The Korea Herald


Texas police: Man in Santa suit killed 6 relatives


Published : Dec. 27, 2011 - 09:41

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GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) — Police in a quiet 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 the shooter showed up in the 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 and three 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.

Grapevine police investigate the scene where they found seven people dead outside Dallas in Grapevine, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011.(AP) Grapevine police investigate the scene where they found seven people dead outside Dallas in Grapevine, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011.(AP)

Investigators worked through Sunday night and into Monday morning, meticulously 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. He would not give other specifics.

"We're getting a clearer picture, but we're not ready to go on the record with anything until we find out from the medical examiner absolute confirmation of identities and the manner of death," Eberling said.

Autopsies of the shooter and the victims were being done Monday by the Tarrant County medical examiner, but it would probably be Tuesday before their identities were released, he said.

Roger Metcalf, a spokesman for the medical examiner's office, said the victims have been tentatively identified, but the office couldn't confirm the names because the state driver's license fingerprint database wasn't available on the holiday.

"In addition, we need to locate next of kin before information can be released, and our investigators are working on that as well," Metcalf wrote in an email to the AP.

Late Sunday evening, police intently 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 neighboring suburb of Colleyville.

Thomas Ehrlich, who lives near the home in 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.

"I actually saw him out doing yard work just last weekend," Ehrlich said.

Spa manager Leah Langford said she became concerned when the man's wife didn't show up for work Monday at the business where she had been employed for four years. Langford said she got no response when she called the woman's cell phone, nor could she learn anything when she went to the Colleyville home and the Grapevine apartment.

"For somebody who's always early to work and who never misses a day of work, we expected the worst," Langford said.

The shootings Sunday were the first homicides in Grapevine in more than a year and a half.

Police and firefighters rushed to the Lincoln Vineyards 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, located at the back of the complex. They found the seven, aged 15 to 60, dead.

Many of the nearby apartments are vacant, and police said no neighbors reported hearing anything on a quiet Christmas morning when many people were not around.



美남성, 성탄절에 산타옷 입고 친척 6명 살해

크리스마스에 미국 텍사스주 의 소도시에서 산타클로스 복장을 한 50대 남성이 친척 6명을 사살하고 스스로 목숨 을 끊은 것으로 보인다고 현지 경찰이 밝혔다.

텍사스주 그레이프바인 경찰의 로버트 에벌링 대변인은 지난 25일(현지시간) 오 전 교외의 한 아파트에서 여성 3명과 남성 4명이 숨진 채 권총 2정과 함께 발견됐다 고 말했다.

경찰은 생김새 등으로 볼 때 이들이 모두 친척이며 총에 맞아 사망한 것으로 추 정했다. 그러나 정확한 신원과 사인은 부검을 통해 확인할 것이라고 말했다.

토드 덜링 경위는 숨진 7명이 15~59세이며 이들 가운데 50대 부부 2쌍이 있다고 설명했다.

경찰은 일가친척들이 모여 크리스마스 선물을 뜯다가 변을 당한 것으로  보인다 고 설명했다. 사건 현장에는 아직 포장을 뜯지 않은 선물도 발견됐다.

경찰은 이어 가족의 이력을 조사하고 있다고 밝히면서 자세한 설명은 피했다.

경찰은 911구급 요청 전화를 받았으나 아무도 응답하지 않아 현장에 출동했다가 시신을 발견했다고 덧붙였다.