USC Student Allegedly Kills Homeless Man Attempting to Break Into Cars

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
June 19, 2024US News
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USC Student Allegedly Kills Homeless Man Attempting to Break Into Cars
Students are seen on campus at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 16, 2024. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

A University of Southern California (USC) student has been arrested for allegedly stabbing a homeless man to death, authorities said Tuesday.

Ivan Gallegos, 19, was taken into custody following Monday night’s deadly incident.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), officers responded to an attempted car burglary call off-campus shortly after 8 p.m.

A homeless man was trying to break into several vehicles along USC’s Greek Row when Mr. Gallegos, along with two other people, decided to confront him, police said.

The homeless man allegedly threatened Mr. Gallegos by claiming to have a gun, which resulted in Mr. Gallegos fatally stabbing him, LAPD Interim Chief Dominic Choi told the Police Commission on Tuesday.

The victim eventually collapsed in an alleyway between two fraternity houses located in the 700 block of W. 28th Street in the University Park neighborhood. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The homeless man, who remains unidentified, is believed to be in his 30s. A small homeless encampment is located near the scene where the stabbing occurred.

“There was some type of altercation between the witness and the person that was breaking into a vehicle,” LAPD Captain Jamie Bennett said in a statement. “And we’re trying to determine what the circumstances of that altercation were, how this escalated from a vehicle burglary to essentially a death out here,” he added.

The incident is being investigated as a homicide.

Local media footage from the scene shows multiple law enforcement officers responding to the deadly attack. The sidewalk outside the fraternity homes and surrounding area was blocked off by police tape during the homicide investigation.

Aerial footage also showed what appeared to look like a large pool of blood on the sidewalk outside the Lamda Chi Alpha fraternity house.

Classes at USC are not in session due to summer break, but fraternity and sorority houses often remain open even while school is out. Police noted that multiple surveillance cameras along Greek Row will help homicide detectives further investigate the deadly stabbing.

NTD News reached out to USC’s Department of Public Safety for a statement regarding the incident but did not receive a response.

Police said that Mr. Gallegos remained at the crime scene and fully cooperated with LAPD officers before he was taken into custody. He has no criminal record, according to police.

His bail has been set at $2 million, Los Angeles County jail records show. A date for his initial court appearance has not yet been scheduled.

The LAPD said that anyone with information about the deadly stabbing should contact detectives.

The investigation remains ongoing.