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Transient wanted for murder in Victorville arrested after attempted murder in Auburn

VICTORVILLE, Calif. ( — A transient wanted for the murder of a 34-year-old man inside the Shady Oasis Kampground in Victorville was arrested after shooting a church caretaker during a burglary in Auburn, California.

On Monday, June 21, 2021, at approximately 12:59 p.m., deputies from the Victorville Police Department responded to the 16500 block of Stoddard Wells Road following the report of a deceased male found at the location. 

Deputies arrived and located the victim, later identified as Travis Payment, deceased in front of his trailer.

During the investigation, homicide investigators learned that the victim was seen earlier in the day with a Hispanic male known only as “Smokey.”  Investigators identified 25-year-old John Waninger as the suspect and issued an arrest warrant for murder.

On Friday, June 25, homicide investigators received information from the Placer County Sheriff’s Department in Auburn that deputies had arrested John Waninger for attempted murder. 

According to a CBS Sacramento news article, Waninger shot at a church caretaker during an apparent burglary attempt. Waninger fled into the woods and was located with the help of a K9 unit from the Elk Grove Police Department.


Investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department traveled to Placer County and interviewed Waninger. They said he will remain in custody in Auburn and will be extradited to San Bernardino County at a later date.  

Sheriff’s officials said no additional information is available for release at this time. The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information or anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact Detective Jonathan Cavender, Specialized Investigations Division – Homicide Detail, at (909) 387-3589.

Callers can remain anonymous and contact WeTip at 800-78CRIME or

(John Waninger, age 25, a transient — booking photo//CBS Sacramento Twitter)

Related Article: Man shot and killed inside Shady Oasis Kampground in Victorville

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