Man fatally shot in Phoenix after fight with stranger

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police said a 24-year-old man was fatally shot after an altercation with an unknown male late Friday night.

Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Martos said Nicholas Salazar was riding in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by his girlfriend when he was shot by a male near 35th Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

"There was smoke and blood everywhere," Salazar's girlfriend, Christina Harmon, told 3TV. "I looked back and it was all over my kid."

Harmon said their 3-year-old son was riding in the backseat when Salazar was shot.

"I don't know who could be so heartless to straight murder a father in front of his kid," said Salazar's friend Harley Hochheimer.

Harmon said it all began when she and Salazar were getting food near 43rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

"Nick said he'd seen him at Jack in the Box or whatever, and then he started circling Nick," she recalled. "And then he came up to him and he's all, 'What are you looking at?' Like, 'Do you know me?' "

She said Salazar told her about the confrontation as she was buckling up her son in the vehicle.

"We were pulling out of Shell's, and right when we were pulling out, the guy pulls up next to us in the truck and just starts, you know, flipping him off and talking crap to him," Harmon said. "Right when we turn, the guy comes out with this double-barrel shotgun, and he's pointing it at me and my kid."

Martos said the man stopped his vehicle in front of the couple's vehicle and walked over to the passenger side where Salazar was seated.

"As I put my car in reverse, he comes up and starts hitting (Salazar) in the head with a shotgun, repeatedly on the side," Harmon said. "Right when we turned, he shot him in the side with a shotgun."

Harmon drove Salazar to a hospital near 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road around 10 p.m., but he was pronounced dead while still inside the vehicle.

Harmon and her son were not injured, but she said she is traumatized and heartbroken.

"It's just hard knowing my kid doesn't have a dad anymore," she said.

The shooter fled the scene. It is unknown if there were other people in his vehicle.

Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.