An Oakland councilwoman and her husband made an emotional plea Tuesday as the group involved in the fatal shooting of their son near the University of Southern California over the weekend remained at large.
"Silence is worse than the actual bullet that killed my son," Clarence McElhaney said at a news conference held at the campus two days after the shooting of 21-year-old USC senior Victor McElhaney. "Even the people involved. Be a man, step forward and take responsibility for your actions."
The victim was with his friends at a strip mall parking lot at Maple Avenue and Adams Boulevard around 12:30 a.m. Sunday when at least three Hispanic men in their 20s confronted them, Los Angeles police Capt. Billy Hayes said at Tuesday's media event.
The group tried to rob them before one of the perpetrators shot McElhaney, the captain added. They then fled in a dark blue or gray sedan, possibly a newer model, westbound on Adams Boulevard toward the 110 Freeway, according to witnesses and video surveillance from the scene.
Hayes said two of the individuals, described as about 5 feet 10 inches tall, were armed. The third person looked shorter at 5 feet 6 inches tall, the captain said. They all appeared to have a medium built, but none had any other distinguishing characteristics.
Hayes called the incident a robbery "that went bad."
Crews responded to the location and transported the 21-year-old victim to a hospital, where he died of his injuries at around 11 a.m. that day.
His mother, Oakland Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney, released a statement soon after the shooting, saying her son had been "pursuing his lifelong love of music" at USC.
The victim mentored young musicians in Oakland before transferring from Cal State East Bay to USC in 2017 as a Jazz Studies major, the Los Angeles Times reported. He also advocated for gun control, supporting his mother's efforts to help create Oakland's Department of Violence Prevention.
On Tuesday, Lynette McElhaney said she wanted to celebrate her son's life.
"Victor’s not a homicide number or a statistic or just another black boy gunned down in South Central Los Angeles... Victor came here because he wanted to be in the pantheon of all these great jazz tradition that has been held and thrust at USC," the councilwoman said.
The mother thanked the university for welcoming his son, who would have turned 22 years old on April 13.
"There was a part of him that really wanted the bona fides of being a college dropout so that he could keep his street cred real," she joked. "But he didn’t mind being part of this Trojan family."