UPDATE: Orchard Ave. apartment shooting victim identified

By: Andie Adams Email
By: Andie Adams Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – A search warrant affidavit reveals new details about the shooting Monday night outside the Racquet Club apartments, including the identity of the victim and the man suspected of shooting him.

Phillip Burchim, 34, was taken to the hospital on Oct. 1 for a gunshot wound to his chest. He was found in a grassy area in the middle of the apartment complex at 2915 Orchard Avenue.

According to the search warrant, Burchim told investigators he was walking near Orchard Avenue when he was confronted by several men standing on the apartment’s second floor balcony. They asked him if he wanted to buy marijuana and came down to street level to talk to him.

One of the men said his name was “Payaso” (which means clown in Spanish), a Sureno gang member from Los Angeles, according to the affidavit.

Continuing his side of the story, Burchim said “Payaso” started disrespecting him, so Burchim walked away and called his friends, asking them to come over.

Once Burchim had his backup, things escalated. The affidavit says, “And now that [Burchim] had his friends with him, he wanted to deal with ‘Payaso.’”

Arriving back at the Racquet Club apartments, Burchim and his friends yelled at “Payaso’s” group. He said the next thing he knew, “Payaso” had shot him.

According to the search warrant, one witness reports Burchim running up to her and telling her he was shot, “followed by him pulling up his shirt and showing her the blood.”

She then says a “short, pudgy Hispanic male” ran up to them and tried to kick Burchim, who yelled at the man, “You shot me.”

The man then ran away.

Investigators requested the search warrant for 2915 Orchard Avenue, apartment H-27, a second story room from which the shot came, witnesses say.

The apartment’s owner told investigators that Monday night, he had a man named Joe and his girlfriend, Angelina, in his home. He said as Joe was leaving, he heard the gunshots and saw Joe and Angelina driving away in a blue car. The owner denies knowing the victim and denies that the shots were fired from his balcony.

No one has been arrested in the case.

Heather Benjamin with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the search warrant was executed, but she could not comment on if they found anything because it is an on-going investigation.

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