Deltona teen shot and killed on Halloween remembered as ‘bright, generous’

Xryus Zelaya was one of two teenagers shot, deputies say

DELTONA, Fla. – The Deltona community is mourning the life of a 16-year-old who was shot and killed early Sunday morning, deputies said.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Xryus Zelaya was one of two teenagers shot around midnight on Waterview Drive in Deltona. They said there had been reports of a house party on the street where the teens might have been.

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Deputies said their investigation started when they were called to Halifax Hospital where someone had dropped off Zelaya, who had a gunshot wound.

He later died from his injuries at the hospital.

Investigators said another report came in that a 17-year-old was driven to Central Florida Hospital in Sanford with non-life threatening injuries.

Deputies haven’t said who fired the gun or if they have a suspect.

Deltona High School had grief counselors on campus Monday for students.

“Xyrus was a bright young man and well-liked by all at Deltona High. He was a great kid whose life was taken way too early. This unfortunate tragedy is allowing our students and staff to grieve, to love and to grow closer together,” the school’s principal, Mike Micallef said.

Zelaya was described as bright and kind-hearted. He played football and soccer for the high school, too.

“Xyrus (had) a fun-loving and outgoing personality. I loved being around him. He was a person with an infectious smile and (an) uplifted person. Very generous,” said Jeff Smothers, the school’s head football coach.

The sheriff’s office did not have an update Monday on the 17-year-old’s condition but said over the weekend his injuries were non-life threatening.

They are not identifying him at this time.

Detectives announced Friday they are pursuing a person of interest in the case. This is still an active investigation.


About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.