Santa in Texas rampage

2011-12-27 07:13

Grapevine - A man dressed as Santa Claus stormed into a Texas apartment, opened fire and killed six family members who had just opened their Christmas presents before killing himself, police said on Monday.

"It was a traditional Christmas gathering, with a Christmas tree, and they had just completed opening their gifts, it appears, when the incident took place," Grapevine police spokesperson Sergeant Robert Eberling told AFP.

Police rushed to the apartment around midday on Sunday after receiving a 911 call with no one on the line.

"It was an open line, no one was responding on the other end," Eberling said. "The call was disconnected and we responded."

He said two handguns were found near the bodies and all seven people - aged 15 to 58 - were believed to have died from gunshot wounds. They were all found in a living room area of the two-story apartment. There were no survivors.

Police were waiting for autopsy results before releasing the names of the victims.

The deadly shooting shocked Grapevine, a usually quiet community near Fort Worth.

"It's never happened before," Eberling said, adding that the last homicides in Grapevine took place in 2010 and that most deadly accidents in the community were caused by drunk driving. "Rarely do we have murder."

The crime is reminiscent of a shooting three years ago outside Los Angeles, in which a man dressed in a red Santa suit burst into a Christmas Eve party at his former in-laws and opened fire, killing at least eight people before taking his own life.

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