MONTEREY PARK >> Police responding to reports of gunfire found a man shot to death inside a Mercedes-Benz sedan parked behind the apartment building where he lived on his 20th birthday early Thursday, authorities said.
Coroner’s official’s were yet to formally identify the victim, however family and friends identified him as Saieed Ivey, who recently moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, where he was reportedly a star basketball player at Simeon Career Academy.
Ivey was listed among the roster of the East Los Angeles College Huskies 2015-2016 basketball team.
Few details were initially released regarding the investigation, which was being spearheaded by detectives from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Monterey park police responded to a report of gunfire about 4:25 a.m. in the 800 block of El Repetto Drive when they discovered the victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds inside a car, Monterey Park police Sgt. Bob Hung said.
Officials determined the death appeared to be a homicide, and requested assistance from their counterparts in the sheriff’s department, he said.
The victim was found in the back seat of the car, with the doors locked and the headlights on, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. He had been shot in the “upper torso,” and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The circumstances of the shooting remained a mystery Thursday afternoon.
“Witnesses told detectives the victim was with a group of friends at a gathering,” Rouzan said. “They said the victim walked away from the group, and a short time later shots were heard.”
No further details were available.
Neighbors Wissem Chabchoub and his wife Sandra Simon said they heard no gunfire.
But about an hour before the shooting occurred, Simon said they said they heard “blood-curdling screams.”
The voiced appeared to be an argument between at least two people.
“It didn’t sound like English,” Simon added. She said they shouts may have been in Chinese, “possibly Mandarin.”
It was unclear whether the argument the couple heard was related to the fatal shooting.
Chabchoub said he did not know Ivey, but recalled seeing him in the apartment building’s stairwell on Wednesday.
Everything seemed normal and the young man said hello as he passed by, accompanied by three young women, Chabchoub said.
Ivey’s cousin, Alexandra Ossey of Hollywood, waited for information outside the still-cordoned-off apartment building Thursday afternoon.
She said Ivey moved to the apartment building from Chicago about eight months ago and enrolled in ELAC, where he was doing well. His older brother joined him at the apartment in recent months, while the rest of his family remains in Chicago.
Misinformation spread via social media in the hours following the deadly shooting incorrectly asserted that Ivey had been shot to death by Los Angeles police.
“We’ve been told Saieed Ivey was locked out of his car & was trying to get in. Police thought he was stealing & killed him today on his bday,” Black Lives Matter Chicago posted on Twitter at 12:20 p.m. The tweet was deleted Thursday afternoon.
Popular musician Chance The Rapper repeated the misinformation nine minutes later via the social media network.
“LAPD killed Saieed on his birthday and no one knows why. Haven’t seen an article or police statement yet,” the rapper tweeted to his 1.69 million Twitter followers.
“Initial speculation that the shooting death was officer-involved is false,” Rouzan said. “There were no officers or deputies involved in the incident, and the suspect (or suspects) are still outstanding.”
Loved ones of Ivey also took to social media to mourn his loss and honor his memory.
“My eyes are teary, Saieed was a leader. He had a good head on his shoulders, he was very respectful and hard working. He inspired us all,” Twitter user Kayla Eubanks posted.
“Saieed loved his mother as much as anyone I know. The way he lived his life was an inspiration. A really special kid,” user Daniel Poneman posted on Twitter.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO (Above) by Leo Jarzomb (Below) Saieed Ivey, courtesy, ELAC Huskies Athletics.