City College student killed in Second Saturday shooting

By Jamie Santiago

Brown Issues club members reflect on the death of club co-founder Victor Hugo Perez Zavala Sept. 14. Photo by Vincent Fernandez.

A City College student was killed and three others were injured after a shooting that took place during Second Saturday, a popular art walk in Midtown Sacramento, Sept. 12.

Victor Hugo Perez Zavala, a sociology and international relations major, was an innocent bystander caught in the middle of crossfire at this weekend’s Second Saturday, according to the police.  He died three days before what would have been his 25th birthday.

The shooting took place shortly after midnight at J Street between 18th and 19th streets.

Zavala made a big impact on City College campus as a founding member of the Brown Issues club.  He was in the Puente club and also played the lead role in a film City College English instructor Travis Silcox wrote and produced in 2008. The film, “AB 540” examines how a bill passed by the state Legislature allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition affected a City College student.

“When I heard it was Hugo that had been shot and killed, I couldn’t believe it,” Silcox said. “He was the type of student that was always there if you needed a hand.”

Zavala’s younger brother Ricardo said in a Sacramento Bee interview that he didn’t expect anything like this to happen since Zavala was never involved in bad activities.

According to friends and family members, though Zavala sometimes sported a tough demeanor he was a kind person, a family man intent on finishing up a college degree and staying out of trouble.

Brown Issues club member Jacquelyn Vargas said Zavala was a consummate hard worker and lived up to his personal motto: ‘Get work done or get out.’

Vargas said that Zavala’s death will encourage other Brown Issues club members to step up and fill the void.

“I think more than anything it will motivate us to do more,” Vargas said. “Once a leader leaves,  you don’t have to replace him—not necessarily, but more people have to take over some of the projects that he had.”

Zavala worked part-time at the State Department of Managed Health Care, helping people with insurance issues and also for his father’s landscaping business.  He performed as a disc jockey at family parties and enjoyed Mexican music.

Zavala graduated from Luther Burbank High School in 2004 and planned to attend UC Riverside after graduating from City College in 2011.

“He brought warmth to the [“AB540”] set and sensitivity and groundedness,” Silcox said. “ This is a young man, 24, who was very grounded, unflappable.

Zavala is survived by his six younger siblings and his parents.

A candlelit vigil for Zavala will be held today, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. between 18th and J streets to remember his life and celebrate his birthday.

To watch Zavala play lead in the short film “AB540,” click here.

Reporters contributing to this article: Vincent Fernandez, Christopher Geanakos, Libby Parenti, Michael Saechao and Amy Wong.

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