– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
A man dressed as Santa Claus shot and killed six of his family members at a home in Texas on Christmas Day, police said yesterday. He then turned the gun on himself.
The apparent murder-suicide occurred at the Lincoln Vineyards Apartments living complex on Hall-Johnston Road in Grapevine, a Dallas suburb. The bodies of seven people, four women and three men, were found inside along with two handguns.
Police forced their way into the home after receiving a 911 call during which nothing was said, although it was not clear if the recording may have contained the sounds of gunshots. The bodies were found lying in the middle of newly opened gifts and a Christmas tree.
Grapevine police Lt. Todd Dearing said that some of the victims were seated on furniture while others were slumped on the floor, indicating the family was in the midst of opening their Christmas presents. The identities of the victims or the shooter were not immediately released, but their ages were 15, 19, 22, 55, 56, 58 and 59.
News of the tragedy rocked the city, which was recently proclaimed the “Christmas Capital of Texas” by the state’s Senate.
“This is obviously a terrible tragedy,” said Mayor William Tate, as quoted by MSNBC.com. “The fact that it happened on Christmas makes it even more tragic.”
Police said the gunman was dressed as Santa Claus. They said they found no signs of forced entry into the home and that the motive behind the killings remains unknown.
Reports indicate the gunman had recently split up with a woman and had financial problems, with their home sold in 2010 at a foreclosure auction.
— Phuket Gazette Editors