Two gang members were arrested early Friday, one after a gun battle, in the January massacre of six people including a baby at a central California home associated with a rival gang, the Tulare County sheriff said.
Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Noah David Beard, 25, was taken into custody and Angel “Nanu” Uriarte, 35, was wounded in the shootout with federal agents and was undergoing surgery, but was stable and expected to survive.
“I’m happy we were able to put these two men behind bars,” the sheriff said.
The suspects and members of the victims’ family have a long history of gang violence but the motive for the shooting “is not exactly clear,” Boudreaux said at a news conference at the sheriff’s headquarters in Visalia.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office charged both suspects with six counts of murder and other crimes. They face a potential sentence of the death penalty or life in prison without parole, prosecutors said.
The six victims, including a teen mother and her baby, were gunned down on Jan. 16 in rural Goshen, a community of 3,000 in the San Joaquin Valley.
Authorities said both suspects had been under around-the-clock surveillance since Jan. 23 in a massive investigation that culminated in Friday’s arrests and involved sheriff’s detectives, prosecutors, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other law enforcement agencies.
Search warrants were served at locations in Goshen and Visalia, and about eight inmate cells associated with the Nuestra Familia prison gang were searched in five state prisons, Boudreaux said.
He said sheriff’s authorities waited until they had DNA evidence to make the arrests to bolster the case. No further details of the evidence were provided.
Both suspects had prior run-ins with the law. Uriarte was convicted in 2015 of assault with a firearm in association with a street gang, and Beard had juvenile convictions, prosecutors said in the court filing.
The victims were identified as: Rosa Parraz, 72; Eladio Parraz, Jr., 52; Jennifer Analla, 49; Marcos Parraz, 19; Alissa Parraz, 16; and Nycholas Parraz, 10 months.
A surveillance video released by authorities Friday showed a teenage girl running outside and placing a baby on the other side of a fence, then jumping over it herself. Authorities said Beard shot and killed the teen and baby, who were both found dead in the street, shot in the back of the head.
Among the adult victims was a woman who was found kneeling and shot in the head, authorities said.
The sheriff has said Alissa Parraz had just been awarded full custody of her son after he spent months in the foster care system. The two were reunited on Jan. 13 – three days before they were killed.
The shooting was reported by a woman who called 911 during the violence. She is heard on a recording released by authorities frantically telling a dispatcher that her boyfriend was shot and that the shooters were still there.
“They’re coming back,” she said. “Please hurry, please!”
The Goshen killings were part of a violent and deadly month in California.
On Jan. 21, a shooting at Monterey Park dance hall killed 11 and wounded nine. The gunman later killed himself. On Jan. 23, shootings at two Half Moon Bay farms killed seven and wounded one before the suspect was arrested.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition