A man identified by his mother as a basketball player at East Los Angeles College was fatally shot at a Monterey Park apartment complex Thursday morning, prompting a homicide investigation.
A single shot was fired about 4 a.m. at 855 West El Repetto Drive, said Sgt. B. Hung of the Monterey Park Police Department. The address matches the Emerald Hills Apartments.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which was aiding Monterey Park police in the investigation.
He had been celebrating his birthday with friends when he was killed, sheriff's Lt. Eddy Hernandez said on scene.
The man's name was not immediately released, but his mother, Chareda Carter, told KTLA he was a 20-year-old East Los Angeles College student named Saieed Ivey. The college's website listed Ivey as being from Chicago.
Ivey's grandfather accompanied Carter, who caught the first flight from Chicago to Los Angeles after hearing about her son's death.
"Leaving Chicago to come here, and this happened. Pursuing a dream -- it's just tragic," Ivey's grandfather said as Carter sobbed.
Ivey had previously attended Governors State University in the Chicago area, according to a Facebook post from the university.
When he was introduced as part of the basketball team there in 2014, there university called him "a positive, forward thinking person." Mourning his passing, the school said he was "well-loved."
"Saieed is a really great kid. So many people loved him," Chareda Carter said.
The victim was discovered shot in the upper torso, in the back seat of a locked, light-colored Mercedes-Benz with its lights on, according to the Sheriff's Department.
The victim had been with his friends in his apartment when he asked for the keys to the car, which does not belong to him, and said he needed to go down to the vehicle, Hernandez said. The vehicle belongs to someone else who was in the group, the lieutenant said.
The gunshot was reported an undetermined amount of time later, the lieutenant said. Responding police called for paramedics, who unlocked to car and determined the victim was dead, Hernandez said.
Investigators do not believe the gunshot was self-inflicted and are investigating the death as a homicide.
"We just want clarity in what's going on. We want the truth," Ivey's grandfather said.
The death was not law-enforcement related, as was apparently stated earlier in the day by multiple people on social media, according to a statement released by Los Angeles Police Department and attributed to Hernandez. Tweets had suggested Ivey was killed by LAPD.
"There is a great deal of misinformation being disseminated on Twitter stating that LAPD was involved in a fatality today. That information is inaccurate," Hernandez's statement read. "We believe that the inaccurate Tweets may be related to the Monterey Park incident."
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Those preferring to leave a tip anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477, texting the letters TIPLA plus the tip to 274637, or by using the website lacrimestoppers.org.
KTLA's Jennifer Thang and Feven Kiflegiorgis contributed to this story.