Earlier this year, when Arizona State University honors student Zachary Marco realized he was charged twice for an item on his debit card, he became so angry according to his father that he said no one will ever take anything from him ever again.
But on Sunday night, as Tempe police and Marco’s family members believe he was walking from the ASU library to his apartment in the 1500 block of East University Drive, someone took Marco’s life for an old laptop computer and a cell phone.
“I wish he would’ve handed it over,” said Zachary’s father, Daniel Marco of Mesa, a criminal defense attorney.
Marco, 21, a junior honors student majoring in political science at ASU, was shot in the chest about 9:30 p.m. near the campus as his younger sister, Katie, 19, was studying a block away at a Starbucks coffee shop. Marco later died at a nearby hospital.
Witnesses said they saw two men running from the scene, and police and family members are asking anyone who knows anything about the crime to come forward.
Daniel Marco has faith that whoever is responsible for the death of his son will “mess up” and be caught.
Marco’s death marked Tempe’s 12th homicide of the year, nearing the most annual homicides the city has had in 10 years — 13 in 2000, according to information from Tempe police. Mesa has had 11 homicides this year.
As the Marcos finalized the plans for Zachary’s funeral services on Tuesday, Daniel Marco and his son’s roommate, Will Sullivan, wanted to talk more about Marco’s promising future than his tragic death. At ASU, Marco also was working toward a minor in philosophy. In addition to his full load of classes, he tutored three groups from political science classes and was involved in Habitat for Humanity. He also was excited to be selected to go through a second round of interviews for an internship in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Senate — he was among 300 applicants narrowed to a group of 60.
Last year, Marco served as a page in the state Legislature and was planning for a career in law, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. The Marco family was from Cleveland, and related to the late Anthony Celebrezze and Anthony Celebrezze Jr., who both held high state political offices during Ohio’s Democratic heyday.
“This is a loss to myself, my family, our friends and the rest of the world,” Daniel Marco said. “He was not concerned with race, creed or wealth. He was obsessed with truth and right. How many people like that do you meet? He saw the dysfunction in partisanship politics, but was the only one I knew who could sit through a session of the state Legislature’s budget sessions and come out with a positive thought when most people came out of it screaming and throwing up their arms. I think he would’ve made things better, but now, we’ll never know.”
“Whoever did this ripped the world off of a great person,” said Sullivan, who knew Marco for about six years. “He was the hardest-working person I have ever seen. He was going places. I don’t think there’s any amount of justice that can make up for this.”
Marco, a 2008 graduate of Mesa’s Red Mountain High School where he played football, wrestled and ran cross country and track.
Marco’s high school wrestling coach, Dan DiDomenico, described Marco as someone who was “polite, respectable, coachable and had a sense of humor,” who was competitive in the 135-pound weight class and advanced to the state tournament as a senior.
“He was an important part of the team,” DiDomenico said. “He was a person you wish all the kids were like.”
Marco also is survived by his two sisters, Katie, 19, and Michelle, 15; his mother Claudia and grandfather Richard.
Katie Marco remembered “Zach” as someone who was always there for her and always came to watch her lacrosse games.
“He always worked so hard and he always pushed you hard,” she said. “He didn’t deserve to go the way he did.”
Anyone with information on the slaying can contact Tempe police at (480) 350-8311 or Silent Witness at (480) 948-6377.