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Issue 123 - January 2012 (2nd Edition) - Page 22

Facebook Message - RIP for Family Slain by Man Dressed as Santa

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Message circulating on Facebook asks users to share or repost to show their support for the relatives of a family slain on Christmas Day by a man dressed as Santa.

Brief Analysis
The message describes a real incident. On Christmas Day, 2011, in Grapevine, Texas, a disturbed father dressed in a Santa suit killed six members of his family with handguns hidden in the suit. He then killed himself. However, this message is somewhat inaccurate and liking or reposting it is not a very good way of showing support for friends and relatives of the victims.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

Last updated: 29th December 2011
First published: 29th December 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

R.I.P to the family of 7 who died because a man decided to dress up as santa clause, ring there doorbell & shoot them. On christmas day in Texas. (Like) if you care. Repost if you wish there relatives the best for there family lost

R.I.P for Family of Seven

Detailed Analysis
According to this message, which is circulating via Facebook and other social media sites, users should "like" or "repost" to express their care and support for the relatives of a family slain on Christmas Day by a man dressed in a Santa suit.

Tragically, the message describes a real event. On Christmas Day 2011, in the city of Grapevine, Texas, Azizolah Boba Yazdanpanah, dressed in a Santa suit, killed six members of his family using two handguns hidden in the suit. He then killed himself. A 28 December article about the killing published in the Wall Street Journal notes:
Police said Tuesday that the people fatally shot on Christmas Day by a man dressed as Santa Claus included his estranged wife, their two teenage children and three other family members in what they described as a planned assault that ended when the assailant killed himself.

Authorities in Grapevine, Texas, said they still didn't know what could have led the suspect, 56-year-old Azizolah Yazdanpanah, to carry out the attack, the deadliest in the city's history. The suspect opened fire with two handguns just after the extended family opened presents, they said.
And, a December 29 Sydney Morning Herald article about the killing explains:
He arrived at his wife's apartment about 11.15am on Christmas Day and did not pull out the guns until after his sister-in-law arrived with her husband and daughter a few minutes later.

His niece even sent out a text message saying Yazdanpanah was "trying to be father of the year" before the shooting began, NBC news reported.

Police rushed to the apartment building after receiving a call at 11.34am in which someone who was gasping for breath said "help, help".

They found seven bodies near the Christmas tree, where the family had apparently just finished opening their presents.
The motive for the murders is currently unclear, although the family was experiencing financial problems and Yazdanpanah and his wife were estranged, having separated some months before the slayings.

Although most likely well intended, the circulating social media message is somewhat garbled and inaccurate. The killer did not ring the doorbell and begin shooting as suggested in the message. In fact, as described above, he was in the house with the victims for some time before the shootings. Moreover, the message implies that the man killed seven people. This is correct, but the message does not make clear that the last victim was the killer himself.

And, just liking or reposting a garbled Facebook message seems a rather hollow and pointless method of showing support for the family and friends of those killed. Relatives and friends of the victims are unlikely to be aware of all those who "like" the circulating message or know how many times it is reposted. Instead, users could pay their respects via the Facebook Page set up as a memorial to those killed.

Bookmark and Share References
Wife and Children Among Victims of Shooter in Santa Suit, Police Say
Santa slayer planned to kill his family
Facebook Page - Rest In Peace Zarei, Rahmati, Yazdanpanah family

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Issue 123 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. A Special Appeal to Facebook Users - Unauthorised Use of Baby Zoe Chambers Photograph
  2. TalkTalk Service Cancellation Phishing Scam
  3. Facebook Protest Message Against Casey Anthony Book Deal
  4. Gang Initiation Warning Hoax - Infant Car Seat Left On Roadside
  5. What is a Facebook Survey Scam? - Survey Scams Explained
  6. Fake LinkedIn Email Leads to Pharmacy Spam Website
  7. Rihanna Is NOT Dead
  8. Animal Mistreatment Protest Message - Firecracker Put In Dog's Mouth
  9. Hoax - Facebook Will Pay Three Cents Per Share to Help Baby With Facial Cancer
  10. Social Media Driven Hope Barbie Campaign
  11. Unfounded Facebook Rumour - Thierry Mairot Wants to Talk to Children About Sex
  12. Animal Rescue Site Email Forward
  13. Eden Project Recall Of Bracelets Made From Jequirity Bean
  14. Hoax Warning: Lost Child Lure - 'New Way for Gang Members to Rape Women'
  15. 'Switch to Pink Facebook' Survey Scam
  16. Tanner Dwyer Friend Request Hacker Hoax
  17. "Went To The Party" Anti Drink-Driving Message
  18. Bogus Warning Claims KiK Messenger is a Hacking Scheme
  19. Bogus Amazon Shipping Confirmation Emails Point To Malware
  20. Stolen Tibetan Spaniels Alert
  21. Video Of Hero Dog Pulling Another Dog From A Busy Highway
  22. Facebook Message - RIP for Family Slain by Man Dressed as Santa
  23. False Warning - Do Not Add 'Jason Lee' Because Its a Virus