A Texas gunman who carried out a Christmas Day massacre in a Santa Claus costume called police on from the Grapevine, Tx. apartment where he killed seven people, admitting to his crime.
“Help, help … I am shooting people,” Azizolah Yazdanpanah whispered to police dispatcher in a 911 call he placed at the Texas apartment where he shot his estranged wife, his two teenage children, and three other family members before turning the gun on himself.
The police dispatcher was unable to hear Yazdanpanah’s words and police believed that they were responding to an open call when they found seven dead bodies in the apartment.
It was only after the use of enhanced recording technology that police were able to discover that beyond the heavy breathing heard by the dispatcher, the caller was actually informing police of his crime.
“The newly discovered audio was not heard on the original audio software over many playbacks, and it was not heard/understood by the dispatcher who took the call on Sunday,” the Grapevine Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
Sara Fatemeh Zarei, niece of 56-year-old Yazdanpanah, texted a friend prior to the massacre saying that she arrived to her family apartment to find that her uncle came to join in on the Christmas celebration.
“Soo we’re here. We just got here and my uncle is here too. Dressed as Santa,” Zarei wrote.
“Now he wants to be all fatherly and win father of the year,” she added in a later text.
It is not clear what set Yazdanpanah off, but authorities believe that it was martial and financial problems that led the middle-aged man to carry out the massacre. However, why Yazdanpanah took the lives of his family on Christmas morning may never be known.
Two memorial services as well as a candlelit vigil were held on Wednesday honoring members of the family.