Fairgoers attacked, allege official cover-up

July 26, 2008

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

Three people were assaulted Wednesday night as they exited a shuttle bus after attending a Mid-State Fair concert. The victims contend fair and police officials are downplaying the incident to avoid negative publicity.

Following the John Mayer concert, the trio was about to board a shuttle bus at the fair’s main entrance when two young men boisterously pushed their way to the front of a nearby bus line, shouting “PR13,” a gang designation.

“We were saying how out of control they were,” said 28-year-old Robert Lindstrom, one of the victims. “They were walking in front of the fair yelling ‘PR13’ and elbowing people. I asked a policeman, ‘Aren’t you going to do anything?’ He shrugged and said, ‘I don’t know what I can do.’” Unbeknownst to Lindstrom and his friends, twelve more gang members already were on their bus.

Upon exiting the bus at Von’s Shopping Center in Paso Robles, one of the alleged gang members said to Don Burtis, “Can’t you control your bitch?” Though Burtis, 33, tried to ignore the comment and walk away, he was assaulted from behind by approximately a dozen young whites and Hispanics.

“I was walking up the stairway toward the parking lot,” Burtis said. “I was hit several times in the back of the head. I tried to get to the top of the stairs. They surrounded me and continued to beat me. Once we got up into the parking lot, I yelled ‘Help, Robert, help!’ Robert tried to help, but he ended up getting beat up himself.

“I am really upset the police haven’t gotten the tape off the bus. I believe someone is not being honest. The police or the fair do not want this to get out.”

The third victim, 26-year-old Lisha Beck, tried to pull gang members off her boyfriend.

“I turned around and a guy pushed me back and I saw them beating on Don,” Beck said. “I tried to help and a guy hit me. Don told me to run, but two people jumped on me. They were punching me in the face and I got knocked out. It was really bad.”

Lindstrom attempted to help, and was also beaten. After fleeing the lot, the victims called police, who responded quickly.

“They were obviously injured,” Paso Robles Police Sergeant David Bouffard said. “There are all types of fights at the fair no one knows about.”

Though the trio sported facial injuries, police were skeptical. Bouffard said the call came in about 12:30 a.m. He said the buses stop running at 11 p.m. and the victims said they had called shortly after the incident. He added that the victims had been drinking, and that the gang PR13 is made up of Hispanics, not whites.

According to the fair’s own schedule, the shuttles stop running at 1 a.m.

Lindstrom said he “went to school in Paso. There are whites and Hispanics in PR13. We told them [police] to get the video from the bus and the Von’s parking lot. I personally think there is a cover-up. They don’t want bad publicity and they are pushing everyone to ride these buses.”

The incident was not reported to the public by either the police department or Mid-State Fair organizers. Following the incident, fair officials canceled the Von’s Shopping Center shuttle due to what they termed “clerical issues.”

“This is not out of the ordinary,” said Paso Robles Police Captain Robert Burton. “We follow up on all our assaults.”


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38 Comments

  1. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/25/08
    Any illegal alien, wherever they are from, that commits a crime, should be deported immediately. Anyone found giving them sanctuary should be deported as well.
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    Latino gang members murder a black man, a father of 4, in Santa Maria, and 4 more Latino gangsters stab another man in Guadalupe. Is this a growing national epidemic, or an isolated event? Take your pick folks!

    We Latinos need to explore why we pray on white guilt, and promote La Raza racism.
    By: Anonymous on 8/18/08
    Hang em high.
    By: Anonymous on 8/18/08
    Yuh gotta make 'em wince inside.
    By: Anonymous on 8/16/08
    Robert: the alleged attackers can be sued civally, that is, in a civil court. You would have a much stronger case if they were charged with a crime(s) and found guilty in criminal court. However, you can still sue them in Civil Court. You could also sue them in Small Claims court, if the damages are less than $7500. Go to http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov for court forms. btw, each court in CA has a Small Claims advisor who can assist you in filling out the forms.

    ~Misstrial
    By: Anonymous on 8/16/08
    What can I do?
    By: Anonymous on 8/16/08
    I have not heard a damn thing from the police. They have already shelved the issue it sounds like to me. The last I talked to the officer handling the case he was at a loss of what to do. Personally I don't know what to do next. Any suggestions?
    By: Anonymous on 8/13/08
    Yet another example where money is more important than public safety or people.
    This is classic example of the Paso Robles Police Dept being in bed with the highest criminal class bidders.
    By: Anonymous on 8/3/08
    Seems to me that if the sheriff and the PD are unwilling to assess if Probable Cause exists to make arrests, then the citizenry may wish to determine if too much property tax is being paid for the enforcement of law.

    Recall on Day Two of the Rodney King riots in L.A., a representative of CAR (California Association of Realtors) announced over KNX, KFWB, KFI, and KTLA of an "immediate twenty-per cent decrease in property values for Los Angeles County".

    Remember that? Maybe the County Board of Supervisors should think about *that* one.

    One more thing: I stopped buying Paso wines. I would encourage you all to reconsider buying the wines of growers who are the root of the problem here. I suggest you avoid the "Wine" Festival too.

    btw, UC Davis has archive records of the original appellation areas deemed suitable for CA viticulture: the Central Coast was determined to not have soil suitable for producing wine worthy of storage. You open the bottle and the wine will last about 1-hour. The only true appellation/viticulture areas were Napa, small parts of Mendicino and Sonoma Counties, and one or two other areas and that's it.

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  2. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/1/08
    Okay all you conspiratists, first – you all are right…it is sad these people were assaulted…no one should be treated that way or abused.

    However, to accuse the COPS of trying to burry this investigation is laughable. Next Blackburn will be reporting there is a conspiracy between Satan and God to send people to hell…some sort of quota.

    The people in our County pretty much live in a gang free environment (if you doubt this – take a trip to San Jose or Fresno) this is likely due, in part, to the COPS taking an active roll in gang supression.

    In addition, to think every crime is going to solved, especially the ones involving drunks, no outside witnesses, etc…isnt reasonable. But, I'll play along for good humor…keep the paranoia coming.

    Oh ya, I almost forgot. Sounds like Who's Policing the Police has an axe to grind. Maybe a little bitter or threatened. Businesses are failing and people are filing BK all over the country…its to bad the PR Chief's business got sucked up too.
    By: Anonymous on 8/1/08
    Way to bring it back to the topic at hand. Although all the other unrelated typewritten banter was quite entertaining.
    By: Anonymous on 8/1/08
    Robert, Please tell us what is going on with the police investigation. Heve you heard anything? Have they started trying to find these guys? Please keep us informed.
    By: Anonymous on 8/1/08
    I feel sorry for those involved. Having to listen to John Mayer AND getting beat up in the same day. That's just not fair fare.
    By: Anonymous on 8/1/08
    When will people wake the hell up? Gang members are nothing more than terrorists…..I don't care what their race or nationality is. I remember growing up in Santa Maria in the 1980's….it was a safe place to grow up. How about now? You would have to be nuts to go out at night in certain parts of that town! It's got nothing to do with race….It has to do with parenting. If my son was hanging around with
    gang members, I think I would do something about it. Why don't their parents? Make it a crime to be in a street gang and throw these dirtbags in jail where they belong! Enough is enough….I've heard too many times of incidents like this on the central coast. Imagine what doesn't get reported….scary.
    By: Anonymous on 7/31/08
    If the chief of police and her husband are this irresponsible they shouldn't be working in government positions. They are financially irresponsible and should not be in charge of any tax payers financail decisions,such as budgets, etc. This is something that should be looked into to see if it's true.

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