In fact, Barnes' Facebook profile became a key element in the investigation.
Detectives obtained a search warrant to peek under the hood of the suspect's page on April 12, a day after Ying and Ming were both gunned down about a mile from campus in what police think was a robbery:
The quick move to check out Facebook was the result of a swift match between shell casings found at the murder scene and those collected at two injury shootings at parties Dec. 3 and Feb. 12., according to Neon Tommy.
A witness to the Feb. 12 shooting told cops that he soon found the gunman on Facebook, and he led cops to the profile on April 11, hours after the students had been slain.
According to the report:
When detectives pulled up the social networking site on a department computer, the witness quickly navigated to Barnes' profile, pointed at the screen and said, “That's him! That's the guy that shot [one of the Feb. 12 victims].” Profile photos viewed on that first visit showed Barnes and his friend [Javier] Bolden both flashing gang signs. The page also displayed a logo linked to the Black P Stones gang.
Both suspects claimed to be leaders of a party crew called No Respect Inc.
Surveillance and additional search warrants led to the arrests last month of 20-year-old Barnes and alleged accomplice Bolden, 19. The duo has been charged with murder in the case of Ying and Ming.
Neon Tommy wonders aloud whether more aggressive investigation in the party shootings could have prevented a double murder that rocked USC.