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USC party shooting: Former high school football star critically hurt

LOS ANGELES – A onetime Crenshaw High School football standout was reported to be in critical condition Thursday after an outbreak of gunfire outside a crowded Halloween costume party on the USC campus.

Two people were in custody in connection with the shooting, and at least one of them will be charged with attempted murder, police said. The two were still being questioned midmorning Thursday, police said.

Four people were rushed to hospitals after gunfire rang out at USC's Tutor Campus Center around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Capt. David Carlisle of the USC Department of Public Safety. The critically wounded man is former Crenshaw High School football star Geno Hall, named in 2009 as City Section player of the year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The campus reopened Thursday after being shut down for three hours after the shooting.

The shooting happened outside the "Freak, Greek or Athlete" party, where a long line of people were waiting to get checked in. Two males, neither one a USC student, were arguing outside the party and one of them pulled a handgun and shot the other, wounding him and three bystanders, Carlisle said.

The male targeted by the shooter was taken to a hospital in critical condition, and three others were treated for non-life-threatening wounds and released, said Officer Lyle Knight of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations office.

The most seriously injured man was hit several times and underwent surgery, LAPD Officer Sara Faden said.

According to the Times, shortly before the shooting, Hall tweeted a photo of himself arriving at the USC party with a note that said, "There goes the Neighborhood."

The two people in custody were detained at the shooting scene and one, who police suspect was the shooter, will be charged with attempted murder, said LAPD Cmdr. Bob Green, adding Thursday morning that the status of the second detainee was not immediately clear.

A gun was found near the shooting scene and will be tested to see if it was the weapon used, Faden said.

Carlisle said he didn't know how many people were inside the center ballroom, but "in order to gain admission at this event, they were checking student IDs at the door. You had to have a USC student ID or an ID from another university or college."

Students arrange the parties, and the events become well-known very quickly on social media sites, so unauthorized guests may have been in line, he said.

The flier for the party said it would last from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., there was room for 800 and it would include rave lighting and mega sound.

USC students were admitted free, while those with a valid ID from another college had to pay. Costumed guests and Greeks got a discount.

The flier also advised: "Strict Off Duty Officers plus Campus DPS=No Worries."

USC's Department of Public Safety issued a Trojans Alert after the shooting asking students to take "shelter in place and avoid opening doors for unknown persons," and to stay away from the campus, which was declared "shut down."

The student alert, sent out by email, text and phone, was lifted just before 2:30 a.m., and students were advised a normal class schedule was planned Thursday.

"This is the first violent crime we've had on campus this year," Carlisle said.

The gunfire broke out at a party sponsored by the Black Student Assembly and attended by about 400 people. About 100 people, including some campus police officers, stood outside the jammed Halloween party, a student at the scene told the Times.

"Everyone started running. I saw a guy who was shot in the leg. He was limping and screaming for his friends to help him," the student said.

One of the victims was on the ground, struggling to breathe, another student told the Times.

The USC area has been the site of firearm violence before.

Two USC graduate students from China were shot and killed several miles from the campus in a botched robbery in April, prompting officials to beef up campus-area security. Two men have been charged in the slayings.

Wednesday's shooting comes four years to the day after USC sprinter Bryshon Nellum, who won a silver medal at this year's London Olympics, was shot in both legs at a Halloween party just off campus.

–The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.

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