Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Springville man

Victor Hugo Contreras-Nathanson. Photo: Utah County Sheriff's Office

SPRINGVILLE, Utah, Sept. 24, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Police have identified a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Springville man in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Victor Hugo Contreras-Nathanson, 25, of Payson, is facing charges of murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a class A misdemeanor, in the death of Lazaro Morales, 29, according to a probable cause statement filed in Utah County by an officer with the Springville Police Department.

The victim was also identified as Lazaro A. Nieves by the Springville Department of Public Safety; however, the charging documents refer to him as Morales.

The affidavit of probable cause states that officers responded to the area of 1600 South and approximately 300 East at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday on a report of a deceased man, later identified as Lazaro Morales.

Morales was found under a train overpass, against the south wall, on his back and right side, “near what appeared to be fresh graffiti on the concrete wall,” the statement says.

Morales had what appeared to be several bullet wounds. There were also several areas where white paint was visible, including on the ground in possibly the outline of a car bumper, edge or fender.

Tire tracks of white paint were found near Morales and appeared to travel away from his body, the statement says.

Investigators learned that Morales had been with Victor Contreras on Sunday at about 12:30 a.m., an hour before Morales’ body was discovered.

Morales’ landlord told police that he saw Morales with a female and another male as they left Morales’ apartment at 12:30 a.m. in a dark maroon sedan.

On Monday, the probable cause statement says, officers found Contreras in Spanish Fork with a dark maroon 2013 Nissan Maxima that had white paint on its passenger side front and rear tires.

“Residents at the Spanish Fork address advised officers that Contreras had them clean the vehicle the previous day, and it took several hours to clean white paint from the passenger’s side of the vehicle,” the statement says.

According to the statement, Contreras admitted to officers that he had spent most of the day and evening with Morales at Morales’ residence smoking cocaine and meth, and drinking alcohol.

“According to Contreras, by 2200 hours he was so high, he couldn’t remember anything that happened after that,” the affidavit says.

Contreras was asked if he could have shot Morales, and he indicated it was possible, according to the affidavit.

Contreras was taken into custody and booked into the Utah County Jail with bail set at $250,000.


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