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‘Cartel members’ sneak into home then execute mum and baby with bullets to head

A six-month-old baby and five others have been killed in a brutal slaying thought to have been carried out by dangerous cartel members.

The baby's teenage mum and an elderly woman were also among those murdered during Monday's (January 16) attack, which took place in and around a home in California.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said the violence was not consistent with a "low-end gang member" and identified cartel members were likely responsible – but stopped short of identifying a particular organisation.

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“I think it’s specifically connected to the cartel,” Boudreaux told The Los Angeles Times.

“The level of violence … this was not your run-of-the-mill, low-end gang member.”

The killing occurred around 3.30am in the town of Goshen, Tulare County, with a sheriff's deputy having attended the scene after receiving reports of gunfire.

Several of the victims, including the baby, were shot in the head, Boudreaux added.

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The officer who attended the scene found the baby in her 17-year-old mother's arms.

Both had gunshot wounds to the head and had been left in a ditch.

Authorities are looking for two suspects in connection with the killings, and believe the murders may have been related to a search warrant that was carried out at the property last week that resulted in one arrest and the seizure of guns, cannabis and methamphetamine.

Investigators have not released the names or descriptions of the suspects.

Not all the names or ages of the victims have been released, but authorities said it appeared some were from the same family.

An elderly woman found dead in a bed also had a gunshot wound in her head.

“It appeared she was shot in her sleep,” Boudreaux said.

Three men were also killed. One was alive when authorities got to the home and was given CPR before being rushed to hospital.

Unfortunately, he promptly died of his injuries upon arrival.

One of the victims may have been the man arrested last week at the same address, although it is unclear at this point, Boudreaux added.

DNA testing will be performed to identify at least one of the male victims after his face was severely damaged in the gunfire.

Two women survived the attack by hiding in a trailer on the property, away from the violence.

The pair told investigators that intruders could be seen approaching the home on CCTV.

“They could see two men sneaking onto the property … but by the time they came on [the video feed], it was too late to do anything,” Boudreaux said.

When authorities arrived at the scene, they found the front door of the property had been kicked or pushed in.

One man was shot in the doorway. It appeared the teenage mother was trying to run away with her child when they were killed, Boudreaux added.

The sheriff added that the "manner and swiftness" of the attacks hinted that the killers knew what they were doing.

“If [they] are specifically shooting everyone in the head, they know what they are doing … [and] they are comfortable with what they are doing,” he said.

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