Suspect arrested in double homicide near Othello

Tri-City HeraldJuly 12, 2013 

— A Connell man could face first-degree murder charges after he was arrested for allegedly killing his nephew and another man, possibly over work hours.

Authorities arrested Francisco A. Rizo, 31, on Thursday in Connell in connection with the double homicide, said Adams County Sheriff Doug Barger.

Rizo is being held in the Adams County jail.

Juan Luis Rizo-Torres, 39, and Rueben Gonzalez-Navarrete, 29, were found dead Tuesday in a car in an apple orchard near Othello, Barger said. Both men were shot several times, say officials.

Rizo-Torres is Rizo’s nephew, Barger said.

“It appears a lot of the people involved are related somehow,” he said.

The two victims worked in the orchards near West Bench Road, and the shooting may have stemmed from an argument over work hours, Barger said.

Authorities believe a physical fight broke out among the victims and another relative, whose name was not released, Barger said.

Rizo came to the orchard shortly after the fight and allegedly shot the victims with a small-caliber handgun, Barger said.

Rizo -- who doesn’t work in the orchards -- then took off in a SUV.

“This was a fight that we believe escalated quickly that day,” Barger said. “There’s no indication that this was an ongoing dispute.”

Witnesses and relatives spoke with authorities and helped link Rizo to the shooting, Barger said. There also may be a witness to the shooting.

Authorities arrested Rizo at an apartment with out any problems, Barger said. The sheriff’s office is waiting on a search warrant to search the SUV Rizo drove from the scene.

The handgun used in the shooting has not been found, Barger said.

An autopsy on both victims is scheduled Friday.

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