A 35-year-old man murdered 14 members of his family, including seven children, with a butcher’s knife before committing suicide in Thane district of Mumbai in India’s western Maharashtra state, police reported on Sunday.
All family members had come together for a family celebration on Saturday, when the incident happened.
"The attacker, Husnain Anwar Warekar, hung himself after slitting the throats of all other family members including his parents," said Gaianan Laxman Kabdule, a Thane police spokesman.
The only survivor of the attack is Warekar’s 21-year-old sister, who was taken to hospital after neighbours heard her screaming for help and alerted police.
"We came running. His sister was shouting from the window for help. We saved her by breaking the window," said a neighbour.
"When we tried to break through the door she asked us not to as her brother was holding a knife. My elder brother and I went to call the police."
The sister is in deep trauma at a city hospital and the police hope to take her help once she recovers.
According to several local media reports, Warekar medicated the food with a sedative and stabbed his victims after they went to bed.
But Kabdule said he could not confirm whether the victims had been sedated before the medical test results.
"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," Ashutosh Dumbre, joint commissioner of Thane police said.
The motivation and details of the attack “are still sketchy,” according to Kabdule.
The accused was found hanging in his room with knife in hand. Neighbours said that the accused was a cheerful person and showed no signs of any psychological disorder.
"In our inquiry so far, no one has yet been able to give the reason for this," Dumbre told the ABP news channel.
Press Trust of India news agency claims that a property dispute was behind the killings, but Dumbre said investigators have found no trigger for such an “extreme step” so far.
"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.