Victor McElhaney, 21, was a percussionist with USC's Thornton School of Music.
He was shot and killed at a convenience store parking lot early Sunday morning about a mile from the USC campus. Friends say he lived nearby.
At an emotional press conference, Lynette Gibson described her son as an excellent musician and good young man.
"Victor is not another homicide number or a statistic or just another black boy gunned down in South Central Los Angeles. I want you all to know that Victor came into the world a drummer. He was drumming from the moment he could sit up...," his mother said.
She talked about the fear she had of losing her son.
"Victor was my sunshine and I prayed like every momma, every day, 'Please don't take my sunshine away,''' Lynette Gibson shared as she tried to hold back tears.
The victim's father also spoke and asked for the public's help in finding the suspects.
"If you know something, say something to the police. If you have any clue or anything that...(might) help the police out, you know, step forward. And even the people involved: Be a man, respect life, be a man and step forward," he said.
It's not the first time the McElhaney's have experienced pain like this. They lost a teenage grandson to gun violence three years ago in Oakland.
A USC faculty member at the school of music was also very emotional when he spoke about Victor, who was a student of his.
"I will miss him, we will miss him," he cried. "He was a brilliant musician first and a drummer second, but most of all, he was an amazing human being and I thank you both for bringing him into this world."
A candlelight vigil was held Monday in South Los Angeles to remember Victor. The vigil was held at Maple and Adams, one mile from USC's campus, and the place where McElhaney was killed.
"It's really sad to hear about everything that's happened," said USC student Scott Yarmoff. "Through one person to another, I think we all kind of know everybody. We are just one Trojan family."
USC students who live off campus said they feel safe, but an incident like this one hits close to home.
USC says it will hold a celebration of Victor's life on campus next Tuesday night.