Jon McGee's parents were concerned about sending their only son to USC before he signed a letter of intent to play football for the Trojans last winter.
"I don't remember what precipitated our anxiety about the area," McGee's mother, Donna, said Tuesday from Tucson, Ariz. "I think the importance of the whole thing just kind of hit home at one point. It was like, 'What are we doing? Are we really sending him out there?'
"And then you sit back and you say, 'These crazy things happen all over the world, and what are the chances of them happening to your child?'
"You just don't think that it could be possible."
The family was reconsidering its decision Tuesday.
On Monday, McGee was struck by a stray bullet as he waited for practice to start at USC's Howard Jones Field.
Authorities said that McGee, a freshman linebacker and one of the Trojans' most highly regarded recruits, was not the intended target, but was hit by gang-related gunfire about a quarter-mile away.
McGee, 18, suffered what was described as a "through-and-through" wound, meaning that the bullet passed completely through his arm above his left elbow.
He was taken to California Medical Center, where a neurosurgeon was called in Tuesday after McGee had complained of numbness in his left hand. He was expected to be released today, a spokesman said.
His mother, a secretary at television station KGUN in Tucson, said that her son would return home to Arizona for "a few days," but declined to comment when asked if he would return to USC.
Asked if he would transfer if it were up to her, she said: "I don't think I really want to comment. We're still in the middle of all the emotions of the whole thing.
"I love USC, and I hate to give up some opportunity because of fear, but yet. . . . We're still weighing what happened and the likelihood of another incident like this happening. I'm not really at a point where I want to say anything.
"We're not settled on an opinion, one way or the other, as to what's going to happen from here."
Coach Larry Smith said that when he met late Monday night with McGee and his father, Mike, neither indicated that Jon might transfer. Neither Mike nor Jon McGee was available for comment.
Smith said that McGee's father requested a meeting with Athletic Director Mike McGee, who is no relation, and Jim Dennis, vice president of student affairs.
Smith said that he expects to field questions about the incident, and last spring's riots, when he recruits the class of '93.
"We can't change the location of the school," Smith said. "It's one of those risks you've got to look at (when considering USC). It's a part of the scenario. It's part of the environment.
"We feel very confident at the university that we have great security, that we have a low crime rate. Our people do a great job. I don't think that gangs are running rampant on campus, or that type of thing. But it's the area."
Asked if he believed that USC had lost recruits because of the area, Smith said: "You lose them for so many different reasons . . . but that's one of them, and we have to recruit against that.
"We've been doing it since the first year we came here, and that was (five) years ago. But I think we have a lot of strengths that we sell, also. You just have to weigh both sides of the situation."
Donna McGee said that her son is a longtime USC fan.
"We have some video from when he was a child, where he bragged about wanting to go to USC," she said. "He likes being by the ocean. I have a lot of relatives in California. We've vacationed out there almost every year. But most of the time it was in the San Diego area, Oceanside, and not L.A."
UCLA Coach Terry Donahue, asked how the shooting might affect his recruiting, said: "I really don't know how to respond to the question because I'm not sure how people out of state will interpret where UCLA and where USC and where Los Angeles and everything else is.
"I think it's just unfortunate that you have an incident like this. I think it highlights the problem we have as a country. I don't know how else to say it. I think it's just an unfortunate situation, and I think all of us who love our nation and love our city are sickened by the difficulties that have plagued us. Somewhere, our country has to get rid of these problems and start to really address them.
"When I heard about the incident my immediate reaction was one of shock and sorrow because it just highlights the problems we're plagued with. And I don't think the problems are isolated to USC or to Los Angeles. I think the problems are nationwide to a large extent."
Times staff writer Chris Baker contributed to this story.