A USC Student Fatally Stabbed a Homeless Man Outside Frat House. So Why Isn't He Charged?

A student at the University of Southern California who fatally stabbed a man outside his fraternity house will not face charges following a police investigation

<p>Kirby Lee/Getty</p> University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Kirby Lee/Getty

University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

A student at the University of Southern California who fatally stabbed a man outside his fraternity house will not face charges following a police investigation.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said on Thursday, June 20, that Ivan Gallegos, 19, acted in self-defense when he stabbed Xavier Cerf, 28, four times after Cerf broke into a car outside of Gallegos’ fraternity house on Monday, June 17, according to a press release.

“We believe that Mr. Gallegos’s actions were driven by a genuine fear for his life and the lives of others,” Gascón said. “Our heart goes out to the deceased’s family, friends and everyone impacted by this tragic incident.”

Around 8 p.m., Cerf was captured on surveillance video breaking into a car belonging to one of Gallego’s roommates, the press release states. According to the Los Angeles Times, police said Cerf appeared to be homeless.

Gallegos and two others then went outside to investigate after hearing a car alarm go off and one of them called 911, according to the release. Prosecutors said Gallegos was armed with a knife while another witness carried a large wooden stick.

As the group confronted Cerf and asked him to leave, they claimed that Cerf announced that he had a gun while simultaneously reaching for his waist, according to the release. During the struggle, Gallegos stabbed Cerf four times. Cerf then walked away from the car as Gallegos and the others waited for police to arrive, prosecutors said.

“The witness accounts and the independent evidence supports Mr. Gallegos’s claim that he acted with the actual and reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to protect himself and others from the imminent threat of being shot by Cerf,” the release states. “The use of deadly force under these circumstances was both proportionate and objectively reasonable and would support a claim of self-defense.”

Online county jail records show Gallegos was booked on June 18 and held on $2 million bond before being released two days later.

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Prosecutors did not share in the release whether a gun was recovered from Cerf or at the scene.

Cerf’s mother, Yema Jones, told the Los Angeles Times that while her son has dealt with mental health struggles he wasn’t a violent person.

"They’re making my son out to be a person that he’s not,” Jones said, per the outlet. “He was very vibrant. He loved to dance. He wasn’t a violent kid coming up."

Jones also launched a GoFundMe campaign to help offset Cerf’s funeral expenses.

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