"In all accounts he was just an innocent person, sitting on the porch, having some beers with friends," said Lt. Thomas Ulrich of the Vineland Police Department.
Ulrich says it was around 2:00 a.m. when John Ramirez, 25, and another man robbed Contreras and his friends of $60 and a cell phone. Then Contreras was shot in the head.
Ramirez is in custody on $750,000 bail. The other man remains at large.
Contreras worked in construction and had a wife and four children in Mexico. His friend, Rosario Vasquez, was his friend and came from the same region of Mexico.
She had to call his wife with the sad news. She also knew Contreras wanted to go home soon.
"He was planning to go to Mexico in November to stay with his family," Vasquez said.
Ulrich says police had been called to the area just before the killing by a cab driver.
"He felt that they were trying to rob him, and/or his fare. So he left the area and when he left the area he called police," said Lt. Ulrich.
Ramirez, who's also known as "John-John" or "King Bliss" is an admitted gang member. After the shooting, police say he ran to a nearby house where he was arrested.
There is only a vague description of the second man. Still, there is a reward for his capture and conviction.
Crime Stoppers of Vineland is offering a reward of up to $1,000.
Friends of Contreras have put up donation boxes around the neighborhood trying to raise money for a funeral.
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