Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times
L.A. County coroner’s officials remove the body of Bruce Jeffrey Pardo from a Sylmar home on Christmas Day.
New details were released at a news conference this afternoon about that bloody Santa Claus massacre. Covina Police Chief Kim Raney confirmed earlier reports that nine victims perished in the brutal attack on a Christmas Eve party.
Chief Raney says the gunman, 45-year-old Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, was dressed in a Santa Claus suit Wednesday night when he knocked on the door of the home of his ex-in-laws, Joseph and Alicia Ortega, in a middle class Covina neighborhood. Pardo reportedly shot up the place and then used a homemade device to spray the inside with a gas vapor that caused an explosion and fire, which destroyed the home.
Chief Raney explained how Pardo had planned to skip the country after the attack. The gunman had $17,000 on him along with a plane ticket for a flight Christmas morning from LAX to Canada. Pardo apparently changed his plans after he was severely injured in the attack: “He suffered third degree burns… both arms… Santa suit he was wearing did melt onto his body..” according to Chief Raney.
Pardo fled the crime scene to his brother’s home in Sylmar, where he committed suicide with a gun shot to the head. However, that was not the end of Pardo’s rampage of revenge, death, and destruction. A rental car he left parked nearby had been booby trapped with an alleged pipe bomb. It did explode, but no one was hurt.
The final remains of the ninth victim were removed from the gutted Covina home today. Authorities say the bodies of the victims are charred beyond recognition so identification will take a while. Pardo’s 43-year-old ex-wife Sylvia and her parents are believed to be among the dead. It was just last week that a bitter divorce between Pardo and his wife became final.
Three other partygoers were injured and are expected to recover.