Murder Victim’s Partner Hopes To Pick Up Where He Left Off, Loving Strangers Like A Friend

Saturday, October 3rd 2020, 11:53 pm
By: Ashlyn Brothers

TULSA, Okla. -

News On 6 spoke with Sylvia Anderson, the life partner of Zachary Rivera who was shot to death last weekend. Anderson held a memorial Saturday afternoon in Rivera's honor.

Related: Murder-Suicide Witness Talked With Suspect On Phone During Standoff

"That was my best friend and my world,” Anderson said. “He was everything." 

Anderson said Rivera always had stories to tell and wisdom to offer. The two were in a relationship for four years and built a life together with four children from her previous marriage and an 18-year-old son from his.

"There's a really big hole that's not going to be filled," Anderson said. 

Anderson said that waking up alone each day to an empty house is a daily reminder of the tragedy that turned her life upside down.

She said her neighbors are bearing the burden with her, making life a little easier. 

"He didn't suffer, and for that, I'm grateful,” Anderson said. “But everyone else around here is suffering.”

Officers said Jeyhun Valizada killed Zachary Rivera and then himself after a long standoff with Tulsa police. Anderson said Valizada shot Rivera in the head and chest, looked her in the eye and walked back inside. 

"I ran and grabbed him, but there wasn’t anything I or anyone could do,” Anderson said. 

Anderson said he treated strangers the same way he treated his friends—always willing to help and expecting nothing in return. 

In fact, Rivera was friends with Valizada. 

"We would cook. He would eat with us. They worked on their cars together,” Anderson said. “They changed each other’s oil." 

Anderson said her heart hurts for her and the community's loss.   

“There wasn't anything that man wouldn't do to put a smile on my face," Anderson said. 

Anderson said she's ready to pick up where Rivera left off by loving strangers like a friend.