GRAPEVINE, Texas - Seven people believed to be related had opened their Christmas gifts and started cleaning up the wrapping paper when they were shot to death in a Dallas-area apartment, police said yesterday.
Authorities said they believe the shooter is among the dead.
Four women and three men, aged 18 to 60, were found in an adjoining kitchen and living room area when police entered the apartment shortly after 11:30 a.m., said Grapevine Police Sergeant Robert Eberling.
Two handguns were found near the bodies in the apartment that was decorated for Christmas with a tree, he added. “It appears they had just celebrated Christmas. They had opened their gifts,’’ Eberling said.
The victims have not yet been identified, but Eberling said investigators believe they all died of gunshot wounds. The shooter apparently shot himself after killing the six others, according to investigators.
“We are pretty confident that the shooter is among the deceased victims inside the apartment. We are not actively looking for a shooter that we believe is at large,’ Eberling added.
Police and firefighters rushed to the scene after receiving a 911 call at about 11:30 a.m. in which the caller did not speak, Eberling said. “There was an open line. No one was saying anything,’’ he said
Police went into the apartment, in a middle-class, suburban neighborhood of Grapevine, not far from Fort Worth.
The apartment where the incident occurred is at the back of the complex, overlooking the athletic fields of Colleyville Heritage High School. But many of the nearby apartments are vacant, and police said no neighbors reported hearing anything.
In a separate incident, police in Richmond, Va., said yesterday they had safely recovered a 2-year-old boy who was in the backseat of an SUV stolen after a double slaying in Richmond on Christmas Eve.
Police said Kaiden Burnside was found sleeping alone in the abandoned vehicle about midnight. Officers found an adult man and woman shot to death inside a Church Hill residence on Christmas Eve.
Police said they did not believe the Richmond shooting was random.