‘He had big, big dreams:’ Hundreds gather to honor life of Deltona teen shot, killed on Halloween

Xyrus Zelaya, 16, died Oct. 31

DELTONA, Fla. – Hundreds of people showed up at Wes Crile Park in Deltona Thursday evening to honor a teen killed in a shooting over the weekend.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Xyrus Zelaya, 16, died after he was driven to the hospital on Oct. 31, when he was shot and killed at a house party.

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Dorian Zelaya, the teen’s father told the large crowd that his son’s memory will live on.

“My son is always going to be looking down at everybody. Every time you think of him, you are always going to find a smile in his face,” Zelaya said. “Guns are still not the answer. You go to a party, you get into a fight, it’s not a an answer for you to pull out a gun and just shoot.”

More than 300 students stood together at the park, releasing balloons and holding candles.

Jose Santos, the teen’s uncle, said his family is completely devastated.

“If you have any negativity in your life right now, walk away and change it for the positive because it’s the best thing you can do,” Santos said.

Santos said Zelaya stayed focused on school, his family, work and sports.

“It’s better to be loved than hated because you never know when that person is going to be gone. He just went to go to a party. Just to have fun with his friends. He didn’t know that was going to happen,” Santos said.

Zelaya’s cousin said he was a good kid with a bright future.

“He had big, big dreams. He wanted to make it for real,” his cousin said.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said a second victim in the shooting, a 17-year-old, continues to recover in the hospital.

No arrested have been made, but Volusia County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday it has identified a person of interest in the deadly shooting.


About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.