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The profile of the 68-year-old Oakland business owner shot and killed in his shop earlier this month

Oakland, California – Aristeo Zambrano’s life story is a classic example of the American Dream. He left Michoacan, Mexico, for California in the 1970s, starting off as a broccoli cutter in the Salinas Valley.

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His journey took him to working alongside Cesar Chavez in the United Farm Workers movement, where he fought for better pay for laborers. In the early 1990s, Zambrano opened an auto repair business called Bay City Alternators in Oakland and was nearing the time he could retire.

Tragically, Zambrano’s life was cut short. He was shot and killed at his repair shop at the age of 68, just as he was looking forward to retirement. The incident occurred on Saturday, February 3, at his shop located at International Boulevard and 88th Avenue.

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Initial reports by the Bay Area News Group mentioned the shooting but didn’t name Zambrano. It was only later that NBC Bay Area identified him as the victim, who died at his business soon after the incident.

Further insights into Zambrano’s life were shared by his family with The Chronicle. They recounted his involvement with Chavez and the United Farm Workers, including a challenging period when Chavez dismissed Zambrano and others. They successfully sued to get their positions back.

Zambrano eventually settled in Oakland, where he mastered the repair of car starters and alternators, leading Bay City Alternators for 33 years, first as a co-owner then on his own. His daughter Maria Ayala expressed her grief to The Chronicle, emphasizing the injustice of his death after a lifetime of hard work and kindness.

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Zambrano leaves behind three daughters and six grandchildren. His death marked the tenth homicide in Oakland that year, followed by another soon after.

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