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'I am shooting people': Texas Christmas killer heard on 911 call

crime scene bullet shooting generic CBS/iStockphoto

CBS/iStockphoto
(CBS/AP) DALLAS - The Texas man who fatally shot seven people on Christmas Day called 911 and whispered, "I am shooting people," as someone in the background screamed "help help," an enhanced recording of the call reveals.

Grapevine police Lt. Todd Dearing said in a statement Wednesday, "The newly discovered audio was not heard on the original software over many playbacks, and was not heard or understood by the dispatcher who took the call on Sunday."

The New York Daily News reports that on the tape, which was distributed by police Wednesday, the dispatcher can be heard asking the caller if he is sick or needs help.

When law enforcement officials responded, they found the bodies of seven family members, including suspected shooter Azizolah Yazdanpanah, 56, who apparently turned the gun on himself after the massacre. Police said it appeared they had been opening presents around their Christmas tree just before the attack.

Authorities say among the bodies were his estranged wife and two teenage children, his niece and brother-in-law.

Police believe Yazdanpanah tried to stage the scene by placing one of the two guns used in the hand of his deceased brother-in-law, Mohamad Zarei, Eberling said

Police also said Wednesday that one of the victims of the Christmas shooting, Yazdanpanah's niece, Sara Fatemeh Zarei, sent a text message minutes before the shooting to her friend saying, "Soo we're here. We just got here and my uncle is here too. Dressed as Santa. Awesome."

Fifteen minutes later she wrote, "Now he wants to be all fatherly and win father of the year."

Police told the Associated Press they think the shooter was having financial and marital problems but they are unsure of what led him to murder his family.

"I think he was probably overwhelmed when it was all said and done and decided to take his life instead," said police Sgt. Robert Eberling.

"We really don't have a clear idea of why he did this," Eberling said. "Sometimes there's not a really good explanation for irrational behavior."

More on Crimesider:

December 28, 2011 - Authorities identify shooter, victims in Texas Christmas day shootings

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

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