Homicide

Police identify student they say fatally stabbed USC professor

The student police say stabbed to death a psychology professor at the University of Southern California was identified Saturday.

Police said David Jonathan Brown, 28, had been charged with Friday’s stabbing Professor Bosco Tjan in the building that houses Tjan’s lab.

Brown, a psychology grad student, accordig to USC's website, is being held on $1 million bail. He was taken into custody after the stabbing. Tjan died the scene.

USC President C. L. Max Nikias said Tijan joined USC in 2001, taught in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and served as co-director of the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center.

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"As the Trojan family mourns Professor Tjan's untimely passing, we will keep his family in our thoughts," Nikias said.

According to the USC Department of Public Safety, the attack is believed to be the "result of a personal dispute," also stating that investigators believed the attack was not a random one.

The university's Trojans Alert emergency texting service quickly put out a message urging students, faculty and employees to stay away from the area that the attack occured.

"Police-related incident in progress at Seely G. Mudd. No danger to USC or the community. Stay away from the area," the text read.

Chris Purington, project manager at Tjan's lab, said he never heard of anyone having a problem with Tjan -- a married father of one son listed in public records as 50 years old -- and had no idea who would have wanted him dead.

"He was somebody who really cared about people. I know he cared about me," Purington said through tears. "He mentored people and he looked out for them. He spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a mentor and guide people."

He said the professor gave him a job both after he graduated from USC and after graduate school at the University of California-Berkeley.

"People talk about scientists as very cold or robotic. Bosco is a guy that he could talk to anybody about anything," he said. "He couldn't move through a room without being sidetracked in all these conversations.

"He just had this energy about him. Kinetic might be the word," Purington added. "He had a huge impact on my life."

USC has nearly 44,000 students enrolled.

A highly competitive school, it enrolled only about 16 percent of the more than 54,000 people who applied for its freshman class this year.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.