Jury acquits man accused of shooting 6-year-old Phoenix boy

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Erika Alvirena is a woman tormented by a single night that changed her family's life.

"It's a nightmare every day. Every single minute," she said.

It was a Wednesday in October 2010 when a group of gang bangers fired shots on her block. Police believed it was retaliation for some earlier fight.  A bullet went through the wall of Alvirena's home and into the chest of her sleeping son.

"He was nine hours in surgery," she said.

As Josel Flores, just 6 years old at the time, was fighting for his life, Phoenix police arrested a group of men involved in the shooting, including Freddy Payan, the alleged gunman.

Three months later Josel was out of the hospital. A year and four months later, Payan went to trial.

"More than 30 witnesses, detectives, his doctors, even four or five of the guys that said he was the one," Alvirena said.

But Tuesday morning a jury found Payan not guilty, and Alvirena learned her son will likely be the only one punished in this crime.

He's now 8 years old and doesn't remember much about that night, but his body is riddled with reminders. His mother wants someone to pay.

"I know it sounds bad but I want to do the same thing so that he can feel what my son feels. And so his family knows what I went through all this time," she said.

Payan faced charges of aggravated assault, endangerment, making threats, shooting at a building and being affiliated with a street gang. The jury found him not guilty on all counts.