Cops: USC grad student found dead in apartment after beating

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

UNIVERSITY PARK, Calif. - Police are investigating after a University of Southern California graduate student was found beaten to death in his off-campus apartment, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Twenty-four-year-old Xinran Ji was found dead early Thursday morning at his residence in University Park, not far from the USC campus, according to the station. Xinran, a Chinese international student in his second year at the School of Engineering, had reportedly been beaten by as many as three suspects a block away from his apartment.

The victim's body was discovered by his roommate six hours later.

Police responded to the apartment around 7 a.m. Monday after receiving a radio call of an "ambulance death investigation," the station reports. Crime scene investigators collected evidence from outside the building.

LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman confirmed on Thursday that the attack took place outside the residence. "Somehow, the victim got back to his apartment," he said. He said the student, who had arrived at USC last fall, may have been attacked with an unknown blunt instrument by as many as three assailants while he was walking home after a group study meeting.

A woman who did not wish to be identified told CBS Los Angeles that the assailants attacked Xinran with a hammer.

Neiman said the victim was not the one who called police, and that the investigation was ongoing.

Biebie Xin, a friend and next-door neighbor, told the station Xinran was going to move out of the area after the semester. "He was so excited," she said. "He had such a positive attitude. He didn't deserve this. He was such a nice person."

According to the station, although cameras are located in several places around the neighborhood, police have not said if the crime was captured on video.

CBS Los Angeles reports the victim's family members have been notified in China. USC was in the process of helping them make arrangements to travel to Los Angeles.