(NEW YORK) — Six relatives were gunned down at a central California home in what the sheriff called a targeted and likely gang-related attack.
Among those killed in the “horrific massacre” Monday morning were a 16-year-old mom and a 10-month-old baby, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux told reporters. Both were shot in the head, he said.
Authorities believe the shooters stood on top of the teenager and fired rounds into her head, Boudreaux said at a news conference Tuesday. Her murder was “assassination-style” and “egregious,” the sheriff said.
The other slain victims were ages 19, 49 and 52, as well as a 72-year-old grandmother, who was sleeping in her bed, Boudreaux said at the news conference.
Three people survived the mass shooting in the farming community of Goshen, the sheriff said. The 911 call around 4 a.m. came from one of the survivors who was hiding as the gunfire erupted inside the home, the sheriff said.
“He put his feet up against the door and laid as flat as he could hoping no one would come in,” the sheriff said. The gunmen “rattled the doorknob” but didn’t come in, he said.
Police are searching for two known suspects, and possibly a third, the sheriff said. No arrests have been made.
“We believe that this was a targeted family,” the sheriff said.
“This was very personal,” Boudreaux said. “We also believe that it was a message being sent.”
“These people were clearly shot in the head and they were also shot in places that the shooter would know that quick death would occur,” the sheriff said.
“What took place is very much like what we’ve seen in the past when it comes to execution by cartel,” he added.
Authorities “believe there are gang associations involved in this scene, as well as potential narcotics investigations,” Boudreaux said.
One week ago, the sheriff’s office conducted narcotics search warrants at the house, he said.
The sheriff added, “Not all the people in this home were gang members” and not all were drug dealers.
Authorities are asking the public for help, though the sheriff said, “I know a lot … a lot I can’t tell you.”
He said he was being careful with what he released so he will not alert the suspects.
A $10,000 reward is available for information that moves the case forward, according to authorities.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.