Trial begins for Calif. man in USC Halloween party shooting

Police at the scene of a shooting on the campus of USC outside a Halloween party in 2012, in Los Angeles, Calif.


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A man charged with four counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting into a crowd of people outside a University of Southern California Halloween party in 2012 was retaliating against a rival gang member, prosecutors argued Wednesday on the first day of his trial, reports the L.A. Times.

21-year-old Brandon Spencer is accused of shooting into a large crowd as people waited to get into the party at the USC student center's ballroom.

 Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Antonella Nistorescu said in court that Spencer was looking to settle a score with a former high school football player after the two argued about their rival gang affiliations on Twitter.

"This isn't the kind of rivalry we're talking about in football games," Nistorescu told the jury. "This is a rivalry steeped in violence."

Spencer pleaded not guilty last November.

On the night of the party, Spencer confronted Hall and the two men began arguing. Hall was shot four times, along with three other males.

A USC public safety officer identified Spencer as the shooter, and the defendant was arrested on campus in a parking lot later that night, the prosecutor said.

John Blanchard, attorney for the defendant, claimed that Spencer's fingerprints were not found on the gun and a DNA sample was only a possible match.

"In that part of town, you can expect a lot of unsavory people are going to come on campus," Blanchard told the jury, arguing that several gangs were represented in the crowd and that many people were wearing similar T-shirts to the defendant.

Spencer is being held in lieu of $2 million bail and faces life in prison if convicted.