The victims, a man and woman, were seated in a BMW parked in the city's West Adams district when they were shot by an armed suspect who fled the scene in another car.
The two were identified as being from China and were attending the University of Southern California, KNX-AM, Los Angeles, reported.
KCBS-TV, Los Angeles, said the man was shot dead when he refused to get out of the vehicle. The woman was then shot as well.
Police said they did not have a good description of the gunman due to the predawn darkness. Detectives erected canopies over the crime scene so they could look for clues in the steady rain.
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