LOS ANGELES – A 19-year-old Palmdale man suspected of fatally shooting two USC graduate students from China during a botched robbery was charged Tuesday with capital murder and other counts, the District Attorney’s Office announced.
Javier Bolden of Palmdale and Bryan Barnes, 20, of Los Angeles were charged with the April 11 special circumstance murder of Ming Qu and Ying Wu. The two engineering students, both 23, were gunned down in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue during a suspected robbery.
The special circumstances of multiple murders and murder during commission of a robbery make the two defendants eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Bolden and Barnes, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Bolden and Barnes also are charged with one count each of attempted murder for allegedly shooting a 20-year-old man during a Dec. 3, 2011 party in South Los Angeles. The complaint alleges both defendants used a handgun and caused great bodily injury to victim Timothy Hall.
Additionally, Barnes was charged with one count each of attempted murder and assault with a semiautomatic firearm in another incident.
Authorities said that while attending a party in South Los Angeles on Feb. 12, Barnes allegedly fired numerous rounds, striking and severely injuring a male and also injuring a female. Both victims are in their 20s.
Los Angeles Police, who investigated the case, said shell casings tied the suspects to both the USC fatal shootings and the earlier attempted murders.
Bolden and Barnes were scheduled to be arraigned sometime after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Foltz Criminal Justice Center. However, the arraignment was continued until June 25.
Both men are being held without bail.
Barnes was arrested in Los Angeles around 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 18. Arrest teams then boarded two awaiting helicopters and flew out to Palmdale, where a second location was under surveillance by additional members from Los Angeles Police Department, according to an LAPD statement.
According to the LAPD statement: “The teams hit the ground around 7:30 p.m. [Friday] and soon, surrounded and called out the second of the two murder suspects, Javier Bolden, a 19-year-old resident of Palmdale. Bolden was taken into custody without incident and transported back to Los Angeles where he too was booked for murder.”
(Information via the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles Police Department)