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Killer Santa was gunning for more victims

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Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times

A firefighter cleans up debris on Christmas Day at the gutted Covina home where a gunman killed nine people before taking his own life.


Bruce Jeffrey Pardo apparently had a hit list when he stormed the Covina home of his ex-in-laws on Christmas Eve dressed in a Santa costume. Police are saying now that Pardo, who gunned down nine people at the holiday party and then torched the home, had planned to take out his 72-year-old mother and his ex-wife’s attorney as well.

Covina Police Lieutenant Pat Buchanan says Pardo was “… intent on killing his mother … on the date of December 24.”  Pardo’s mother, Nancy Windsor, was supposed to be at Alicia and Joseph Ortega’s annual Christmas Eve party, but she canceled at the last minute because of illness. Pardo reportedly fell out with his mother after she sided with his ex-wife Sylvia in a bitter divorce.

Pardo, a 45-year-old unemployed engineer, committed suicide at his brother’s home in Sylmar hours after the attack on the Ortega home. However, Pardo’s spree of violence and destruction was not over yet. He had set a booby-trap in his rental car. It exploded, but no one was hurt. Then last Saturday, authorities discovered a second vehicle rented by Pardo on Glenoaks Boulevard in Glendale. Bomb experts from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department found a number of items in the 1999 Toyota Rav 4 including gasoline, but no trigger device.

The Toyota was parked near the home of Sylvia Pardo’s attorney, Scott Nord. Investigators believe that Pardo had planned to whack Nord. Pardo was forced to change his plans, which included an escape to Canada, after he was seriously burned in the Christmas Eve party rampage. Miraculously,16 people survived that attack. Still missing are Pardo’s ex-wife Sylvia, her parents, two of her brothers and their wives, a sister, and a nephew.

Last night, several hundred people gathered at a community meeting in Covina to try to come to grips with what happened on Knollcrest Drive Christmas Eve. Police provided an update on the investigation. Also, counseling information was handed out.

A fund has been set up for the victims that include around a dozen children who lost one or both parents. Donations can be sent to the Ortega Family Fund c/o Law Offices of Scott J. Nord, 500 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 550, Glendale, CA  91203.

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