Crime

$3M bail set for this Pasco gang member's alleged execution-style killing

Victor A. Paniagua, 27, makes a first appearance in Franklin County Superior Court before Judge Cameron Mitchell. Paniagua is charged with murder and felony assault in a June 3, 2018 shooting.
Victor A. Paniagua, 27, makes a first appearance in Franklin County Superior Court before Judge Cameron Mitchell. Paniagua is charged with murder and felony assault in a June 3, 2018 shooting.

A known Pasco gang member faces a murder charge for allegedly gunning down a man at his front door Sunday afternoon.

Victor Alfonso Paniagua, 27, is being held at the Franklin County jail on $3 million bail in the death of Abel Yanez Contreras, 47.

Paniagua initially was booked into the jail on suspicion of second-degree murder.

He now faces a first-degree murder charge, as well as other felony crimes.

Prosecutors and police said Paniagua came to Contreras' home around 1 p.m. at 502 S. 22nd Ave.

Paniagua allegedly pointed a gun at the head of the person who answered the door, identified as Efren Gonzalez.

He then turned the gun on Contreras, also near the front door, and shot him once in the chest and once "execution-style."

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Victor Alfonso Paniagua Pasco Police Department


When Pasco police responded to Contreras' home, they found him dead in the doorway.

Detectives tracked Paniagua to the Tahitian Inn, 2724 W. Lewis St., and the Tri-City Regional SWAT team was called out. After a standoff Sunday afternoon at the inn, Paniagua walked out and surrendered.

Contreras and Paniagua apparently lived a few houses away from each other, said neighbors.

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A man was shot and killed at 502 S. 22nd Ave., Pasco, on June 3, 2018. Jake Dorsey jdorsey@tricityherald.com

Paniagua and Contreras both have criminal records.

Paniagua was involved in a 2010 Pasco case — later dismissed — in which a rival gang member was shot over rap music.

He later was convicted in 2011 in Benton County for a felony assault. Court records show he also was initially charged in November 2017 in Franklin County for being a felon in possession of a gun. That charge also was dropped.

Contreras was charged with starting several fires in Pasco in 2015.

At the time, Contreras said that he was upset with police for getting him kicked out of his home and leaving him to live on the street.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514
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