"She's in heaven right now training with the greats:" Local gym trainers remember New Year's homicide victim

Justin Schecker

Photo: Video by kgun9.com

"She's in heaven right now training with the greats:" Local gym trainers remember New Year's homicide victim

CREATED Jan. 3, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Cindy Burnett was a fighter, lawyer and mother of two sons.

"She was all about her kids," friend Joey Rivera told 9 On Your Side. "She loved Chaz, she loved Von. She did everything and anything to make them happy."

Burnett and her sons trained at Rivera's Apex Mixed Martial Arts gym. She was in her element inside the ring, gloves on and throwing punches.  

Burnett is one of the two victims in the New Year's morning double-homicide Tucson police continue to investigate. 

Tucson police interviewed a Yellow Taxi cab driver who drove Burnett and another man from the Junxion Bar downtown to The Vistas neighborhood early Wednesday morning.

Police are now looking for an African American man in his mid-20s or early 40s. He may have burns on his arms and face from the airbags in the car he crashed, Sgt. Chris Widmer told 9 On Your Side.

32-year-old Patrick Balbastro was a good samaritan who tried to help Burnett. He also died when the man beating Burnett in the street hopped in his car and drove over both of them.         

A 43-year-old woman is clinging to life in the hospital after she was also struck by the car. 
 
Burnett also worked as an attorney on the Tohono O'Odham reservation. 
 
"After her job, she just came flying to one of the local gyms," Rivera said. 
 
Just hours before her death on New Year's eve afternoon, Burnett was inside the ring at the Undisputed Fitness Center 
 
"I've been getting messages all night, is this the same Cindy that was in our gym," Undisputed Fitness Center manager Chris Hearn said. "I find it odd that she would be in a scuffle that she couldn't handle. She was tough."
 
The different gyms around town where Burnett trained are planning a community-wide memorial benefit.
 
"I know that she's in heaven right now training with the greats up there," Rivera said. "She's looking down on us and I know she wants to be here, but now she's got the best people in the world to train with."

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