type of "blunt-force object."

Smith said he believes the group arrested in connection with Ji's death may have been involved in another robbery later that day at nearby Dockweiler Beach, according to the station. An arrest made in connection with that robbery brings the arrest total to five in connection with Ji's death. Authorities believe these two cases may be part of a larger crime spree by the suspects.

Police stated that license plate readers - among other tools - were instrumental in tracking down the suspects. They do not believe the attackers have any gang-related ties.