A teenage mother and her 10-month-old baby were fatally shot in the head “assassination style” in an attack that left six people dead in central California.
Authorities received a call at 3.38am on Monday about multiple shots being fired at a residence in Goshen, a town some 170 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
Police said a gunman fired multiple rounds into the skull of 17-year-old Alissa Parraz and killed her child, Nycholas, as they tried to run away from the attack.
The other four victims, who are all related, ranged from 19 to 72 years old, including Ms Parazz’s grandmother who was shot as she slept.
Police are looking into whether a gang or drug cartel targeted the family and are on the hunt for two suspects.
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said a forensics investigation revealed that Ms Parrazz tried to run away but the gunman stood over her and fired multiple rounds at her.
He said: “It is very clear that this family was a target.
“None of this was by accident…It was deliberate, intentional and horrific,” he said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Home linked to gangs and drugs
He added that there was “no reason” for the gunmen to kill the young mother and her child.
Authorities said they were searching for two suspects and offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrests.
Mr Boudreaux said that the home is linked to gangs and drugs, but on Tuesday he walked back his earlier comments that the violence was likely a cartel hit, saying that investigators are still looking into that possibility.
The sheriff cited gang activity that occurred in the past at the home, but said not everyone who was shot was a drug dealer or gang member.
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Samuel Pina, Ms Parazz’s grandfather, said: “I can’t wrap my head around what kind of monster would do this.”
He said the teenager and her baby were living with her father’s side of the family and that her father’s uncle, her father’s cousin, her grandmother and her great-grandmother were also killed.
Three survived attack
The teenager, her grandmother and the baby are among the victims believed to be innocent.
The other four victims were: Rosa Parraz aged 72, Eladio Parraz, Jr. aged 52, Jennifer Analla, aged 49 and Marcos Parraz, aged 19.
Three people survived the attack and will be interviewed by police.
Mr Boudreaux said Mr Parazz Jr, a convicted felon, was not the “initially intended target” and declined to elaborate.
Goshen is a central California community of about 3,000 residents in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley.