The day after revealing authorities suspected gang involvement in a “massacre” that killed six — including a teenage mother and her infant son — a California sheriff revealed the gruesome manner of their deaths in a follow-up press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“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,” said Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.
For Boudreaux, the style of shooting was “similar to high ranking gang affiliations in the style of execution.”
“We have since learned through forensics that it was clear that the shooters sit over the top of the 16-year-old mother and fired rounds into her head,” Boudreaux said. “The 10-month-old infant also suffered from the same attack.”
“None of this was by accident,” he added. “It was deliberate. intentional and horrific.”
‘Assassination-Style to the Head’
The sheriff previously had been quoted as describing the shootings as “cartel-style,” but he clarified those remarks on Tuesday.
“Make no mistake: I’m not saying that this is a cartel but also be clear that I am not eliminating that possibility,” the sheriff said.
Boudreaux added that autopsies of the bodies have begun, and he may release their results at a follow-up news conference.
“I’ve been with the sheriff’s office for 36 years,” Boudreaux said, adding that work has given him numerous encounters with “our ugly world.”
“This is one of the most egregious that I have seen,” the sheriff added. “However I have seen many very similar to it. What I have not seen is the very apparent murder of a 10-month-old child for no reason. What I have not seen is the very clear assassination-style to the head of a teenage mother; that I have not seen.”
Initial reports suggested that the mother was 17 years old, but authorities now believe that she was 16 years old. Her son, initially believed to be six months old, was actually 10 months old.
‘Not a Random Act of Violence’
In the early morning hours on Monday, deputies received reports of multiple shots fired at a home in the 6800 Block of Harvest Road in Goshen, California, a small census-designated place with a population of just more than 2,300 people.
The sheriff said that the call came in at 4 a.m. local time on Monday, and deputies arrived seven minutes later.
“When they arrived, Deputies immediately noticed two victims dead in the street,” the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. “Deputies then found a third shooting victim in the doorway of the home. As Deputies searched the area, they found multiple victims at the scene. At this point, there are six total victims.”
At the time of their arrival, the sheriff’s office says, one victim had been alive and was whisked to the hospital. All of them were ultimately pronounced dead.
On Monday, Sheriff Boudreaux told reporters that his office had identified “at least two suspects at this point.”
“We also believe that this is not a random act of violence,” Boudreaux told reporters at Monday’s conference. “We believe that this was a targeted family. We believe that there are gang associations involved in this scene, as well as potential narcotics investigations.”
‘Massacring an Entire Family’
At his first press conference, Boudreaux had disclosed at the time that detectives with his office conducted a narcotics search warrant at the victims’ home on week before the shootings. He ended his press conference suggesting that he could release further details in the near future.
“Currently, we have our crime lab that’s on scene,” he said. “Our forensics unit is on scene. We have our gang detectives as well as our homicide detectives, and we’ve pulled out all resources to begin the investigation. I do have more information, but I’m not at liberty to discuss at this point. We have potential information, which will hopefully lead to potential suspects or will lead to suspects.”
On Tuesday, Boudreaux said that those resources have gone national.
“I received phone calls within hours from the ATF, FBI, Homeland Security, DEA, Department of Justice and the California Department of Corrections,” he said. “Every one of them called within hours offered resources and assistance.”
The sheriff’s office asked the public’s help by announcing the tip line at 559-733-6218, announcing a $10,000 reward for information leading the suspects’ arrest.
Boudreaux said that the “shocking” nature of the crime led to a wide outpouring from the public and federal law enforcement.
“I have to tell you I’m receiving phone calls from all across the country,” he said. “Federal law enforcement people just are concerned. It’s shocking. It’s shocking that we live in a community where this type of danger exists.”
Still, he said: “Going in and massacring an entire family goes above and beyond. That’s why I continue to focus back on a high level gang-style and cartel-style execution.”
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