Family of 2 cousins killed at south Phoenix party warning others about gun violence

Family members of two cousins shot and killed during a house party in south Phoenix are begging witnesses to speak up about what happened.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 6:08 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The family of two cousins shot and killed Sunday at a house party near 27th Street and South Mountain Avenue is demanding answers. Police still haven’t made any arrests.

“These kids are in a society where guns, knives, tasers are the answer to all arguments, to all conflicts,” said Xena Shikenjanski.

A violent weekend left eight people dead and 11 others injured in shootings across the Valley. “We’ve always been scared. Growing up in south Phoenix, it’s been a scary feeling. All the parents and loved ones are worried that one day they’ll get that call,” she said.

Shikenjanski lost her brother Robert Puentes and her cousin Xavier Martinez on Sunday. She told us her family had been looking for them when her grandfather said their car had turned up outside a home surrounded by crime tape and Phoenix police officers. “He’s [Robert] always picked up, and if he was working because he worked a lot. He always called back, and he’d even pick up the phone at work. So I knew, we knew it was them,” she said.

She wants whoever killed them to know the damage they’ve caused. “They’re not just a number to gun violence or the deaths happening around the Valley. They’re family. When they got shot their bodies fell right next to each other. They were there together and out of all the people that were there, they were the only two that lost their lives,” Shikenjanski said.

She says neither of them were confrontational, and they’re begging the people at the party to speak up about what happened, even if it’s an anonymous tip. A third person was also shot, but they weren’t seriously hurt.