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Clues sought in Texas holiday killings

GRAPEVINE, Texas — Police in a quiet Fort Worth suburb worked yesterday to piece together a family history after a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit apparently shot six relatives and himself on Christmas.

Investigators worked through the night searching the apartment where the bodies were found, along with vehicles parked outside. Police said they believe the victims were related, though some were visiting and did not live in the apartment.

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Sergeant Robert Eberling, a spokesman for the Grapevine police, said the shooter showed up in the Santa outfit shortly before gunfire erupted, and that the family appeared to have been opening Christmas presents. Police responding to a 911 call found four women and three men dead, along with two handguns.

“We think he was just inside there celebrating Christmas with the rest of them and decided for whatever reason that’s how he’s going to end things,’’ Eberling said.

Eberling said investigators are piecing together a family history, but he declined to get into specifics. Autopsies of the shooter and the victims were being done yesterday by the Tarrant County medical examiner, but their identities and causes of death probably would not be released until today, he said. Police searched a sport utility vehicle parked outside the apartment.

The vehicle is registered to a man who listed his residence as a home 2 miles away in the suburb of Colleyville.

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