Suspect, Motive Emerge in Christmas Massacre

Father had marital and financial problems, friends say

By Scott Gordon
|  Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011  |  Updated 2:48 PM CDT
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Investigators appear to be zeroing in on the estranged husband of the woman who lived in the Grapevine apartment where seven people were found dead as the apparent gunman.

Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News

Investigators appear to be zeroing in on the estranged husband of the woman who lived in the Grapevine apartment where seven people were found dead as the apparent gunman.

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A father in the middle of marital and financial problems emerged Monday as the suspected gunman in a Christmas massacre that left seven people dead.

Friends and neighbors identified the apparent shooter as Aziz "Bob" Yasdanpanah, an Iranian-American real estate agent who lived for years in an upscale Colleyville home with his wife and two teenage children.

Last year, a bank foreclosed on the home, real estate records show.

Then, in March or April, the couple split. His wife and children moved into a Grapevine apartment, according to friends.

A man dressed as Santa on Christmas morning pulled out two handguns and killed six relatives before killing himself at the apartment.

While police have not named a suspect or spelled out a motive, investigators appear to be zeroing in on Aziz Yasdanpanah as the apparent gunman.

Police searched his Colleyville home late Monday afternoon.

Yasdanpanah married Fatemah Rahmati in 1987, according to court records. They had a daughter, Nargis, 19, and a son, Ali, 15, a high school freshman. All four are believed to be among the dead.

Neighbors say the family seemed tight-knit, and Aziz Yasdanpanah seemed protective of his children.

"He was pretty outgoing," said neighbor Fred Ditmars. "If you saw him, he'd say 'hi' to you and everything."

"It seemed like their whole existence was about family, so it's utterly shocking to me," said another neighbor, Terri Baum, whose daughter attended school with his daughter.

The bodies were found not far from the family's Christmas tree, police said. A trash bag was full of wadded-up gift-wrapping paper, as if they had just finished unwrapping gifts.

"Bob loved his kids. And I can't even fathom that that's what happened," Baum said.

The mother, Fatemah Rahmati, worked the past four years doing manicures at a salon on Southlake's town square. The manager said she often talked about her family, but never in a bad way.

Police cautioned the investigation is far from over.

One unanswered question is: Who called 911?

Grapevine police said officers responded to the apartment in the 2500 block of Hall Johnson Road on Christmas morning after someone dialed 911 from a phone inside. Dispatchers didn't hear anything -- no voice or no gunshots, Lt. Todd Dearing said.

When officers arrived, they found the door locked from the inside, and the worst crime in Grapevine history.


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