A 68-year-old Oakland auto repair shop owner, who once worked alongside Cesar Chavez in the United Farm Workers movement, was on the verge of retirement. But he was shot and killed in his shop, ending that dream.

Longtime Oakland auto repair shop owner Aristeo Zambrano was something of an American Dream story come true. Zambrano moved to California from the Mexican state of Michoacan in the 1970s, and found work cutting broccoli in the Salinas Valley. He would go on to work with  Cesar Chavez in the United Farm Workers movement, helping win wage increases for workers. Zambrano opened the auto repair shop Bay City Alternators in the early 1990s, and was now close to retirement.

He would not live to see his retirement. The Chronicle reports that Zambrano was shot and killed in his own repair shop. He was 68.

The Bay Area News Group first reported the shooting, which happened Saturday, February 3 at the shop at International Boulevard at 88th Avenue. That report did not identify who the shooting victim was. But NBC Bay Area reported a few days after the shooting that the victim was the “longtime owner of Bay City Alternators,” and he was pronounced dead at the shop shortly after the shooting.

The Chronicle then spoke with family members to get a fuller picture of Zambrano’s life. Yes, he did work with Chavez and the United Farm Workers, but that was somewhat complicated. Per the Chron, Chavez eventually fired Zambrano and several other organizers, but those fired workers sued Chavez, and got their jobs back. Zambrano later moved to Oakland, learned to repair car starters and alternators, and ran Bay City Alternators, as a co-owner and ultimately sole owner, for 33 years. And he was close to retiring.

“It’s not fair that he worked so hard all his life,” his daughter Maria Ayala told the Chronicle. “He never hurt anyone.”

Zambrano is survived by three daughters and six grandchildren. His February 3 killing was Oakland’s tenth homicide of the year, and there has since been an 11th.

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