Oakland councilwoman speaks out on son's slaying

"Now, he's in infinity."

Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney made her first public remarks Tuesday after her 21-year-old son was shot and killed in a robbery in Los Angeles.

"Victor was my sunshine," she said.  "I prayed, like every momma, please don't take my sunshine away."

At a news conference at USC, where her son Victor McElhaney was a jazz studies student, the councilwoman was surrounded by friends and family.

"Hopefully, I'll be a faithful keeper of his legacy," she said. "He believed that music could heal the world of violence, of sickness and addiction."

She added, "I'm crying, but really, I'm crying for all of those who never got to meet him and know him and be touched by him."

A friend of Victor burst into tears while speaking, saying, "He did not deserve this. We should not all be here right now!"

Early Sunday morning, Victor and his friends were confronted by robbers about a mile from the USC campus.

"They attempted to rob them. One of them was going through their pockets. At some point in time, one of the suspects shot Victor," said Capt. Billy Hayes of the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division.

Victor was a talented musician and an Oakland native who would have turned 23 in April. He mother said he was a standout on his own terms.

"Victor made a name in his own right," she said. "I was Victor's mom. Victor was not Lynette's son."

In Oakland, the councilwoman has worked to stop gun violence in the city, never imagining that her son would fall victim in LA.

"I've dedicated my life's work as a councilmember to eradicating violence that is too pervasive in our communities of color. That work started long before Victor was taken," she said.

One of Victor's jazz instructors at USC choked back tears as he remembered his student.
"He was a brilliant musician first, and a drummer second," said Aaron Serfaty, a lecturer at the USC Thornton School of Music. "But most of all, he was an amazing human being, and I thank you both for bringing him into this world."

Victor's father urged anyone with information to come forward.

"Say something to the police. Don't be silent," said Clarence McElhaney Jr. "Silence is worse than the actual bullet that killed my son." His voice faltered, and he broke into sobs.