A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit allegedly murdered six members of his family in a Christmas massacre before killing himself, police in Grapevine, Texas said on Monday. The identities of the shooter and the victims have not yet been released, but police officials said it appears they were all related.
Grapevine, TX police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling said it appears the family has been opening Christmas presents at the Lincoln Vineyards apartment complex when a relative dressed in a Santa opened fire. The shooter allegedly killed everyone in the apartment during the Christmas massacreÂ before turning the gun on himself. Four women and three men, reportedly between the ages of 18 and 60 (although some reports have stated at least one victim was younger), were found dead in the kitchen and living room area of the apartment.
“It appears they had just celebrated Christmas. They had opened their gifts,” Sgt. Eberling said in a press statement. The apartment was decked out for the holidays, he added, including a decorated Christmas tree. Police are unsure if the shooter had been present for some time or had just arrived before he began shooting.
Police arrived on scene after receiving a 911 call. The call was open-ended with no one on the other end of the line. “There was an open line. No one was saying anything,” Sgt. Eberling said. On arriving, all the victims were deceased, apparently of gunshot wounds. Two handguns were found near the bodies.
Grapevine Police Lt. Todd Dearing said all of the victims appear to have been related, but not all of them lived in the apartment. According to police the apartment complex was relatively empty at the time of the shooting and no one has reported hearing gunshots. According to police, this was the first homicide in Grapevine, Texas since 2010. A possible motive for the shootings is still unknown.
â€œSeven people in one setting in Grapevine, thatâ€™s never happened before. Ever,â€ Dearing said.
“We’re waiting on the autopsy report and for the medical examiner’s office to contact next of kin and confirm identities,” Sgt. Eberling said. “Hopefully by the end of the day or tomorrow morning, we should know a bit more.”
This is a sad, terrible tragedy any time of the year, but on Christmas it is especially horrific. The whole idea of a killer Santa taking out a whole family is more like something out of a badÂ CSI episode, not something that could actually happen in real life.