Tucson police release description of double homicide suspect

2014-01-03T14:25:00Z 2014-01-15T10:43:58Z Tucson police release description of double homicide suspectKimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tucson police have found the taxi driver who dropped off the suspect shortly before a New Year’s Day hit-and-run double homicide.

The cab driver described the suspect as a black man in his mid 20s to mid 30s, said Sgt. Chirs Widmer, spokesman for the Tucson Police Department. The suspect is between 5-feet-10 and 5-feet-11- inches tall, weighs about 175 pounds and “has short afro-type hair.”

The cabbie picked up the suspect and a woman, Cindy Burnett, 47, at about 3 a.m. in the downtown area. Earlier in the evening, Burnett was at the Junxion Bar, 63 East Congress Street, Widmer said.

The driver dropped them off in the 2200 block of East Sunland Vista, near East 36th Street and South Campbell Avenue.

At about the same time, Patrick Balbastro, 32, and a female passenger, were driving home when he saw the suspect assaulting Burnett, Widmer said. Balbastro called 911 to report the altercation and told the emergency dispatcher he had to help the woman.

When Balbastro got out of his car to help Burnett, the suspect attacked him. At some point during the attack, the passenger got out of Balbastro’s car, Widmer said.

After the assault, the suspect got into Balbastro’s car and “aggressively use the vehicle as a weapon to strike all three victims multiple times,” Widmer said.

The suspect fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle after hitting a tree near East Sunland Vista and South Campbell Avenue. He may have been injured in the crash, Widmer said.

Burnett died at the scene and Balbastro succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital. Balbastro’s 43-year-old passenger remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, Widmer said.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information should call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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