Friends mourn slain Idaho football player
At 12:47 a.m. Sunday, University of Idaho wide receiver Ken McRoyal announced that he was back in L.A. and happy to be visiting home.
Forty-five minutes later, McRoyal was shot and dying after an argument with some men at a party at Brewery Lofts in Lincoln Heights. He was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said. A second man was shot in the arm.
McRoyal, 22, of Carson, had returned to Southern California from Moscow, Idaho, where he had earned a spot on the school’s football team last season.
He had joined the team as a walk-on receiver from El Camino College in Torrance. Days ago, he was notified that he'd been granted a full scholarship for his senior year, the school said.
He'd come home to visit his daughter, according to a post on his Facebook page. "Miss my daughter," he tweeted Friday night. His Twitter bio includes the hashtag #inlovewithmydaughter.
Police are seeking four male suspects who argued with McRoyal, then fled after one fired the shots about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. No arrests have been made, officials said Monday morning.
Students and friends mourned McRoyal’s passing, many turning to social media to express their grief.
Dozens posted messages on his Facebook page. "We all gonna miss u bro," wrote Ashley Taylor.
His cousin, Dominique Blackman, the team’s quarterback, had arrived from Idaho only hours before McRoyal's death, with equally high hopes for fun, according to posts to his Facebook page.
“Cali ima see u Saturday for the first time since 2009 damn y'all better show me LOVE,” he wrote Wednesday. Then Saturday night, he posted, “Cali What’s good I’m home.”
Instead of a good time, Blackman was leading a memorial vigil for his cousin at El Camino College.
The two had grown close since McRoyal’s family had moved to Carson from their native New Orleans, displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They played together at Carson High, with Blackman throwing passes to his cousin.
On Twitter, Blackman credited his cousin with helping him win the school's Football Player of the Year award last season.
"These two cousins had more love for each other than some people will ever be able to understand," wrote Chelsea Jo Gocke, a student at the school, on her Facebook page. "You couldn't know one without knowing the other... from their matching swag, their sibling pits, and jokes only they understood you could feel the love they had for each other. They were the type of cousins so close they might as well have been brothers."
Blackman tweeted: "A lot of y'all know there is no me without ken."
-- Sam Quinones