WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Last Saturday, West Des Moines resident Ardy Arco received a call that changed his life.
“In the afternoon I got a call from my sister, ‘hey there is a shooting in Texas. I’m OK, but I can’t find dad.” said Ardy.
He frantically waited for hours while his sister searched through Odessa, its hospitals and the scene for any signs of their dad. After coming up empty handed, she came across his semi truck, crashed on the side of the road, bullet holes in the door and driver’s window.
Ardy had been at the Mall of America with his family when he received his sister’s initial call. He immediately began the drive back to Des Moines when he was given the news.
“It was just tough … I was driving. I had to pull over. It just seems so unreal that he was gone,” said Ardy.
Rudy Arco was an entrepreneur owning multiple businesses throughout his lifetime. Before moving to Odessa a couple months ago, he lived in Las Vegas where he owned several taquerias. Although he loved where he lived, he was greatly concerned with the city violence and even more shaken by the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017.
Ardy also lived in Las Vegas and collectively they decided to move, hoping to relocate to somewhere more family friendly.
“I think the shooting was just the last straw for him. That’s when he thought is was time to start something new,” said Ardy. “I also just wanted to get something better for my family. I found really good work in Iowa and the people are so nice and they have good schools.”
They parted ways, Ardy moved to West Des Moines last October and his father later moved to Odessa. It would be the last moment he saw his dad.
“I’ve always seen the shootings, you know, and I‘ve always felt so, so bad about it … this is terrible. I can’t imagine it,” said Ardy. “The truth is you can’t. It hurts when you hear about it but when you feel about it’s terrible. I’m trying to keep it together.”
Ardy wants his dad to be remembered as someone who not only loved his family, but also greatly cared about his community.
“He was just such a good person. He taught me how to be a man and take care of my family,” said Ardy. “If he saw graffiti on the walls where he lived, he actually would carry paint cans and clean it up and cover it up. Any trash in his neighborhood he would just clean it up and even though that’s not his problem or his job, he would do it.”
Following similar tragedies across the nation, Ardy has a simple message for legislators.
“There needs to be a change in society. We need to be better for each other because this is getting out of hand,” said Ardy.
A GoFundMe page has been established for Rudy’s family and has already received over $10,000 in donations.