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Family of man fatally shot on VIA bus holds vigil after son's killer sentenced

Donovan Rae Arzola's family disappointed by Zachary Gonzales' 40-year sentence

SAN ANTONIO – The family of Donovan Rae Arzola gathered for a candlelight vigil Monday night at the bus stop where he was killed just over six months ago.

The gathering came just hours after a judge sentenced Arzola's killer, Zachary Gonzales, to 40 years in prison.

Family members, including Arzola's father Joe, said they did not feel the punishment fit the crime.

"The feeling that I got (about) what happened is not justified for what the guy did to my son," Joe Arzola said. "He got shot eight times in a bus -- in a public place in front of a lot of people. What kind of justice is that? Forty years, but that's the way the court system works. We got to deal with it."

Surrounded by friends and family, Arzola spoke about his son's death publicly for the first time.

Gonzales and Donovan Arzola encountered each other on a VIA bus on Nov. 11, 2014.

Gonzales had been trying to pick fights with other riders when Arzola stepped in to diffuse the situation.

When he refused to fight, Gonzales pulled out a gun and shot Arzola several times before getting off the bus and running away. It took San Antonio police more than 24 hours to track him down.

Gonzales agreed to plead guilty to murder as part of a plea deal in exchange for the 40-year sentence.

Joe Arzola said his son died standing up for those who were too afraid to confront Gonzales.

"He died believing in what he believed in and fighting for the rights of other people, the little people, the less fortunate," Joe Arzola said.

The Arzola family also believes VIA shares some of the blame for what happened, believing the driver should have done more to defuse the situation before it spiraled out of control. They are now weighing their legal options.


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