Slain store clerk wanted to be firefighter

Zach Benavidez shot, killed during failed robbery attempt at Diamond Food Mart

SAN ANTONIO – In the pictures on his father's cellphone, Zach Benavidez smiles ever so slightly.

His family says the bearded young man in the pictures was shy but a good guy with a big heart. He wanted to be a firefighter, they said.

"We always raised him to take care of people who couldn't take care of themselves," his father, Christopher Benavidez, said.

Zach Benavidez was killed during a failed robbery attempt at the Diamond Food Mart in the 2300 block of Vance Jackson Road Tuesday. Police said two men entered the store and told everyone to get on the floor.

One of the men came behind the counter and hit Benavidez with the butt of his gun, police said. Benavidez lunged at the man and they ended up fighting theirn way into the back room, where Benavidez  was shot seven times in the upper torso, police said.

The other man also shot a customer in the leg for an unknown reason, police said. Both men fled the store and ran into a nearby neighborhood.

As the search for the men continues, Zach Benavidez's family is left to mourn.

"He was one of my favorite people in the world, and I can't believe he's gone now," his sister, Ashley Benavidez, said.

Signs of grief marked the front of the closed-up store Wednesday. Candles and flowers sat outside along with a single stuffed animal.

Workers sprayed down the curb in front of the store. One of them, Spencer McLemore, said he was a local.

"I take care of this store," he said. "They take care of me. They take care of everybody around here."

The shooting hits close to home.

"It hurts right here," McLemore said, tapping his chest.

Jesus De La Cerda works nearby and frequents the store. The shooting shocked and worried him.

"If they do that to them, then they could do that to any of the little stores that we have here, you know?" he said.

Customers like Joe Ayers pulled in only to find the store closed up. Ayers said he doesn't know what he would have done if he'd been there.

"I don't know," Ayers said. "I'm just glad I wasn't there. There ain't nothing you can do if the guy just starts shooting."

The family has started a Go Fund Me page to help pay for his funeral. Click here.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.