Phoenix family offering reward after shooting killed 2 cousins, shares impact of gun violence
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Homicides involving guns are up 45% from last year, according to Phoenix Police. Unfortunately, it’s a statistic Xena Shikenjanski knows far too well. She lost her brother and cousin in August during a shooting at a Phoenix house party. Police say hundreds of people were there, but no one has been arrested.
So now Shikenjanski’s left wondering how many more lives will be lost to gun violence before there is a change in our community. “You looked them in the eyes and you took their lives. So how can you live with that everyday?” Shikenjanski asked. She knows where and how her cousin and brother died, but the ‘why’ remains a question. “We just still have no answers. I think that just sits with us, everyday that’s literally on our mind, like what happened?” she asked.
As of June, the City of Phoenix reported more than 100 homicides this year. That number doesn’t include Shikenjanski’s brother, Robert Puentes, or her cousin, Xavier Martinez. “I guess in some ways, I don’t want to say easier, but we’re learning to cope with them being gone,” she said.
Shikenjanski is pressing for answers partnering with silent witness to offer a $2,000 cash reward. She says credible leads have been hard to come by. “We know it takes a lot of courage, but it’s that fear that is allowing these kids to kill each other and get away with it. There’s no consequences for anything. We’re not the only family that has lost somebody especially this year alone,” she said.
She finds strength in helping other families who have gone through something similar. “We just ask that if they know anything, even if it doesn’t involve our case, if they’ve seen anything that involves the other cases just to speak up,” she said.
The family is working with the Damion Gosa Memorial Foundation, and their mission is to work with at-risk youth to stop gun violence.
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