Heartbreaking images show a 16-year-old mother lovingly cuddling her baby boy, the same position they were in when they were among six people executed in California by suspected cartel hitmen.
Officials and family said mom Alissa Parraz was still clutching her 10-month-old son Nycholas Nolan Parraz when they were discovered in a ditch outside the shot-up home in Goshen early Monday.
Both had been shot in the head while fleeing what the local sheriff described as a “cartel-style execution” at a house raided on a narcotics-related warrant just a week before.
“I can’t wrap my head around what kind of monster would do this,” said the baby’s great-grandfather, Samuel Pina.
“I can’t understand who can just kill a baby like that. … How can someone be a monster and do that? I cannot comprehend it,” he told KFSN.
Officials said that the young mom was 17, but her own mom said her “beautiful daughter” was only 16.
“My heart is broken I am lost for words,” Shyla Pina wrote in a series of heartbreaking posts., saying she “never got to meet in person” her “handsome grandson.”
Parraz and her baby had been living with her father’s side of the family in Goshen, according to Samuel Pina, and her father’s uncle, her father’s cousin, and her grandmother and great-grandmother were also killed.
One of the elderly women had also been shot in the head, seemingly “shot in her sleep,” Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux told the Los Angeles Times.
Two unidentified women survived by hiding in a trailer on the property, officials told the L.A. Times.
They then told investigators that at least two men were seen on surveillance cameras “sneaking onto the property… But by the time they arrived, it was too late to do anything,” Boudreaux explained.
The “manner and swiftness” of the attacks suggested experienced killers, according to the sheriff.
“If [they] are specifically shooting everyone in the head, they know what they are doing… “[and] they’re at ease with what they’re doing,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
“I think it’s specifically connected to the cartel,” he said, without naming a specific organization.
“The level of violence … this was not your run-of-the-mill, low-end gang member,” he said.
“We believe this is very targeted. This is very personal and we also believe this is a message being sent,” the sheriff told KFSN.
Officers initially assumed they were dealing with an active shooter because so many shots were fired. At least one of the six killed was alive when they arrived, succumbing to his injuries later.
One neighbor told the L.A. Times that he heard “on and off shots” and the sound of a car speeding away — which he believes was the killers “chasing people.”
“Basically hunting,” he said.
Goshen is a semi-rural community of about 3,000 residents 35 miles southeast of Fresno. Tulare County Supervisor Eddie Valero called the carnage “everyone’s worst nightmare.”
“These senseless acts of violence, especially with infants, children and young adults, have no place in our communities,” Valero said in a statement.
Friends mourned the “beautiful angels” who were “taken far too soon.”
“My heart aches this morning as the world lost these beautiful souls,” one friend wrote of the “so stunning and beautiful” young mom and her “sweetest boy.”