santa with gun
An armed man dressed as Santa is believed responsible for the Christmas Day massacre in Texas. Image: sliceofNYC/Flickr/CC BY

A Texas man dressed in a Santa Claus suit allegedly murdered his entire family on Christmas day. The shooter then turned his weapon on himself. Police say the man planned and executed the massacre single-handedly.

Murdered around Christmas tree

The tragic event happened Sunday morning in Grapevine, Texas. Robert Eberling, a Grapevine police sergeant, would not release the name of the shooter or his victims. He did say that the incident left seven people dead under the Christmas tree, surrounded by presents. Police say the act was probably premeditated.

Worst crime in town’s history

It is being called the worst crime in Grapevine’s history. Police responded to a 911 call Sunday morning. Officers recovered two guns from the crime scene.

Eberling said a text message indicates that the shooter, who entered the home dressed as Santa Claus and opened fire, was invited into the home.

A call to 911

At about 11:16 a.m., one of the victims texted a friend about the alleged shooter arriving in a Santa suit. There was no indication of alarm in the message. However, about 15 minutes later a 911 call was made from within the apartment. Police could make out muffled calls for help in the background.

An estranged husband

Family friends have come forward saying that they believe the shooter was Aziz “Bob” Yazdanpanah. After a foreclosure on his home last year, Yazdanpanah and his wife separated in the spring.  His wife and two children are allegedly among the victims of the massacre.

Neighbors shocked

A neighbor, Fred Ditmars, told reporters his impressions of Yazdanpanah:

“He was pretty outgoing. If you saw him, he’d say ‘hi’ to you and everything.”

The Yazdanpanahs were married in 1987, according to court records. Their daughter was 19, and had just graduated from high school. Their 15-year-old son was a freshman in high school.

According to another family member, the wife’s sister, her husband and daughter were also victims of the tragedy.


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