Pre-trial hearing postponed for suspected USC shooter

Listen to an audio story from Annenberg Radio News

Dr Herbert Baker

Dr. Herbert Baker defending shooting suspect Brandon Spencer

On Halloween night, USC students were confronted with the grim reality that violence could penetrate their beloved campus.

The shooting at a party in the heart of campus forced a complete lockdown for hours. Olivia Heinle, an Executive Producer at Annenberg TV News, was one of the first on the scene to cover the incident.

“It was very eerie because there was a giant group of people that was at the party but they were all quiet and just a ton of cop cars everywhere,” Heinle said.

The suspected shooter is 19-year-old Brandon Spencer. He was working as a security guard at the Halloween party. Prosecutors say he pulled out a handgun after an argument broke out, injuring himself and three others – none of whom were USC students.  

Spencer has pleaded not guilty. Friends and family called a news conference before Tuesday’s scheduled hearing to maintain his innocence.

Family members were reportedly stuck in traffic and didn’t show up. But Dr. Herbert Baker did. He has known Spencer since he was 15 and is the Grand Master of a Masonic Lodge that Spencer was a member of. The Lodge is a worldwide Fraternity that emphasizes charity work and self-improvement.

“I’ve always known him to be an energetic, well-thought of person in the neighborhood. He’s not a gang-banger, you know in the traditional sense where you think he’s out shooting people and doing stuff like that,” Baker said.

The prosecution does see evidence of gang ties. Spencer is facing four charges of attempted and pre-meditated murder in addition to gang enhancement.

The pre-trial hearing was rescheduled for May 29th.  Spencer remains in jail.

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