PHOENIX — When Meagan Orantes got the idea to hold a march against gun violence, she wasn't sure exactly what to say, or who may even stop to listen. But she knew she needed to say something.
"I never thought it could be my family," she said. "It still feels like a nightmare that I haven't woke up from."
Orantes lost her 19-year-old son Andy Franco to gun violence on September 20, 2020.
"Andy was at a house party. There were plenty of people there and nobody came forward to speak regarding what happened," she said.
The shooter from that party, near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road, is still on the run more than a year later. Orantes is calling for more crime lab help and funding so evidence is analyzed faster.
"I think that we can do better here in Arizona," she said.
She's also calling out the culture of silence among criminals.
"Somebody saw something and we need someone to speak up," she said.
The City of Phoenix reported 139 homicides in 2019. In 2020, there were 200, a 44% year-over-year increase.
So far this year, the latest Phoenix Police statistics show we hit 134 at the end of August, making it on pace to end with a similar number to last year.
If you have any information on Franco's case, you can call the Phoenix Police Department or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.