Phoenix man shot for refusing to join gang, according to victim's mother

PHOENIX - A Phoenix mother is speaking out after her son was gunned down for refusing to join a gang.

Dershawn Stuard was murdered and his cousin also shot during a basketball game last Thursday at a park near 106th Avenue and Camelback Road.

The Phoenix Police Department identified 17-year-old Jodon Martinez as a suspect.

According to police, Martinez is a documented gang member and is considered armed and dangerous.

Dershawn's mother wants her son to be remembered as a loving, compassionate, funny young father.

Five years ago she says a known Phoenix gang tried to recruit her youngest sons, who were still in elementary school at the time, while at a park.

Refusing to join the gang made them a target of the alleged shooter, Martinez, and his family.

"They chased my kids home with a gun, actually opened fire once," she says.

The family moved around the city four times in five years, even switched the kids' schools trying to escape the gang violence.

Even now, despite filing several police reports in that time, she lives in fear with her son’s shooter still on the run and doesn’t want to be clearly identified.

"We tried to do it right, we tried and tried and tried. And no help, no help. Now that's the result, I have to bury my son and my grandson has to grow up without a father."

She says she won’t feel at peace until Martinez is caught and he is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

"He may not be able to walk around freely, but he's awake, he's alive, he's still breathing. I don't have that anymore, he stole that from my son for no reason."

Martinez is described as a Hispanic male who is about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 140 pounds.

The Phoenix Police Department is asking anyone with information to contact (602)262-6141, or call Silent Witness at (480)WITNESS.

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