The victims — ranging in age from a 72-year-old grandmother to a 10-month old baby — were shot execution style at their home in Goshen in Tulare County, California.
“Who goes into a house and massacres a bunch of people?” said Tulare County resident Patty Guseman. “Who does that?”
Earlier this week, Tulare Couny Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said the attack was clearly targeted and that there were gang and drug associations at the home.
Two weeks ago, law enforcement had raided the residence and found guns as well as, methamphetamine.
Boudreaux says investigators are looking for at least two known suspects. It remains unclear if the incident is related to a drug cartel dispute, although Boudreaux said he’s not ruling out the possibility.
If the gruesome killings are at the hands of a cartel, they underscore the drug organizations’ growing influence in the United States.
U.S. counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo the U.S. military may ultimately have to step in and help Mexican authorities target the gangs operating along the southwest border.
“The Mexicans are turning less to federal police and more to military to go after cartels because federal police is corrupt,” said Mudd. “If you want the Americans to help, then you’re going to have to get the American military more involved in Mexico.”
Earlier this month, a Mexican cartel leader known as “El Gato” who is wanted in the U.S. for allegedly orchestrating a 2013 ambush at a Southlake, Texas, shopping center was arrested in Mexico City.
José Rodolfo Villareal-Hernandez, also known as “El Gato,” has been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list since Oct. 2020.
And just this week, notorious drug kingpin “El Chapo” sent a request to Mexico’s president asking to be returned to his home country.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is currently serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison in Colorado for drug trafficking, money laundering and other weapons related offenses, is pleading to finish his sentence in Mexico.
Guzman cited “psychological torment” he’s allegedly suffering in the U.S. as his reason for returning to Mexico. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he will review the request.
Back in Tulare County, officials said they have gathered hundreds of pieces of evidence and gleaned useful information from three survivors of the attack.
Authorities are expected to hold another press conference with updates next week.