After a predawn gun battle and a series of raids across Tulare County, authorities said Friday they had arrested two men accused of killing six people, including a teen mother and her baby, in an execution-style massacre that stunned the Central Valley farm town of Goshen last month.
The suspects were identified as Noah David Beard, 25, of Visalia and Angel "Nanu" Uriarte, 35, of Goshen, both Norteño gang members, according to the Tulare County Sheriff's Office.
Uriarte engaged in a gun battle with federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives early Friday and was wounded before being taken into custody, officials said. Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Uriarte, who is likely to face federal charges in the assault of a federal officer, was undergoing surgery at a hospital and is expected to survive.
Investigators identified Beard as the suspect accused of killing the 16-year-old mother and her baby.
During the news conference, Boudreaux played a grainy surveillance video showing the young mother fleeing with her son moments before they were killed.
The video shows 16-year-old Alissa Parraz running across a dark driveway with her baby in her arms toward a locked chain-link gate blocking the street. Unable to escape, she hoists her baby over a nearby wooden fence and lowers him onto something on the other side before running across the driveway and vaulting over the chain-link fence.
Moments later, a man walks toward them. He raises his right arm, a dark shadow of a gun visible in his hand, then the video cuts off. Both mother and child were shot in the back of the head, Boudreaux said.
In audio from a 911 call played during the news conference, a woman inside the house is heard crying and pleading.
"They shot my boyfriend. They keep shooting outside," she says. "I don't know if they are still here. I'm scared. ... Please hurry, please. I don't know where they are now - [gasp] - they're still shooting."
"They're still shooting?" asks the dispatcher.
"Yes," the woman answers. "Hurry please. They're coming back. They're coming back. They're back."
"Who's coming back?"
"The guys," the woman says. "Do you hear them? Someone else is screaming now."
Shots are heard on the recording.
"That's them," the woman says, gasping. "They're shooting in the house."
The woman on the 911 call survived the attack by hiding in a trailer, Boudreaux said.
Eladio Parraz Jr., 52, was killed first, followed by Marcos Parraz, 19, and Jennifer Analla, 50, who was shot in her sleep, the sheriff said. Rosa Parraz, 72, was shot in the head while on her knees just beside her bed. Alissa Parraz and her 10-month-old son, Nycholas, were the last to die.
"This family was targeted by cold-blooded killers," Boudreaux said.
The Tulare County district attorney's office has charged Beard and Uriarte with six counts of murder and a series of special allegations, including committing the murders to further activities of a criminal street gang.
Some members of the Parraz family were Sureño gang members, Boudreaux said, adding that Goshen is considered rival Norteño territory. Beyond that information, the sheriff said investigators had not identified any motive in the slayings.
Evidence that led to the suspects' arrests came in part thanks to DNA analysis, which was expedited by ATF labs in Maryland, Boudreaux said. The suspects had been under constant surveillance since Jan. 23, he said.
"We knew every move they were making," Boudreaux said. "We had them under our wing where we wanted them." The public, he added, was never at risk.
The Tulare County Sheriff's Office dubbed the early morning raids "Operation Nightmare" and said they included search warrants served at three locations in Goshen and nearby Visalia, and at several state prisons, including North Kern, Corcoran, Folsom and Pelican Bay. In all, eight cells and 16 inmates linked to the Nuestra Familia prison gang were targeted.
The killings instilled fear in Goshen, an impoverished community in the San Joaquin Valley. In recent years, drug trafficking and gang violence have turned sparsely populated rural areas such as Goshen into some of the most violent places in California, but even so, the brutality of a family's massacre shocked the country, prompting people from as far as Maine to donate to a reward for the capture of the killers.
Federal law enforcement has been assisting the Sheriff's Office in its investigation, along with police departments in Visalia, Porterville and Woodlake. The investigation is ongoing, authorities noted Friday.
The morning after the killings, Boudreaux declared that the violence was likely the work of a drug cartel. Twenty-four hours later, he modulated that assertion slightly.
"I'm not saying this is a cartel," he said. "But I am not eliminating that possibility."
He also complained about what he termed a loose border.
As he announced the arrests Friday, Boudreaux said some of his earlier public statements had been designed to reach the suspects and further his investigation.
"We released information to the media on purpose," he said. "We mentioned cartels, we mentioned gang members up and down the state of California, the potential of them trying to get out of the country. [The suspects] felt we weren't focusing on them."
The sheriff also called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to reinstate the death penalty in this case and others in which children are killed.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
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