Affidavit: Man knew assailant in shooting

A man who was shot late Monday outside a Fruitvale apartment complex told investigators he knew his assailant only as “Payaso,” a Sureno gang member from Los Angeles who was among a group of people interested in selling marijuana before shots rang out, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Phillip Burchim, 34, who was listed in fair condition at St. Mary’s Hospital on Tuesday afternoon after being shot in the chest, told investigators he had called several friends to back him up and wanted to confront “Payaso,” or “Clown,” who Burchim claimed had started to “disrespect” him.

“The next he knew “Payaso” had shot him,” the search warrant said. “Burchim said everyone left the area and he ran south toward the pool area.”

Burchim said he was walking near Orchard Avenue when he was first contacted by “Payaso,” who was with several other men standing outside a second-story balcony at Racquet Club apartments, 2915 Orchard Ave.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday did not confirm the identity of the man who was shot just after 11 p.m. Monday. Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said witnesses offered various descriptions of the vehicle in which the suspects fled. Nobody had been arrested in the case as of early Tuesday evening.

Several witnesses told investigators they heard a loud commotion on the northeast side of the apartment complex, before they either heard or saw flashes from three to four gunshots coming from a second-story balcony on the northeast corner, the search warrant said.

Others reported hearing a male yell from the second floor, “I just shot you.”

A witness who encountered Burchim moments after the shooting said Burchim pulled up his shirt, and was showing the witness his gunshot wound, when a “short pudgy Hispanic male ran toward them and tried to kick Burchim,” the affidavit said. The witness stepped between the men, trying to block the kick.

“(Witness) said Burchim looked at this male and commented something to the effect of “you shot me,” the affidavit said.

Four men were seen speeding away from the complex in a dark sedan.


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