We couldn't imagine how the story of the murder-suicide that left seven dead on Christmas Day could be even more heartbreaking -- not until we read the Associated Press's retelling of the events based on text messages sent by a 22-year-old victim. It's seriously sad, so if you're worried about crying your way through the afternoon, stop reading now.
The basics of the story are awful enough. The shooting happened in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, where authorities say a "56-year-old Aziz Yazdanpanah, who had marital and financial problems, killed his estranged wife, their two teenage children, his wife's sister, his brother-in-law and his niece before turning the gun on himself," to borrow the AP's wording of the events. For the emotionally courageous Atlantic Wire readers out there, we offer this very brief timeline of those events, based text messages that Yazdanpanah's niece Sara Fatemeh Zarei sent to her friends just before her uncle opened fire.
Just before 11 a.m.: "Soo we're here. We just got here and my uncle is here too. Dressed as Santa. Awesome"
At 11:15 a.m.: Now he wants to be all fatherly and win father of the year."
At 11:34 a.m.: Yazdanpanah calls 911, where the operator heard "a muffled voice … saying 'help' twice … followed by heavy breathing before the line went dead -- and then shot himself."