Community holds vigil for cousins killed at south Phoenix house party

Loved ones and community leaders held a vigil to honor the lives of Robert Puentes and Zavier Martinez, who were shot and killed on August 28.
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 10:36 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A community came together Monday night to remember two cousins killed at a south Phoenix house party.

Loved ones and community leaders held a vigil to honor their lives. The broader issue of gun violence was also in focus. “My family, we are not vengeful people but something like this makes us angry,” said Xena Shikenjanski.

Detectives said that Robert Puentes and Zavier Martinez were shot and killed. Both were just 21 years old. The shooting happened on Aug. 28 at a home near 27th Street and South Mountain Avenue. Police are still looking for the person or people responsible.

“These kids had futures that can no longer be lived out. They wanted kids, they wanted family because that was the most important thing to them. So our family wants to make sure that they didn’t die for nothing,” said Shikenjanski.

Now, their family is channeling their grief into action and pushing for change in the community. They are working with the Damion Gosa Memorial Foundation. Cynthia Lazaro started the organization after her son was killed in 2009 during a home invasion. Her mission now: work with at-risk youth and stop gun violence. “The only way that I know how to change that is to get through to our youth and place that foundation beneath them,” said Lazaro.

Meanwhile, Puentes and Martinez’s family wants justice. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Phoenix Police or Silent Witness.