Dressed in a Santa suit, Aziz Yazdanapah showed up at his estranged wife’s home near Dallas during a Christmas celebration with her sister’s family, and killed everyone before turning the gun on himself, police believe.
The seven bodies were discovered strewn in the living room area of the Grapevine apartment, amid opened presents and near a Christmas tree.
Suspected shooter Aziz Yazdanpanah, 58, had been estranged from his wife and two teenage children when they moved out of the family’s upscale home in nearby Colleyville earlier this year.
His wife, Fatemeh Rahmati, 56, who was a licensed manicurist at a local salon, as well as their daughter, Nona Yazdanpanah, 19, and their son, Ali Yazdanpanah, 14, were also killed.
In the other family, who were visiting Rahmati’s apartment on Christmas morning, were her sister, Zohreh Rahmaty, 58, Hossein Zarei, 59, and daughter Sahra Zarei, 22.
Yazdanpanah’s family, Iranian immigrants who had settled in the Dallas-Fort Worth area decades ago, had been fighting foreclosure and had declared bankruptcy on their home, a 3,000-square foot house built in 1990 and recently valued near $350,000, according to public records.
He was a friendly man who loved his children, neighbors said.
Gloria Salinas and Scott Goldstein, Dallas Morning News, December 26, 2011
Aziz Yazdanpanah seemed to be losing control of his life in recent months–his wife left him, his house was in foreclosure, and his 19-year-old daughter was dating a young man he didn’t like.
Even so, the 58-year-old former real estate agent from Colleyville seemed to be holding it together. Neighbors say he would smile and wave as he drove through his middle-class neighborhood. Recently, he was seen raking leaves in his yard.
Grapevine police also searched the Colleyville home where Aziz Yazdanpanah had been living since he separated from his wife last spring. Public records show that the couple had filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and that the property was in foreclosure . . . .
Yazdanpanah said he bought a gun after expressing concern that his daughter’s boyfriend was stalking him. He also insisted on picking up his daughter from her job at a phone kiosk inside Sam’s Club in Grapevine because of concerns about the alleged stalker.
The boyfriend has not been publicly identified.
Neighbors said the family was Muslim but had always hung Christmas lights on their home–except this year.
But a more ominous portrait emerged of Yazdanpanah in interviews with some of his daughter’s other classmates.
“She would come to school crying and telling us her dad was crazy,” said Lacie Reed, 18. “He wouldn’t let her wear certain things. He was always taking her phone away, checking her call history and checking her text messages.”
Friends said Nona’s father had installed cameras all around the home so he could watch the family’s comings and goings. Others said he nailed her bedroom window shut so she could not sneak out at night and see her boyfriend.
“She couldn’t date at all until she was a certain age, but when he was going to let her date she couldn’t date anyone outside of their race or religion,” Reed said.
Yiselle Alvarenga, 18, said Nona’s mother and brother seemed to come to her aid when her father punished her.
“He would take her phone away and her mother would give it back to her and her brother would let her use his phone,” Alvarenga said. “She was doing good. She was just excited that her life was going to start and she was going to have control of it.”