DETAILS OF THE ATTACK
The Santa Suit Massacre occurred at a residence on Christmas Eve in 2008, in Comina, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. 45-year-old Bruce Jeffrey Pardo dressed up as Santa Claus and drove his vehicle to his former in-laws' residence where a group of people, including Pardo's ex-wife, had gathered to celebrate Christmas. According to police reports, there were 25 party-goers present at the home when Pardo knocked on the door in full Santa attire, carrying a gift-wrapped package in one hand (a homemade flamethrower), and a 9mm handgun in the other hand. Pardo had several other handguns tucked away in his Santa suit.
When an eight-year-old female answered the door--who excitedly ran to greet Santa--Pardo opened fire on her, striking her in the face. Pardo continued firing on fleeing party-goers, and murdered several of the victims at close range, execution style. After Pardo finished the shooting spree, he unwrapped the package containing the homemade flame-thrower, and set the residence on fire.
As a result of Pardo's shooting and flame-throwing spree, nine people died from gun shot related injuries or severe burns; two people were injured after being shot by Pardo, including the eight-year-old female who answered the door, and a 16-year-old female who was shot in the back. A 20-year-old woman was also injured when she broke her ankle after jumping out a second story window to escape Pardo's violence.
The fire set by Pardo was so intense that many of the deceased individuals could only be identified through dental records.
In all, Pardo killed nine people, and injured three innocent victims on that bloody Christmas Eve.
DEATH OF PARDO
After committing these horrific crimes, Pardo removed the Santa suit and drove his vehicle to his brother's home, located approximately 30 miles away from the crime scene. Investigators believe that Pardo planned to flee the area because he had purchased an airline ticket prior to the killing spree. But his escape did not go as anticipated. Instead, Pardo unexpectedly suffered third degree burns on his arms from the house fire. Rather than flee as planned, Pardo committed suicide; he was found dead at his brother's residence from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. At the time of his discovery, Pardo had $17,000 in cash strapped to his leg.
At the time of his killing spree, Pardo had no prior criminal record. Authorities speculate that Pardo's motive was due to marital issues. His ex-wife, Sylvia Ortega Pardo, had settled for divorce the previous week, and was one of the victims killed by Pardo that night. The couple had only been married for about a year before they quickly grew apart. It is believed that Pardo concealed a child from a previous relationship. In addition, after the divorce was granted, a court in 2008 ordered Pardo to pay $1,785/month in spousal support and a lump sum of $10,000 to Sylvia. Pardo complained to friends and to the court that the settlement amount and monthly alimony were unfair.
Pardo had also been recently fired from his job as an electrical engineer for billing false hours.
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