The bodies of four women and three men, between 18 and 60 years, were found late Sunday morning in an apartment in the town of Grapevine by police answering a voiceless 911 emergency call. Police believe that the gunman was among the dead.
Besides, two handguns were also found near the bodies, according to Sergeant Robert Eberling of the Grapevine police department, who called it a “gruesome crime scene”.
“It appears they had just celebrated Christmas,” Eberling reported. “They had opened their gifts.” However, the bodies are still being identified.
Grapevine Police Lt. Todd Dearing told reporters that all the victims were believed to be related, but that some were only visiting and didn’t live in the apartment. He added, police are looking for other relatives to inform.
“Seven people in one setting in Grapevine, that’s never happened before. Ever,” Dearing said. Police immediately rushed to the apartment after receiving an emergency call at around 11:30am local time.
“There was an open line. No one was saying anything,” Eberling said. Â “We are not actively looking for a shooter that we believe is at large.”
Circumstances of the shooting are being investigated, but Eberling said it seems like during a family holiday celebration one man opened fire on six other people in the apartment, then killed himself.
The apartment is situated in a middle-class, suburban neighborhood of Grapevine, not far from the upscale Fort Worth neighborhood of Colleyville. It is located at the back of the complex, overlooking the athletic fields of Colleyville Heritage High School.
Police reported that no neighbors had heard anything on a quiet Christmas morning when many people were not at their homes.
Jose Fernandez, a 35-year-old heavy equipment mechanic who has been living in the complex six months ago, said he always felt safe in the area, but is now afraid to let his 10-year-old son play freely outside.
“This is really outrageous especially on Christmas,” said Fernandez. “This has shocked everybody. It has scared everybody. I guess something like this can happen anywhere, but seven people dead. It’s just very scary,” he added.
Christy Posch, a flight attendant who also moved to the complex about half a year ago so her son could attend the high school, said she lives a few buildings away and did not hear any gunshots.
“It’s all families. That’s why I moved here. No burglaries, no nothing,” Posch said. Eberling reported it is the first homicide case in Grapevine since 2010.
A community consisting of about 46,000 people about 20 miles northwest of downtown Dallas, Grapevine is well-known for its wine-tasting salons and has been recently names by the state Senate as the “Christmas Capital of Texas” for its abundance of annual holiday-season events.
“This is tragic. It’s something our department hasn’t seen before, especially in a city like Grapevine,” Eberling said. “It’s something we’re used to reading about. We’re shocked.” [Via Huff Post and The Telegraph]