At least six people, including a mother and her 6-month-old baby, are dead after an “early morning massacre” Monday that authorities in Goshen, California say may be related to cartel activity.
Deputies who responded to reports of gunfire after 3:30 a.m. Monday found six victims, including two who were in the street and one who was in the doorway of the home where the shooting happened, Sheriff Mike Boudreau told reporters at the scene of the incident.
The mother, who is 17, and the child were shot in the head, he said. The other victims included at least one man who was taken to hospital but later pronounced dead.
The person who reported the shooting “thought there was an active shooter in the area due to the amount of gunshots being heard,” the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said in a new release.
“We have a family that was escorted from the scene, we have survivors,” Boudreau said, saying investigators have yet to determine how they survived what he said was a “horrific massacre.”
The attack does not appear to be a random act of violence, but may be related to gang activity, the sheriff’s office said, noting it comes a week after deputies executed a search warrant at the home for drugs.
While rival street gangs often engage in acts of violence in the area, investigators believe Monday’s massacre bears characteristics associated with a drug cartel, with an increased level of brutality and sophistication.
While investigators cannot confirm the shooters are from a cartel, the sheriff believes it appears to be a “cartel-style execution,” Tulare County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Ashley Schwarm told CNN on Monday.
Drug cartels have been known to engage in deadly violence, including deploying hit squads against perceived enemies and members of law enforcement who threaten their drug trafficking efforts.
Detectives are looking for at least two suspects, the sheriff’s office said.
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