A reputed gang member was charged Tuesday with killing a USC jazz student, the son of an Oakland city councilwoman, during an attempted robbery just blocks from campus.
Ivan Hernandez, 23, is expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles on charges of murder and attempted robbery stemming from the March 10 death of 21-year-old Victor McElhaney.
The murder charge includes special circumstance allegations of murder during an attempted robbery and murder by an active participant in a criminal street gang, opening Hernandez to a possible death sentence. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek death in the case.
Victor McElhaney was killed just after midnight March 10 near Maple Avenue and Adams Boulevard. Police said at the time that McElhaney, a student at USC’s Thornton School of Music, was approached by three or four men in their 20s who tried to rob him, leading to the shooting.
McElhaney was the son of Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney. He was part of the USC jazz studies program with an interest in the relationship between music and social and political movements. He also mentored young musicians and taught at the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music.
Shortly after the killing, Lynette McElhaney said her son “believed that music could heal the world of violence and sickness and addiction.”
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