Two suspects were taken into custody, one after a shootout, in a “cartel-style” massacre last month that left six people dead in central California, including a young mother and her 10-month-old son, authorities announced Friday.
The suspects, identified in charging documents as Angel Uriarte, 35, and Noah Beard, 25, are known members of the Norteño gang, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said during a news conference. He said the January 16 shooting was the likely result of a conflict with members of the Sureños, a rival gang.
“The suspects and the victims have a long history of gun violence, heavily active in guns, gang violence, gun violence, and narcotics dealings,” Boudreaux said, adding, “the motive is not exactly clear at this point.”
Authorities said Uriarte was injured in a shootout with ATF agents before he was taken into custody. He is hospitalized, and in stable condition, according to ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Joshua Jackson. Beard was taken into custody without incident.
Beard is accused of killing 16-year-old Alissa Parraz and her 10-month-old son, Nycholas, as they fled the overnight shooting at a home in Goshen, a farming community about 30 miles southeast of Fresno. Authorities showed surveillance video Friday showing the young mother lifting her son over a fence and climbing over. Both were found dead in the street outside the home.
Along with the mother and her son, the four other victims were identified as Marcos Parraz, 19; Eladio Parraz, 52; Alissa’s grandmother, Rosa Parraz, 72; and Jennifer Analla, 49.
Boudreaux said all the victims died of gunshot wounds, most were shot in the head, including the 10-month-old boy.
“This was clearly not a random act of violence. This family was targeted by coldblooded killers,” Boudreaux said.
The arrests were part of a multiagency effort dubbed Operation Nightmare, which included searches of several California prisons and 24/7 surveillance of the suspects over the last 10 days. DNA left at the scene was credited with quickly leading law enforcement to zero in on the pair.
Uriarte and Beard are each facing six counts of murder, according to Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward, along with enhancements relating to the use of a firearm, and that the acts were committed in participation of a criminal street gang. The suspects may eventually face the death penalty if convicted.
CNN is trying to determine if both suspects have legal representation.
The massacre came before a series of back-to-back mass shootings in California late last month, including an attack during a Lunar New Year Celebration in suburban Monterey Park, just west of Los Angeles. That shooting on January 21 left 11 people dead.
Another attack on January 23 left four dead at a California mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay. That night, another shooting, this time in Oakland, left one dead and seven others injured.