crimesider

Authorities identify shooter, victims in Texas Christmas day shootings

Police tape is seen near an apartment complex where police found seven people dead Dec. 25, 2011 in Grapevine, Texas. AP

Christmas day shooting in Grapevine, Texas
Police tape is seen near an apartment complex where police found seven people dead Dec. 25, 2011 in Grapevine, Texas.
AP

(CBS/AP) GRAPEVINE, Texas - A 56-year-old suburban Dallas man facing marital and financial problems killed his estranged wife, two teenage children and three other family members on Christmas Day while dressed as Santa Claus. He then turned the gun on himself, authorities said Tuesday.

A police spokeswoman said Aziz Yazdanpanah died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and the six others were shot to death.

Police responding Sunday morning to a 911 call made without anyone on the line found the seven people inside an apartment near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It appeared they had been opening presents around their Christmas tree just before the attack.

Yazdanpanah's sport utility vehicle was found outside the apartment and police believe he made the silent 911 call. Yazdanpanah and his wife were both born in Iran.

In addition to Yazdanpanah, authorities said those killed were Rahmati, 55; their daughter Nona, 19; their son Ali, 14; Zohreh Rahmaty, 58; Zohreh's husband, Mohamad Hossein Zarei, 59; and their daughter, Sara Fatemeh Zarei, 22.

Grapevine police spokesman Robert Eberling said Tuesday that detectives believe Yazdanpanah's marital and financial troubles led him to kill his family.

"That's kind of what we're looking at now," Eberling said. "We have been speaking to family members and hope to find out more."

Family friend Mashy Modjdehi said Yazdanpanah's wife moved out of the couple's 3,010-square-foot home in the neighboring suburb of Colleyville in April and into the apartment complex two miles away. The two children moved with her.

Rahmati, known to family and friends as Nasrin, filed for bankruptcy in August 2010, and she told her attorney she hoped the proceedings would stave off foreclosure of the home where the family had lived for more than a decade.

She separated from Yazdanpanah in the midst of the bankruptcy and the proceedings were later dismissed because she failed to make the plan payments, said the attorney, George Barnes.

Barnes said Yazdanpanah initially accompanied his wife to meetings related to the bankruptcy and listed his occupation as "self-employed."

According to federal court records, Yazdanpanah was placed on three years' probation in 1996 after pleading guilty to one count of subscribing to a false income tax return. He also was fined $1,000 and required to pay $30,119 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Three years later, Yazdanpanah and his wife filed jointly for bankruptcy. That case was discharged in a matter of months.

Modjdehi, who owns a beauty salon in nearby Plano, said the family's financial troubles intensified about four years ago when Yazdanpanah stopped working in the mortgage business.

Modjdehi said Yazdanpanah had long forbid Rahmati, who holds a state cosmetology license, to work. But once he became unemployed, his wife held down jobs at two spas, the friend said.

"She worked hard to keep the family together, but he wasn't willing to do anything," Modjdehi said.

More on Crimesider:

December 26, 2011 - Cops: Man who allegedly killed six relatives on Christmas day was dressed as Santa

December 26, 2011 - Police: 7 found shot dead in Dallas-area apartment

  • Crimesider Staff

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.