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Jan 3, 2014 4:19 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

"He's a monster": sister of New Year's Day murder victim speaks

TUCSON- The sister of Patrick Balbastro says her brother was living life to the fullest, until his life was tragically cut short early on New Year's Day.

She wishes to remain anonymous as she mourns the loss of her brother and says the man who murdered him is a monster. "For someone to run somebody over multiple times, get out and hit the person in the face and then run them over again," she says. "Who does that?"

Balbastro was killed just before 4am on New Year's Day in the 2200 block of East Sunland Vista. Police say he and his girlfriend were driving by, when they saw two people, a man and a woman, fighting on the street.

Balbastro called 911, then got out of the car. A fight erupted between Balbastro and the man who was fighting with the woman on the street. Following the fight, the suspect entered Balbastro's vehicle and proceeded to aggressively use the vehicle as a weapon to strike Balbastro, his girlfriend and the woman who the suspect was fighting with.

Balbastro died at the hospital. His 43-year-old girlfriend remains in critical condition at UAMC. The other woman, 46-year old Cindy Burnett, died at the scene.

The suspect fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle after colliding into a tree near Sunland Vista and Campbell Avenue. "What he did to my brother and to other people breaks my heart," Balbastro's sister says.

She had seen him just hours before, celebrating New Year's Eve at the casino. They talked about his goals for the future.

According to witnesses, the suspect and Burnett arrived at the scene via a Yellow Cab taxi. On Thursday afternoon detectives were able to locate the driver of that cab. They are now questioning the driver, hoping he or she can provide any valuable information about the suspect.

The suspect is described as a light skinned African American or Hispanic male. Detectives believe he may have some injuries from when he escaped. Anyone with information should call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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