Disturbed 'Santa' who killed six relatives, himself calmly mingled at party before opening fire
Exact motive for Aziz 'Bob' Yazdanpanah's killing spree still not clear
BY Nancy Dillon
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 28 2011, 12:37 AM
Authorities in suburban Dallas say Yazandanpanah, his estranged wife and their two teenage children are among those killed in a Christmas Day shooting carried out by a man dressed as Santa Claus. Grapevine police spokesman Robert Eberling said Tuesday that detectives believe Yazdanpanah’s marital and financial troubles led him to kill his family. (AP Photo/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rodger Mallison) MAGS OUT
The house on Sycamore Court in Colleyville, Texas owned by Aziz 'Bob' Yazdanpanah.
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The disturbed man who donned a Santa suit and killed six relatives and then himself on Christmas Day calmly mingled at the family party for some 20 minutes before opening fire amid a backdrop of holiday gifts.
Authorities said Aziz “Bob” Yazdanpanah, 56, who had reportedly been down on his luck in recent months, shot his two teenage children multiple times in the head and also killed his estranged wife with a single shot during his holiday rampage in Grapevine, Texas.
He also killed his estranged wife’s sister and the sister’s husband and daughter before turning the gun on himself.
Police said Yazdanpanah was an invited guest. He came to the party armed for slaughter, but surprisingly acted in low-key fashion in the minutes before he suddenly started shooting.
One of the victims sent a text message around 11:15 a.m. that described Yazdanpanah’s appearance in the Santa costume.
“There was nothing in the text that led us to believe the person was in fear,” Sgt. Robert Eberling of the Grapevine Police Department told the Daily News. “And we’re relatively confident (the shooter) was at the party with three of the relatives when this particular victim arrived with two others.”
Yazdanpanah’s estranged wife Fatemeh Rahmati, 55, died of a single gunshot wound to the head, the medical examiner said.
His daughter, Nona Yazdanpanah, 19, was a recent graduate of Colleyville Heritage High School, and his son, Ali Yazdanpanah, 14, was a freshman in high school, local station NBC 5 reported.
The exact motive for the killing spree was not clear, police said, but a bank foreclosed on Yazdanpanah's house last year, and he and Rahmati reportedly had separated.
The wife had moved out with the children to a nearby apartment, where the carnage unfolded, authorities said.
Police said they found the apartment door locked from the inside when they responded to a 911 call at 11:34 a.m. on Christmas morning.
They found all of the victims lifeless in the living room. Some had defensive wounds, indicating that they had tried to shield themselves from the hail of bullets, Eberling said.
A Smith and Wesson .9-mm pistol, with a 15-round magazine, and a .40-caliber Glock pistol, with a 10-round clip, were recovered at the scene.
“Both weapons were used by the shooter, and several victims received gunshot wounds from both weapons,” Eberling told The News.
The gunman did not leave a note, he said.
The 911 call included two faint cries for help and a lot of heavy breathing, Eberling said.
The other victims were Rahmati’s sister, Zohreh Rahmaty, 58, her husband, Mohamad Zarei, 59, and the couple's daughter, Sahra Zarei, 22, the medical examiner said.
“It seemed like their whole existence was about family, so it's utterly shocking to me," neighbor Terri Baum told NBC 5.
Sahra Zarei was a pre-med student at the University of Texas at Arlington and a member of the Tri Delta sorority.
A Facebook page posted in her memory said funeral plans were forthcoming.
“Such a beautiful life for us to remember and share,” friend Vivian Ta wrote of Zarei on Facebook. [email protected]
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