At least three people survived the massacre Monday that left six people — all family members — dead in this small Tulare County community, where authorities are asking the public for more information to identify what they say are two attackers.
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Tuesday that the survivors, who hid during the shooting rampage, are “providing a great deal of information” to investigators, but authorities have not made any arrests. The massacre left a teenage mother, her baby, her grandmother and three other family members dead, officials said.
Just after 3:30 a.m. Monday, deputies found the 16-year-old teen mom, identified as Elyssa Parraz, lying dead in a ditch with her 10-month-old baby. Boudreaux had said earlier that she was running from the ambush when she and her baby were fatally shot in the head. New forensic evidence determined she and her baby — Nycholas Parraz — were killed as shooters stood over them, firing multiple rounds, he said.
“None of this was by accident — it was deliberate, intentional and horrific,” Boudreaux said. “We have a grandma who was shot and killed while she was sleeping in her bed, we have a 16-year-old female trying to protect her infant. … It’s tragic and I haven’t seen anything like this in years.”
Boudreauxwalked back statements he made Monday that the attack was the work of a drug cartel, saying Tuesday afternoon that it was possible the attack was gang or cartel activity, or a combination of both. While he didn’t name a specific criminal organization, he said the killings were “much like what we’ve seen in the past when it comes to execution by a cartel.”
He noted the efficiency of the ambush, saying the attackers knew where to aim for a lethal shot and that they were “long gone” when deputies arrived just seven minutes after the first 911 call.
The Tulare County sheriff’s deputies who arrived at the Goshen home early Monday found the door forced open. One of the victims was alive when deputies arrived, but died at the hospital. Another lay dead on the threshold of the door to a trailer on the property.
One of the survivors hid inside the home while shots broke out in the rooms and hallways around him, Boudreaux said, while two others hid in the trailer.
The remaining victims were identified Tuesday as 72-year-old Rosa Parraz, who officials said was found in bed also shot in the head, Marco Parraz, 19, Eladio Parraz Jr., 52, and Jennifer Analla, 50. Analla was a girlfriend of one of the survivors, Boudreaux said. (Authorities on Monday shared the incorrect ages for Elyssa Parraz and her baby.)
Boudreaux asked for help from the public in the investigation, requesting that neighbors, business owners and anyone in the area of the shooting check for video footage from early Monday, and share anything suspicious with law enforcement. Officials announced a $10,000 reward for information that would help move the investigation forward.
“We’re pulling out all stops, we’re turning over every rock,” Boudreaux said.
The home where the massacre occurred was a “known home to our department” for gang violence, Boudreaux said, but he called Rosa Parraz, her granddaughter and great-grandson “innocent victims.” He mentioned that deputies had found guns, marijuana and methamphetamine at the home Jan. 3, following a parole compliance. They arrested Eladio Parraz, Jr. after that search, but said that was not related to this massacre, nor was he its intended target.
Investigators are searching for at least two suspects, though no description has been given.
“I cannot comprehend it,” the teen mother’s grandfather told ABC 30 News. “I can’t understand who can just kill a baby like that. I can’t wrap my head around it. How can someone be a monster and do that?”
The slayings have stunned the quiet town of Goshen, a mostly Latino community of about 5,000just outside Visalia, and brought a wave of fear to the area. Since at least the 1970s, Tulare County has played an outsized role in the transnational drug trade between Mexico and U.S. markets, which has repeatedly brought violence to the Central Valley county.
Trepidation among residents seemed to build since Monday morning, as news of the massacre sank in. Three different neighbors approached a Times reporter covering the massacre, asking for him to move his unfamiliar car from near their home. All declined to identify themselves, though one explained that they didn’t want a local gang to think they had spoken to the police.
Three Tulare County sheriff cruisers sat parked in the middle of Harvest Avenue — the street where the killings occurred — Tuesday morning, which remained blocked between Ivy Road and Road 68.The street’s homes were fenced with chain link in a mostly industrial area bordering the busy State Route 99. A trailer manufacturing company sits a block away, along with a landscaping warehouse; multiple tire and mechanic shops dot the community.
Mike Alrahimi, owner of a nearby general store around the block from the site of Monday’s shooting, said he was saddened to hear of the massacre.
“I feel bad for the family, for the neighborhood,” Alrahimi, 65, said. “Everyone is sad.”
Alrahimi doesn’t know the family but suspects they’ve come into his store at one point. He overheard neighbors chatting about the family Tuesday, but said nothing so violent has happened in the neighborhood in the 39 years he has lived in the area.