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Families impacted by gun violence speak out

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 22:55:19-04

PHOENIX — Gun violence is impacting many families here in the Valley. Now, least eight teens have been shot in less than two weeks in Phoenix.

The youngest, a girl just 14-years-old.

Seven of those victims were shot at parties, three of them lost their lives.

“He loved riding bikes and working on cars with his dad,” said 15-year-old Demarkus Edison’s aunt, Nicole Walter.

His aunt tells ABC15 it was a typical night at his family's apartment near 14th Avenue and Hatcher on a late Friday night with his little sister.

Walter said his mom was gone for only an hour.

“Someone had knocked on the door or called him, I’m not exactly sure what,” said Walter. “He went outside and got shot.”

Phoenix police released Demarkus Edison's name after officers said he was found near the street.

“It feels like his time with the investigation was cut short because literally while they were at his, gun shots were heard a couple miles away,” said Walter.

Just down the road at 10th Ave. and Hatcher a party ended with shots being fired.

Police say eight people were hurt and one girl, just 14, was killed.

The second party in just a week that ended with multiple people shot.

Another shooting in Maryvale near 59th Ave and Thomas Rd, 18-year-old Luis Torres, was killed and five other teens were wounded.

“This is just happening too often,” said Nicole Jasso. “I just want to say a prayer for the Maryvale for the community.”

Jasso considered Luis and his brother Oscar, nephews.

She said the family gave her permission to share their story, both brothers now taken by gun violence.

“Oscar was at a friend’s house and they were mishandling the weapons, and it went off,” said Jasso. “He got shot in the head.”

That was June of 2018, now four years later the family experiencing another insurmountable loss.

“It doesn’t seem like [many] people care because of the area that it’s in and these kids need help,” said Jasso. “They need a voice.”

Nicole is working with community groups and hoping to be that voice.

She said she may not have the solution, but she’s hoping to spark change.

“Even though it’s a tragic story, I wanted to share the positive message that there’s always a better choice,” said Jasso.

So, families of those like Demarkus Edison and Luis Torres don’t have to be left wondering.

“It’s just the not knowing if we’re going to get justice,” said Walter.

In the meantime, Phoenix police are urging parents to be vigilant with their kid’s social media, where word of these parties spread.

The warning comes after the June 4 shooting near 10th Ave and Hatcher.

Demarkus Edison's family created an online fundraiser where the community can help with funeral costs.