Mumbai // An Indian man killed 14 members of his family – including six children – with a butcher’s knife before hanging himself.
The grisly murders occurred after Hasnin Anwar Warekar, 35, and his extended family gathered late on Saturday at a home north of India’s financial capital of Mumbai for a family function, police officers said. Their bodies were discovered on Sunday morning.
“The attacker, Hasnin Anwar Warekar, hung himself after slitting the throats of all other family members including his parents,” said Gajanan Laxman Kabdule, a police spokesman in Thane, some 32 kilometres from Mumbai.
Warekar’s extended family – three sisters, their children and his parents – were among those who had gathered in the house for dinner, Mr Kabdule said. Warekar’s wife and two young daughters were also in the house and were among those killed.
The sole survivor of the attack – Warekar’s sister – was wounded and taken to hospital after neighbours heard her screaming for help after midnight and alerted police.
It appeared that Warekar began his stabbing spree between 1am and 2am, after everyone had gone to bed. His motive was not known.
Neighbours were forced to open a window to rescue the woman after the assailant allegedly locked all escape routes from the house before carrying out the attacks, according to local media reports.
“We still haven’t been able to speak with the attacker’s 21-year-old sister, the lone survivor of the attack, who is in deep trauma at a city hospital,” Mr Kabdule said.
Warekar, who reportedly worked for a private firm in Mumbai, was able to carry out the attacks after lacing the food at the gathering with a sedative, according to local media.
But the Indian Express newspaper said he stabbed his victims after they went to bed, having all decided to spend the night at the house in Thane.
“Prima facie evidence suggests that the accused bolted all the doors of the house and murdered his family while they were asleep with a knife that we found near his body,” said Ashutosh Dumbre, joint commissioner of Thane police.
Mr Kabdule said he could not confirm whether the victims had been sedated, saying investigators were awaiting medical test results. The bodies were sent to a Thane hospital for autopsies.
Footage showed men carrying bodies wrapped in sheets from the house to a waiting ambulance, as crowds and police gathered outside the white-walled home.
Mr Kabdule said details of the attack “are still sketchy”.
According to the Press Trust of India news agency, a property dispute was behind the killings, but Mr Dumbre said initial investigations have so far found no trigger for such an "extreme step".
“In our inquiry so far, no one has yet been able to give the reason for this,” Mr Dumbre told the ABP news channel.
“He worked with a private company in Mumbai. There were no known financial troubles or disputes and now we are hoping that the lone survivor can tell us something about the trigger,” he said.
* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press