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Oakland Councilwoman McElhaney's Son Fatally Shot During Failed Robbery

LOS ANGELES (CBS SF) -- A man died after being fatally shot during an attempted robbery in an off-campus area near the University of Southern California, the university announced on Sunday.

The victim was 21-year-old Victor McElhaney, a USC Thornton music student and the son of Oakland city councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the incident was a single-victim shooting at the corner of Maple Ave. and Adams Blvd. in Los Angeles at around 12 a.m. Sunday morning.

Police said "three to four" male suspects approached McElhaney during the robbery and one shot him. The group fled the scene in a vehicle and no suspects were taken into custody.

Victor McElhaney Oakland Conservatory of Music
McElhaney with Angela Wellman and Carolina Gonzalez in 2015 (Facebook: Oakland Public Conservatory of Music Facebook)

After police received the call at 12:24 a.m., fire officials responded to the scene and found McElhaney in critical condition. He was transported to a local hospital, but passed away at around 11 a.m. Sunday morning.

The crime scene was about a mile away from the USC Campus and was outside the patrol area of the USC campus police, according to Assistant Chief David Carlisle.

Lynette McElhaney, who represents Oakland District 3, confirmed Sunday evening that Victor was her son. She was a strong proponent of the movement to make "Love Life" the motto of Oakland in honor of those lost to gun violence.

"It is with the utmost sadness that I share with you the tragic news that my son, Victor McElhaney, was slain last night in a senseless act of violence," McElhaney said in a statement released Sunday evening.

"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. 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."

Victor McElhaney was studying jazz at USC Thornton after transferring from Cal State East Bay in 2017. He was an active member of USC's Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs.

He was a drummer and spent a number of years learning and teaching music at the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, according to Founding Director Angela Wellman.

"Victor gave the best hugs. He called me 'Mama.' I was his music mama," said Wellman. McElhaney was 11 years old when he started at the OPCM and later became a youth mentor.

"He was one of our shining, rising stars. He was a very special young man, very deep thinker," said Wellman.

"He was an artist. He he was somebody who wanted to give to the culture, to take this Oakland culture and spread it all over the world with his gift," said Kev Choice, an educator and musician at OPCM.

USC Interim President Wanda Austin released a statement on Sunday saying, "Victor believed in the power of music to touch lives, heal and bring hope."

"The loss will affect everyone who knew him," she said.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also gave her condolences.

"Our hearts grieve with the family and friends of Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney. The tragic death of her son Victor 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. Our community sends love and warmth to Lynette at this difficult time," she said in a statement.

This is the second tragic gun violence-related loss for the councilwoman; in 2015, she lost Torian Hughes, a 17-year-old she viewed as a grandson, when he was gunned down during a robbery in West Oakland.

She said arrangements for services in Oakland will be made as soon as Victor's body is brought back to the Bay Area.

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