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Two reputed gang members have been arrested in the “cold-blooded” cartel-style massacre of six people, including a teen mother and her 10-month-old baby, in a suspected turf battle between rival California prison-based gangs, the Tulare County sheriff said Friday.
At a news conference Friday, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said the arrests were a part of “Operation Nightmare” involving more than 100 local, state, and federal authorities.
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Police and agents raided four state prisons, and searched inmate cells connected to a Northern California prison gang, the sheriff said.
“As this operation nightmare began actually I had to hold my breath and say a little prayer for the safety of all officers that were engaged in this operation this morning,” he said.
The suspects were identified as Noah Beard, 25, and Angel “Nanu” Uriarte, 35.
Uriarte was shot by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents in a gun battle and was hospitalized. He was expected to survive, the sheriff said.
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The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office charged both suspects with six counts of murder and other crimes.
The shooting happened before dawn on Jan. 16 in Goshen, a community of 3,000 in the San Joaquin Valley.
All but one of the six victims were shot in the head. One was shot in her sleep. Another was killed when she woke up to the commotion. The bodies of the young mother and her baby were found shot in the back of the head in the street, the sheriff said.
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A motive remained unclear, but the sheriff said that the suspects were members of the Norteños, a Northern California gang, while two members of the Parraz family were well-known, validated members of the Sureños, the sheriff said.
Goshen, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is considered Norteño turf, the sheriff said.
As part of the police operation, authorities searched gang inmates and their cells at four state prisons across the state, the sheriff said.
“As this Operation Nightmare began I actually had to hold my breath and say a little prayer for the safety of all officers that were engaged in this operation this morning,” he said.
The sheriff described the horrific chain of events from that day.
Eladio Parraz, 52, was killed first, shot in the torso and leg. Marcos Parraz, 19, was shot second. Jennifer Analla, 49, was shot in the head in her sleep. Investigators believe Rosa Parraz, 72, was getting out of bed to check on the commotion when she was shot. She had been on her knees.
“All of it is disturbing,” the sheriff said. “But most emotionally is Alissa Parraz.”
The sheriff said the petite mother ran outside with her baby, placed him on the other side of a fence, then jumped over the fence to get away.
Alissa and Nycholas were found dead on the street. They had been shot in the back of the head, the sheriff said.
“This was clearly not a random act of violence,” the sheriff said. “This family was targeted by cold-blooded killers.”
The sheriff said that once investigators learned the identities of the suspects, they had them under constant surveillance 24 hours a day.
“We knew every move they were making,” he said. “The public was not at risk. We had them under our wing exactly where we wanted them.”
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