Family remembers MMA fighter shot, killed in Goodland

GOODLAND, Kan. (KAKE) -

Talking to KAKE News through Skype from her home in Tribune, Melissa Chavez says she'll never forget learning that her son Zac had been shot.

"We drove as fast as we could to get there and I just kept praying and praying that when we got there he would be ok,” she recalled.  

After an hour-long drive, she found out that he wasn't, news that would change her life forever.

"By the time we reached Goodland, they pronounced him past away,” she said. “I missed it by 15 minutes."

The shooting happened early December 20th. 

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is still looking into the case but officials say they have a suspect in custody.

"My son did not deserve to die,” said Chavez.

Zac Chavez had dreams of being a known MMA fighter and was training for his first big title fight.

"He was always really excited about it; he would practice with me,” said his fiancé Rachel Lehman. "He said that's how he was gonna make his mamma rich." 

Although Zac’s death weighs heavy, Rachel says she's grateful for the time they spent together.

"Beyond thankful, I can't even describe it,” she stated.

But she wishes she could relay one last message.

"I would just make sure that he knew how much I loved him and how much I appreciated everything he did for me,” she added.  

During this tough time, the family says support from the community means everything.

"I never imagined that my son would be dead,” said Chavez. "If we didn't have the community, I don't think I would make it through."

The KBI isn't releasing any more details about the case, and Chavez’s mother says she can't go into specifics about her son's murder.  

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE