Bay Area-raised truck driver moved to Texas for better life; killed in Odessa mass shooting

A truck driver who was killed over the weekend in the mass shooting in Odessa, Texas grew up in the Bay Area -- and he had recently moved across the country for a better, safer life for him and his family. 

On Monday, Rudy Arco's family told KTVU he lived in San Bruno and attended Crestmoor High School.

He had moved to Las Vegas in 1997 where he owned several taquerias. But he decided to move again last October, on  the anniversary of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, his sister, Maria Arco said.

Her brother decided he no longer wanted to raise his family there.

"He decided he really  needed a safer place to raise his family," she said.

So, she said Arco moved his family to Odessa, Texas and started a trucking company. 

On Saturday, Arco was struck by a spray of gunfire.The gunman, Seth Ator, 36, killed seven people, including Arco, and wounded 22 others. Officials said the gunman had been fired from his trucking job just hours before the rampage. 

"He was driving on the highway when he was hit. He died instantly at the scene," said Maria Arco. 
Arco just celebrated his 57th birthday in April.  

Maria Arco said it was a joy to be around her brother. He was fun and caring and saw the glass as being half full. Now, family and friends say they are at a loss as to how this could happen to a man who gave so much to others. 

"A fun guy. He loved music," said Franchesca Villegas of Berkeley. The pair grew up in San Bruno and he was her boyfriend when they were teenagers. "I just can't believe it. It's a tragedy," she said.

Villegas says she had not seen Arco in years but had reconnected on social media. They had talked about him returning to the Bay Area to have dinner with friends. 

His family and friends say they're also grieving for the families of the other victims.  They say they never imagined that this could happen to someone they know and love. 

"It hits home when you know somebody more so," said Villegas. 

"That was his mission. To make people feel good. To make people feel like there is always a possibility.  He was always a positive man.  He will be missed. You'll always be in my thoughts and prayers, always have a piece of my heart as well." 

Arco came to the United Stated with his family when he was a child. His sister said they were refugees from Cuba. Arco is survived by five children and six grandchildren. His family plans to hold memorial service in the Bay Area on Sept. 14. They say they are still working out the details. 

This story was reported from Berkeley, Calif.