Family and friends across California are grieving over the death of USC music student Victor McElhaney, who was fatally shot in an apparent robbery about a mile east of campus. He was "a son of Oakland," his mother, a member of the Oakland City Council, said Sunday.
McElhaney, a jazz studies major in the Thornton School of Music, was shot early Sunday at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Adams Boulevard, police said. His mother, Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney, released an official statement online.
She said, "Victor was a son of Oakland. He was a musician who drew his inspiration from the beat, soul, and sound of the Town and he belonged in every nook and cranny of Oakland."
"I miss my baby. Please keep me, my family, and all of my son's friends in your thoughts and prayers," she wrote. "We are beginning a new chapter in this reoccurring circle of violence… And it will take all of us together to make it through this tragedy."
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Victor McElhaney was shot by an individual in a group of three or four male suspects in a possible robbery attempt shortly after midnight. He died in a local hospital Sunday at 11 a.m. The 21-year-old student was a drummer and previously was an instructor at Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, according to USC interim President Wanda Austin.
Councilwoman McElhaney represents West Oakland. According to her website, tackling gun violence is one of her policy priorities. She was a champion of Measure Z, which provides funding for community policing focused on reducing gun-related violence, and helped create the city's Department of Violence Prevention, which the San Francisco Chronicle says reduced homicides by 80 percent over three years.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tweeted, "Our hearts grieve w @LynetteGM. Victor's tragic death at the hands of violence is an unspeakable loss. Lynette's leadership and passionate focus on violence prevention has healed wounds in our city and created new pathways for families all across #Oakland. We send warmth + love."
The Oakland A's tweeted, "Our deepest condolences to Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney on the tragic passing of her son, Victor."
DeAngelo Wilson told Annenberg Media that he attended elementary school with McElhaney and that the pair connected through music. He said, "[McElhaney] can get anybody to laugh and get out of a bad mood. That really stuck out about Victor."
"Me and him used to joke around that I was going to take him on tour with me and whenever we travel the world it was going to be we. I've known a lot of drummers in my life but he was very gifted. He would do things that were uncanny," Wilson added.
Theo Fowles, assistant director of USC's Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs, said the center is working to coordinate a student remembrance opportunity early next week. The family is making arrangements for a service in Oakland.