Slain professor was caring - USC students

2016-12-04 20:36
A 2013 picture of Professor Bosco Tjan, who was allegedly stabbed to death by one of his students. (University of Southern California, AP)

A 2013 picture of Professor Bosco Tjan, who was allegedly stabbed to death by one of his students. (University of Southern California, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Los Angeles - A graduate student arrested on suspicion of killing the professor who oversaw his work at the University of California was described by some of his fellow classmates as a quiet but seemingly normal young man while others say he was troubled and pegged as most likely to quit the group's rigorous doctoral programme.

David Jonathan Brown, a 28-year-old brain and cognitive science student, was arrested on a murder charge in the Friday attack on the Los Angeles campus. His mentor, 50-year-old Bosco Tjan, was stabbed to death inside the building where he runs an intensive lab that studies vision loss.

Not exactly right

Brown, one of just five students who worked in the lab, was arrested without incident, police said, adding that the killing was targeted.

Brown was being held on a $1m bond.

Brenton Keller said that he and Brown were both fourth-year neuroscience students among a group of about 11, shared a lengthy Facebook post saying he had prayed Brown wasn't responsible when he first heard news of the stabbing.

"I am sitting here in shock, heart racing and fingers shaking," Keller wrote in the post, which sometimes directly addressed Brown. "David, you were bright but at the same time troubled ... Our whole class knew things were not exactly alright."

Brown would not always finish his work and would go missing for weeks at a time, Keller wrote in the post.

Another graduate student Katie Zyuzin, replied to the post by saying she also thought first of Brown when she heard the news.

"We saw that he needed help, but how could we offer it to him?" she wrote. "I tried to talk to him (the) last few times that I saw him on campus, but the conversation would not go anywhere and I started to shrug it off, instead of looking into it."

Nathaniel Kwok, who recently finished working 18 months in Tjan's lab alongside Brown, said graduate students work there 40 to 60 hours a week and develop projects required to graduate.

Brown had been working in the lab since around 2013 but took a leave of absence for personal reasons last year that lasted roughly a semester, Kwok said. He didn't know why Brown needed the time off or how close to graduation he was.

Grad student

Chris Purington, project manager at Tjan's lab, said he last saw Brown the day before the attack, when both he and Tjan attended a PhD student's dissertation.

"It didn't seem like anything was wrong. I didn't see this coming," Purington said. "When I heard a grad student did it I really expected it to be somebody I didn't know."

Tjan joined USC in 2001, taught in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and served as co-director of the Dornsife Cognitive Neuro-imaging Centre.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


5 top leg exercises for men

Here’s our selection of the five best leg exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content this holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.