Two Chinese graduate students were killed in a mystery shooting which could have been a failed carjacking in Los Angeles, police said.
The male and female students from the University of Southern California (USC) were shot overnight while sitting in a double-parked BMW in an area southwest of downtown Los Angeles, said the LA Police Department (LAPD).
The electrical engineering students, in their early 20s, suffered multiple gunshot wounds, said LAPD spokesman Carlton Brown. The woman was found slumped in the passenger seat, while the man was on the steps of a nearby house.
The shooting occurred around 1:00 am (0800 GMT). USC officials later identified the female victim as Ying Wu, and the man as Ming Qu.
The motive for the shootings was unclear, but it may have been a bungled carjacking, he said. One attacker was seen leaving the scene. "We're trying to figure out if it was car-to-car or if someone walked up on them," said Brown.
Los Angeles has a large Chinese and Chinese-American population, including many students. Certain areas of the city are known for frequent gun violence.
The Chinese consulate did not immediately respond to a request for more information. Police said next of kin were informed.
The USC website, under the headline "Tragic event this morning," published a letter to students and staff, saying: "Our community is saddened and outraged by this callous and meaningless act."
"This incident occurred outside the neighborhood areas where over the past several years we have steadily increased our security presence," it said.
"However, tragedies such as this morning's remind us that we all need to be continuously vigilant about safety and security."