Image: Scene of shooting outside Dallas
Mike Fuentes  /  AP
Police investigate the scene where they found seven people dead outside Dallas in Grapevine, Texas, on Sunday.
updated 12/25/2011 6:52:34 PM ET 2011-12-25T23:52:34

Seven people believed to be related had opened their Christmas gifts and started cleaning up the wrapping paper when they were shot to death in a suburban Fort Worth apartment, police said Sunday.

Authorities said they believe the shooter is among the dead.

Four women and three men, aged 18 to 60, were found in an adjoining kitchen and living room area when police entered the apartment around midday, said Grapevine Police Sgt. Robert Eberling. Two handguns were found near the bodies in the apartment, which was decorated for the holiday with a tree, he added.

"It appears they had just celebrated Christmas. They had opened their gifts," Eberling said.

The victims have not yet been identified, but Eberling said it appears they all died of gunshot wounds. He said authorities still don't know what sparked the incident.

Police and firefighters rushed to the Lincoln Vineyards complex after receiving an open-ended 911 call at about 11:30 a.m., Eberling said.

"There was an open line. No one was saying anything," he explained.

So police went into the apartment, located in a middle-class, suburban neighborhood of Grapevine, not far from the upscale Fort Worth neighborhood of Colleyville. The apartment is at the back of the complex, overlooking the athletic fields of Colleyville Heritage High School.

But many of the nearby apartments are vacant, and police said no neighbors reported hearing anything on a quiet Christmas morning when many people were not around.

Christy Posch, a flight attendant who moved to the complex about six months ago so her son could attend the high school, said she lives a few buildings away and did not hear any gunshots.

"It's all families. That's why I moved here. No burglaries, no nothing," Posch said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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