By Chelle Delaney: Freedom Newspapers
A Los Lunas fight promoter says he fired the shot that killed Tucumcari’s Jason Pacheco on Feb. 1.
Jim Burleson, in Tucumcari for the Desert Xtreme martial-arts fight scheduled last week, said he fired his .45-caliber gun after Pacheco and others jumped him on Main Street.
Pacheco, 31, was taken to Dan Trigg Memorial Hospital, where he died several hours later.
Burleson said he has talked with the Tucumcari Police Department and state police about the shooting, but no charges have been filed.
Tucumcari Police Department officials said they could not discuss the case or Burleson’s account while the case was under investigation by state police.
New Mexico State Police also said they could not discuss the case while it was under investigation.
Pacheco’s wife, Melisa Pacheco, said her husband would not have attacked Burleson.
“It’s so against his character,” she said. “Jason wouldn’t do anything like that. We’re letting the police investigate. The truth will come out. I wouldn’t believe anything he (Burleson) says.”
Burleson said “five guys jumped me” while he was getting fight promotion materials out of the passenger side of his Lincoln Navigator, parked on Main Street.
“I didn’t see them approaching,” Burleson said.
Burleson said he initially “thought it was a carjacking when they were hitting me.”
Of the five men, “two had guns,” Burleson said. “There was no doubt they were there to kill me,” he said.
Burleson said he learned later from police that it was Pacheco who was kicking him in the head, while two others were stomping on him, and two others were in front of the Navigator with guns.
“I turned around and fired my gun,” Burleson said. “I later found out it was Jason Pacheco.”
Burleson said, “I have no idea how many times I fired, but I know it was not more than two. And they fired back at me.”
He said his pistol was in his Navigator.
Burleson said he was at a gym on Main Street to weigh in fighters for the martial-arts competition scheduled Friday. After the shooting, the competition was canceled.
Burleson said he and Pacheco “had a friendly professional rivalry. The last conversation we had was on Oct. 10, and we talked about the possibility of co-promoting an event in the future.”
Randall Harris of Clovis, the Pacheco family’s attorney, said he is anxiously awaiting the police investigation.
“Their investigation will take precedent over any other. I’m confident the state police will do their job and he (Burleson) will be held accountable,” Harris said.