The incident happened about 1:30 a.m. at the Brewery Lofts in the 600 block of Moulton Avenue.
Ken McRoyal, who was also a Hurricane Katrina survivor, had overcome adversity to become a wide receiver for the Idaho Vandals. Friends said football was his passion and can't believe he was gunned down in a deadly dispute.
"We were just with him having fun, the night was great and it ended so bad," said McRoyal's friend, Deja Pearl.
Witnesses said about 20 to 30 people were at the party when the gunfire broke out.
A second victim was shot in the arm and was taken to the hospital. The victim was listed in stable condition.
McRoyal joined the University of Idaho football program last fall as a walk-on after transferring from El Camino College in Torrance. He had earned a scholarship for his upcoming senior year.
McRoyal and his family moved to Los Angeles after being forced from their New Orleans home by Hurricane Katrina. His devastated friends said he had just returned from school and was looking forward to spending time with his 1-year-old daughter.
"He was a good dad, he was a great dude all around," said his friend, Reynard Westbrook. "He wanted to see his daughter when he got home ? she was his pride and joy."
Authorities are looking for as many as four suspects. No arrests have been made.
Loves ones gathered at El Camino College on Sunday night to remember the outgoing athlete.
"He was just getting so good at everything we wanted him to do, as being a good student and being a good person, a great father," said John Featherstone, El Camino's football coach. "He was doing very well at Idaho and I was just so proud of where he has come, and to have this happen is a tragedy."
McRoyal's parents, who moved back to New Orleans, were on their way back to Los Angeles after hearing of the news.
Several hundred artists live and work in the Brewery Lofts Arts Complex
Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) 527-3247.