PHOENIX — There has been a strong reaction from state lawmakers, Phoenix police, and family after a deadly domestic violence-related shooting in north Phoenix.
They say they are saddened that the suspect who had a history of violence was on the streets less than two weeks after being arrested for aggravated domestic assault, against the same victim.
28-year-old Trystan Benallie was not only a mother, a sister, and a friend. She was also an Indigenous woman.
One who police say was shot inside her apartment by her ex-boyfriend, 27-year-old Steven Love-Mason, even with an order of protection against him.
Lynn, who doesn’t want her last name used, is still reeling from the loss of her loved one, Trystan Benallie.
She tells ABC15 their mothers grew up together on the Navajo reservation in Tuba City.
“One of the things that the system makes me feel is anger,” she added.
Lynn is still trying to accept that the person she calls her cousin-sister is gone.
“Restraining orders aren’t bulletproof. I feel like the system failed to protect my sister,” she said during a Facebook live.
Police say Steven Love-Mason shot and killed Benallie and 23-year-old Martin Louis on Monday. Officials say he showed up at Benallie's apartment, near Cave Creek Road and Beardsley.
“He hunted her. She didn’t deserve this, as well as her friend,” Lynn added in tears.
Benallie’s three-year-old child was also inside but was not hurt.
“She was a victim. Another Indigenous female victim of domestic violence. Another person murdered,” said Lynn.
Arizona State Representative Jennifer Jermaine also weighed in.
She sent a statement to ABC15 saying the following:
"What happened to Ms. Benallie is absolutely tragic. She did everything right to get away from her abuser and the entire criminal justice system failed her. My deepest condolences go out to her family and children. There is no amount of words that can describe the depth of your loss. Arizona and Maricopa County must do better for victims of domestic violence."
“She was a beautiful soul and she laughed, and her heart was big,” Lynn said.
Phoenix police tell ABC15 the department is saddened by what happened.
Both families have set up GoFundMe accounts to help pay for funeral expenses. Lynn says any money that’s leftover after Benallie’s funeral will go to her five children.
In a GoFundMe account, Louis’ family writing in part:
“He had such a good heart and was taken from us due to domestic gun violence.”
Lynn says the legal system needs to do more to stop domestic violence related deaths.
“I don’t think I can rest until justice is served,” she said.
ABC15 reached out, again, to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) and they reiterated the legal system does not allow people to be held in custody on prior convictions.
Here is the statement MCAO released Tuesday:
“The facts in this case were reviewed by this office and a decision was made that the charges be forwarded to city court to be prosecuted as misdemeanors. As such, the release conditions set by the judge in this matter were lifted. The defendant was released from custody on Oct. 29, 2021. Prosecutors in this office make very tough decisions every day. It is always our hope that these decisions will protect victims and keep our community safe and the loss of life in this situation is truly tragic.”