Police in a Fort Worth suburb worked Monday to piece together a family history after a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit apparently shot six relatives and himself on Christmas.
Grapevine police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling said that the shooter showed up in the Santa costume shortly before gunfire erupted and that the family appeared to have been opening Christmas presents. Police responding to a 911 call found four females, the shooter and two other males dead. They also found two handguns.
"We think he was just inside there celebrating Christmas with the rest of them and decided for whatever reason that's how he's going to end things," Eberling told the Associated Press.
Investigators worked through Sunday night and into Monday morning, searching the apartment where the bodies were found, along with vehicles parked outside. Police said they believe the victims were related, though some were visiting and didn't live in the apartment.
Eberling said investigators were assembling a "family history," and that the apartment was leased to a woman and her two children, one age 15 and the other either 19 or 20.
Autopsies of the shooter and the victims were being done Monday by the Tarrant County medical examiner, but their identities probably won't be released until today.
Late Sunday evening, police searched a sport utility vehicle parked outside the apartment. The vehicle is registered to a man who listed his residence as a home two miles away in the suburb of Colleyville.
A resident of Colleyville told the AP he heard from neighbors that police went to the house Sunday. He said he believed the man and woman who once lived there were estranged.
Records show the couple had financial problems and that their home, most recently valued on the county tax rolls at $336,200, had been sold in 2010 at a foreclosure auction -- although it appeared the man was still living there.
Police and firefighters rushed to the Lincoln Vineyards apartment complex about 11:30 a.m. after receiving a 911 call in which no one was on the other end of the line. Because no one responded on the phone, police went into the apartment. They found the seven victims, ages 15 to 60, dead.