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Police searching for shooter who killed Arizona sailor

Posted at 10:26 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 01:26:16-04

A Navy sailor from Arizona was shot and killed trying to protect someone. The 19-year-old veteran was visiting Wisconsin when he was gunned down in the street. The search is on for whoever opened fire.

Phoenix Castanon left his small town of Eagar in eastern Arizona for the military life. He joined the Navy last year, which was something important to his family.

"To know that he wanted to follow in my footsteps. His dad was also in the Army. He comes from a military family. His uncles his aunts, so it was a proud moment,” said his mother, Tiata Nez-Dunklin.

The Arizona native was based in Illinois. He had the weekend off, so traveled to visit his girlfriend in West Allis, Wisconsin.

But, the sailor would never make it back home after he was gunned down in the street.

"Just heard the pop and the tire screeches. And then all of a sudden, we heard the screaming and the help,” said Witness Sheila Basile.

"I didn't think it was true. I don't know, I was in shock,” added Nez-Dunklin.

Police say Castanon witnessed a man harassing a woman from a car, walked up to that man's car to confront him.

During the argument, investigators say the man pulled a gun, shot and killed Castanon.

"There was just no reason for that. There's no reason for him to shoot my son,” added Nez-Dunklin. "To me that's just so cowardly. To use a weapon to take a child, my child's life after the argument was already done,” added Nez-Dunklin.

Castanon's mom says Phoenix was known for his big heart, always sticking up for others including his family especially his 15-year-old sister and 9-year-old brother.

"They're hurting. They're trying their very best to stay strong, but they're just as lost as I am and as lost as their dad is,” added Nez-Dunklin.

The sailor's mom says she and her son both said they loved each other during their last conversation. But, he sent a text just hours before he was shot asking her what she wanted for Mother's Day.