Phoenix police looking for clues in man’s 2016 death, apartment fire

Aug 23, 2021, 10:30 AM
Michael Bourassa died  in Phoenix on Labor Day Weekend 2016. (Silent Witness Photo)...
Michael Bourassa died in Phoenix on Labor Day Weekend 2016. (Silent Witness Photo)
(Silent Witness Photo)

This article originally appeared Sept. 19, 2016.

It’s 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 — Labor Day weekend. An apartment is burning near 43rd Avenue and Thunderbird Road.

“Phoenix police officers and the Phoenix Fire Department both responded to this call,” Police Sgt. Jamie Rothschild said. “They were able to make sure no one else in the apartment complex was injured.”

Three dogs were rescued from the burning apartment before first responders made a terrible discovery: the body of 35-year-old Michael Bourassa. It appears he was the victim of some kind of violence before the fire was set.

“When you have what is believed to be a violent encounter and you couple that with a fire inside the apartment, both the homicide investigators and the arson investigators work very closely on this case,” Rothschild said.

Bourassa went to Cortez High School in Phoenix and was very involved in his church. He loved all kinds of music, from rap to country, and liked reality TV shows such as “Brain Games,” “Fast N Loud” and “Duck Dynasty.”

Rothschild said it’s been tough for investigators to figure out exactly when and how Bourassa died because it’s possible that when the fire started he could have already been dead or he could have been injured and unable to escape.

Read more about this case here.

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Phoenix police looking for clues in man’s 2016 death, apartment fire