Friends and family remembered Zach Ragusa as a fun-loving, goofball with a gift for making others laugh.
They shared their memories of the 18-year-old during a vigil held Saturday night outside the Terrible’s Car Wash & Lube in Henderson, just one day after the car wash employee was killed in a shooting Friday morning. Two other employees were shot, and another, 22-year-old Rafael Valdez, was arrested Friday and faces counts of murder, attempted murder and attempted robbery with a deadly weapon.
On Saturday, his twin sister, Molly Ragusa, told of finding an old school project in which her brother had summed up a simple life goal.
“I just want to be happy,” she said he had written.
A photo of Ragusa wearing a maroon hooded sweatshirt watched over the crowd of a few dozen mourners. A metal cart with candles, flowers and an unopened can of Mountain Dew served as a memorial.
Molly Ragusa recalled that she made fun of that hoodie just the other day. On Saturday, she wore it as she remembered the goofball brother who slept all day.
She also wore his “candy” bracelet with the beads spelling out, “I love you.” Her enjoying attending raves and had saved up money to buy a ticket to the Electric Daisy Carnival music festival in May.
“He was so excited to go,” she said. “He was going to the gym everyday to look hot for EDC.”
Friends at the vigil did their best impressions of the silly noises he would make, and recalled various dances and faces that were part of his repertoire.
Zach Ragusa worked hard, even if he was just under a minute late to work every day or would “talk like a Muppet half the time,” recalled his boss, Marcos Voelker.
He also would find a way to brighten even the most stressful workday, Voelker said.
“Just another stage of weird, but in a good way,” he said.
In elementary school, friend Illan Aguilera recalled, the two were going to start a spy group and build a secret underground base in Aguilera’s backyard.
“We drew out the plans for it, and that was about it,” Aguilera said.
Aguilera shared how his friend could make those around him laugh with his “corny jokes and corny puns.” And he held up a picture from Zach Ragusa’s Instagram account; in the photo, he is standing in front of and facing a stop sign. The caption said, “It says stop so i have to stop.”
“He would just start doing a joke and everybody’s looking at him like, ‘What are you doing?’ and then, like, the connection would click and everybody would start laughing,” Aguilera said.
The Ragusa and Aguilera families are close friends, and only 11 days separated the birthdays of the two teens.
Zach Ragusa had a sensitive side, too, friends and family said. He was hoping to take his two youngest sisters camping this summer.
“He said that he was trying to be a father figure towards them,” Aguilera said.
A GoFundMe has been set up in Zach Ragusa’s name to help the family pay for medical bills and funeral services.