Joel Paniagua: Loyal friend

Paniagua loved dancing, tacos

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 31, was a man his friends described as loyal.

The landscaping crew foreman lived in the Tampa area and was a native of Veracruz, Mexico, where much of his family still lives.

Paniagua was one of 49 people killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

His family was granted special visas to be able to have a funeral in the U.S. and take his body to be buried back home.

Paniagua’s brother told NPR that Paniagua loved to dance, and loved tacos de pollo.

Another brother said one of Paniagua’s favorite sayings was, “You have to live everyday like it’s your last.”

A funeral mass was held June 18 for Panigan at Resurrection Catholic Church in Winter Garden.


About the Author:

Tara Evans is an executive producer and has been with News 6 since January 2013. She currently spearheads News 6 at Nine and specializes in stories with messages of inspiration, hope and that make a difference for people -- with a few hard-hitting investigations thrown in from time to time.