Elbow Room fight victim comatose, no arrest made

FRESNO, Calif.

"They saw it happen, so I know there's witnesses there, there's people out there that can help us get this coward off the street," said Nick Burriel Sr.

Twenty-four-year-old Nick Burriel, Jr. is in critical condition at Community Regional Medical Center -- after getting knocked out Saturday night. Police are still sorting out the details of the attack.

Burriel was at the Elbow Room with friends Saturday night when his life took a sharp turn for the worse. He got in a little fight inside the bar, then another outside that left him unconscious and flatlining in the parking lot.

Burriel is known as a smiler, but for now, the smile is gone, replaced by a breathing tube. After a fight outside the Elbow Room, he suffered two collapsed lungs, a bruised heart, and didn't breathe for about 25 minutes.

"He's not doing well," his father said. "He's not doing well right now and we're just praying that he gets better."

Burriel's parents have been as close to their son as possible, arriving to the hospital at the same time as the ambulance. Police and friends who were at the elbow room have given them some pieces of the puzzle as they try to figure out how they got here.

Witnesses say Burriel and Aharon Devoyan had a fight inside the bar. Security kicked them out, but Burriel's father says the fight got more violent outside.

"The gentleman came from behind him, lifted him up off his feet from behind and slammed him to the ground, which knocked him out," said Burriel, Sr.

His son wasn't breathing when help arrived and paramedics had to restart his heart. Many in a line of people waiting to get inside the Elbow Room and others at Fig Garden Village saw it happen.

Police have interviewed more than 20 witnesses, but they're looking for more. A day later, Davoyan came to police, but refused to give a statement. They did not arrest him.

Burriel's family wants him brought to justice.

"He waited for my son, attacked my son from behind," said the father. "He knew what he was doing. He's not remorseful. He's a coward. My son is fighting for his life and he gets to walk around free for this."

Elbow Room owner Mike Shirinian was out of town this weekend and hasn't returned phone calls for comment.

Davoyan hired an attorney Monday. The lawyer tells Action News his client is now willing to talk to police and indicated there may have been mutual combat involved in the confrontation.

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