Police: West Phoenix man shot and killed his girlfriend in murder-suicide
PHOENIX - A man and woman are dead following an apparent murder-suicide in West Phoenix.
According to Phoenix Police, officers responded to a home near 91st Avenue and McDowell Road at 10 p.m. on June 9 and found a man and woman with gunshot wounds outside of the residence.
The man, 26-year-old Cristian Galvez Chairez, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The woman, 26-year-old Stephanie Saldana, was transported to a hospital where she later died.
Investigators say witnesses reported that the couple was in a relationship and were arguing when Chairez shot Saldana before shooting himself.
The investigation is ongoing.
Saldana's family speaks out
On June 10, the family of Saldana spoke out about the tragedy.
"Just something you can't put into words," said Denise Hermann, Saldana's sister. "The pain, the hurt, and then, he took the coward way out."
Family members says Chairez was the father of Saldana's children.
"Buckeye Police came knocking at my door, three in the morning, asking who I was and how I was related to Stephanie," Hermann recounted. "I never imagined that they were gonna tell me that she was killed."
Family members also say Saldana's two children, 5-year-old Isaac and 3-year-old Isabella, have no idea what happened.
"It’s a heavy burden to bear, especially knowing that my niece and nephew and what they are going to be going through, and the senseless act that happened the way it happened," said Jonathan Esparza, Saldana's brother.
Saldana's death is not the only tragedy her family has faced recently. Seven months ago, Saldana's mother died of breast cancer.
"Now we're here. We lost out sister and we're left to wonder why," said Esparza.
As for what led up to the tragedy, Hermann believes domestic violence became an issue early on in the couple's relationship.
"We've had incidents where we had to go and pick her up, and he drew a gun at her while holding the baby, and it’s just one of those things where women are -- I can’t explain what they're thinking,, what they’re going through, why they feel the need to stick around," said Hermann. "She definitely had goals, and she definitely had plans to do right by her kids and get them out of a bad situation."
Domestic Violence Services - Resources from the Arizona Department of Economic Security
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line)
CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.
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