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Sister of slain Fresno tattoo artist speaks out as investigation continues

Cathy Sayavong says her brother Pisa Xayapheth had mentored his accused killer

FRESNO, Calif. - The sister of a Fresno tattoo parlor owner speaks out after her big brother and his co-worker were shot and killed in his shop by one of his own employees.

The two were gunned down after a fight late Saturday night. The suspect in the double murder is 27-year-old Cruz Hinojosa who is now in Fresno County Jail. The owner's sister says her brother actually recently hired the accused gunman.

She calls it pure betrayal. Pisa Xayapheth's public Instagram has a post from June 4. It's a photo of Cruz Hinojosa at work and in the caption, Xayapheth shouts him out. "Welcome to the family," it said. Now police say Hinojosa is a murderer.

"I feel like a new man," said Pisa Xayapheth as his family and friends laughed.

Moments of celebration as Xayapheth's family and friends surprised him on his 30th birthday. Seven months later, they have to prepare his funeral.

"I didn't want to believe it. I was so mad that I wasn't there," said Cathy Sayavong.

Xayapheth's sister Cathy Sayavong lives in Dallas. She got the call late Saturday night after doctors pronounced her big brother dead. Fresno Police say Cruz Hinojosa fought with Xayapheth and Jesse Hernandez inside the tattoo shop before Hinojosa pulled out a gun and opened fire on both co-workers.

"I just don't understand how something can get so horrible where you would take someone's life," said Sayavong.

Chief Jerry Dyer says detectives also found evidence of a white substance.

"Without a doubt, that there was illegal narcotics activity occurring inside this tattoo parlor," said Dyer.

Detectives are still determining if the alleged drug activity led to the shooting.

Sayavong says a tattoo of her mother's name in Laos was done by her brother. A man who leaves behind two young sons. The father figure in her life who she hoped would give away her hand in marriage at her upcoming wedding.

"He was the only person that I would allow to walk me down the aisle. He was the only person," said Sayavong.

Xayapheth's family has started a GoFundMe. All the money raised goes to his eight-year-old and six-year-old sons along with his wife. Here's the link: bit.ly/2mpm3BW


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