Santa Psycho Killer
I figured it's time to learn about it... it just didn't sound random - as I was sure that he knew those people, and that there would be some sort of domestic situation to tie into it.
Here's what I've learned about Bruce Jeffrey Pardo's story and why he went on a rampage.
He had a brain-damaged son - that he abandoned as a toddler - a beloved dog that he had just lost in a divorce - and a murder plan gone awry.
On Christmas Eve, a week after his divorce from his wife, Sylvia Pardo, was finalized, Pardo went to his in-laws' house with a gun and a fuel-spraying device. The Los Angeles Times has most of the details of what motivated his crime, how he planned to kill and torch his ex-wife's family, and how his escape went wrong:
- Pardo had a son, Matthew, with a previous girlfriend. The child, now 9, suffered brain damage after falling into a pool when he was 13 months old while his father was babysitting him. After sitting by his side for a week at the hospital, Pardo abandoned him, but continued to claim him as a tax deduction for seven years. When Sylvia Pardo (his new wife) discovered this, the couple fought, a feud which led to their divorce.
- The couple was separated for two years. Their divorce was finalized on December 18. Sylvia was awarded custody of the couple's dog Saki, a brown Akita.
- On Wednesday, Pardo drove a rented Dodge Caliber to his former in-laws' home in Covina, Calif., arriving at 11:30 p.m., and began shooting. "Pardo had disguised a pressurized fuel tank as a Christmas package and responded to the 8-year-old girl who answered the door. Santa Claus shot her in the face when she answered the door."
- Pardo then shot partygoers: "A relative said the dead included Pardo's ex-wife, her parents, two of her brothers and their wives, a nephew and a sister." Body count of 8, for the scorecard.
- Pardo had $17,000 in cash and a plane ticket to Canada strapped to his body, suggesting he planned an escape. But the fuel he sprayed ignited unexpectedly, and the Santa suit melted to his body, causing third-degree burns. (Personally, I really hope that hurt.)
- Abandoning his escape plan, he drove 40 miles to his brother's house in Sylmar, Calif. His last act before shooting himself: turning his rental car into a bomb: "He removed his shredded suit and used it to set up a booby trap in the vehicle, police said. If the suit was moved, trip wires would ignite a flash fire and explode 200 rounds of ammunition."
And before anybody makes a snarky comment about blowing away your in-laws at Christmas (oops, I just think I did) I'll quote Jack Nicholson as the Joker in 1989's Batman. "You are vicious bastard, Rottelli. [strangles him] And I'm glad you're dead!"