Manhunt for shooter who shot 19-year-old Navy sailor

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By Kent Wainscott

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (WISN) — The search is underway for the shooter who killed a 19-year-old Navy sailor in the middle of a West Allis street.

It happened early Sunday near South 84th and East Becher streets.

Ash Rodriguez told WISN 12 that her fiancé, Phoenix Castanon, went to see a friend who needed help.

Rodriguez sat with the woman in the car as Castanon confronted the unknown.

“It looked like my fiancé had turned to walk towards us when I turned around. I heard the car tires scream from here to cut in front of him to stop him in his way. I heard the sound of the gun. I smelled gunpowder. He sped up, took a left after Citgo and I watched my fiancé fall,” Rodriguez said.

“I just heard the noise and the screeching of tires,” said West Allis resident Sheila Basile. “And then all of a sudden, we heard screams.

A neighbor called 911.

Rodriguez could only sit and wait with Castanon, dying in his arms.

“I just held it. I had one arm on him and the other hand on the back of his head. I told him, I said, “It’s going to be okay, and I love you,” Rodriguez said.

She felt her pulse drop and then it disappeared.

From his window, Basile witnessed the aftermath of a deadly shooting in the street, moments later the police arrived.

The unknown shooter fled.

WISN 12 spoke by telephone with the victim’s mother-in-law.

“We heard that a friend of his was being harassed and Phoenix intervened and unfortunately he was shot,” Tiata Nez-Dunklin said.

Nez-Dunklin said her son-in-law was stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes and was in West Allis for the weekend with friends.

“He was training there to be a journeyman gunner,” Nez-Dunklin said. “He loved it there.”

She described him as a good son, who loved rodeo.

“He was a cowboy. That was actually his nickname, it was Cowboy. He was a bull rider,” Nez-Dunklin said.

Police checked neighborhood surveillance cameras to try to identify the shooter.

But at this time, they’re not saying if they have any solid leads in a murder that shook everyone in this West Allis neighborhood.

“I’ve never had an experience like this, so I bet the neighborhood and I are pretty shaken up by it,” West Allis resident Max Kurkiewicz said.

“It was a scary situation. Yeah, it was scary,” West Allis resident Dean Berglund said.

Police did not say if they found any surveillance that could help find the shooter, they checked every doorbell camera on the block and took surveillance video of an auto repair shop at the end of the block .

The victim’s family said police told them they identified a suspicious vehicle, but police are not confirming this at this stage.

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