New account of Elbow Room fight

A new, contrasting, account of the violent fight outside a popular Fresno restaurant is coming to light.
November 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A new, contrasting, account of the violent fight outside a popular Fresno restaurant is coming to light.

The fight Saturday evening ended with 24-year-old Nick Burriel, Junior in the hospital with a bruised heart and two collapsed lungs after he stopped breathing for 25 minutes.

Burriel's family says he's showing signs of improvement, opening his eyes and moving his legs and feet. And while he's recovering police continue talking to witnesses about the incident.

Action News talked with the attorney representing the other man involved in the incident, who says it was a mutual fight not an attack. There's no doubt things got out of hand over the weekend at the Elbow Room. The big question is what really happened.

We know two men, Nick Burriel, Jr. and Aharon Devoyan got into a confrontation inside the restaurant. Devoyan's attorney, Mike Idiart, told Action News over the phone it was verbal jousting with punches thrown but no one hit.

After being kicked out of the Elbow Room he says his client headed to his car. In front of the bar is where Idiart says Burriel began harassing Devoyan. He says a fight began and one punch knocked out Burriel, who must have hit his head as he fell to the ground.

Burriel is in the hospital right now, rushed there after his bruised heart stopped beating for more than 20 minutes. Devoyan's attorney says its unfortunate Burriel is in the hospital. But instead of the victim of a brutal, planned attack as the Burriel family says it happened. Idiart says Burriel is "the unfortunate loser of a fight."

Some witnesses say the men were kicked out of the bar through separate doors at the same time. Police say Devoyan and Burriel were escorted out of the Elbow Room within minutes of each other.

Nicholas Perez owner of Central California Private Security is not contracted with the Elbow Room.

But he says when his guards work at bars or restaurants they are required to follow specific protocol when fights or arguments break out. "We usually try to separate the parties," Perez said. "Get rid of one party first, whether it's the aggressor. Try to get rid of the aggressor first. Get him in his car and get him off the property. Then get the second part off the property, is usually our protocol."

The Elbow Room declined to comment on the security efforts. But, the owner issued a statement to Action News previously, sending well wishes to Burriel and promising cooperation with investigators.

Devoyan has not been interviewed, at the direction of his attorney, who is also speaking with witnesses.


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