Six people—including a six-month-old baby—were murdered by a gunman shooting at a house in California’s main agricultural valley on Monday evening.
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux linked the killings to the illegal drug trade, saying deputies had previously performed a drug-related search warrant at the exact same residence last week.
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“We believe this was a message being sent,” Boudreaux told reporters at the scene. “We believe that this was a targeted family.”
He further added that as many as two suspects in the killing incident remained at large.
Authorities arrived at the scene early on Monday to track a number of shootings. Some victims were found on the roads and others were in the house.
When law enforcement arrived at the scene, one victim was still alive and severely injured, but he later died at a health facility, Boudreaux explained.
According to the detail, the mass killing attacks occurred in Goshen, a small town in southwestern California with a population of approximately 5,400.
The bodies of the infant and 17-year-old mother were found in the ditch outside the home, Boudreaux later told the Associated Press. The details said that both had gunshot wounds to the head.
Several people were shot in the head during the incident, including an elderly woman. Two women survived by hiding inside a trailer on the premises.
“I think it’s specifically connected to the cartel. The level of violence … this was not your run-of-the-mill low-end gang member,” Boudreaux told the newspaper.