Shoemaker kills 10 in rampage

2003-08-27 15:17

Baghdad - A shoemaker killed his wife, four young children and six of his relatives before turning an assault rifle on himself, neighbours said on Wednesday.

"They were all shot in the head," said Salah Hassan, who lived two houses away, adding that he was the second person to arrive at the house after the shooting about 11:00 on Tuesday.

Hassan said he saw the bodies of three of the children in the kitchen, the mother and her baby in the bathroom, the six male relatives in another downstairs room and the father in the living room lying next to an AK-47 assault rifle.

He said it appeared the man had put the gun to his chin and shot himself through the head.

The two-storey house was locked on Wednesday, but the kitchen, the lounge and another room could be seen, all blood-spattered with thick, dark pools on the tiled floors, through the barred windows.

'He said everything was fine'

Hassan and other neighbours in the al-Bunugh district, east of central Baghdad, identified the dead man as Abdul Emir Khalaf.

Hassan's mother, Um Falah, said her grandchildren who were playing in the street ran in to tell her that they had heard gunshots from the house.

"I went and knocked on their door and Abu Ali (Khalaf) answered. He had a cigarette in his mouth and he told me everything was fine, to go back home."

Um Falah said the children came back about 30 minutes later to say that they had heard more gunfire from the house.

She said she had not heard anything because the house generator made a lot of noise.

Son saw the carnage

When she returned to the house, she saw a man get out of a car and enter the building.

"He came running out shouting, 'Help, Help, they're all killed!'" she said.

Her son then went inside and saw the carnage.

Police at the house on Wednesday did not comment on the incident.

Um Falah and her son, as well as Sabar Jaaz, a neighbour who lives on the other side of the house, said the family was respected in the neighbourhood and had lived quiet lives in this middle-class area.

Relatives of the dead family gathered on Wednesday at the capital's mortuary to wait for the bodies to be released for burial.