HAYWARD, Calif. (KTVU) - Cal State East Bay hosted a special concert to honor a 21-year-old promising jazz musician who was shot and killed earlier this year and whose mother is an Oakland city councilwoman.
Victor McElhaney, the son of Lynette Gibson McElhaney, attended the school for two years before transferring to University of Southern California.
Family and friends describe him as a talented jazz musician and drummer, intellectual and generous with his time helping others. On Tuesday night, the sounds of jazz filled the theater of Cal State East Bay.
His family attended the special tribute.
"We really, really miss him. It is hard. It's very, very hard," said Lynette Gibson McElhaney.
She told KTVU this concert helps to fill the void that has come from the loss of her son. She describes him as a joy to his family and those who knew him, including former bandmates and music professors.
"This sadness won't go away. We're just taking a break from it tonight," said Dann Zinn, Cal State East Bay Director of Jazz Studies.
He was killed March 10 near USC during a robbery attempt.
"I was in bed for the days and couldn't move. It hits deeper still," said McElhaney. "They killed the music that he had yet to create. I think that's what hurts."
According to mentor Mitch Butler, who is the former Cal State East Bay's director of jazz studies, the music at the special concert tells the young man’s story.
"Victor left a legacy on the stage of giving back," said Butler.
Victor gave back by helping other young musicians.
His former drum instructor Alan Hall played in the seat that would have been Victor's had he been playing at the concert.
"Very talented. Just trying to honor his energy," said Hall.
He was scheduled to graduate from USC Friday. His parents plan to attend the commencement ceremony to receive his diploma.
"I don't want any other mother to suffer what we're suffering. It is the most horrific pain," said McElhaney.
His killing is unsolved.
On Saturday, McElhaney plans to hold an event in Los Angeles at the location where her son was killed in the hopes of helping to solve the case.
She hasn't been back at work as city council member since Victor's death. McElhaney plans to return to Oakland City Hall May 17.