Violent Night, Deadly Night
Bruce Jeffrey Pardo was a man who seemed to have it all – a successful career as a software engineer, a beautiful wife, and a home in a quiet suburban neighborhood. However, behind closed doors, Pardo struggled with deep-seated personal issues, including depression and financial stress.
The morning of Christmas Eve in 2008, Bruce Jeffrey Pardo dressed up as Santa Claus and went to the home of his former in-laws in Covina, California. Evidently armed with two loaded handguns and a homemade flamethrower, Pardo entered the house with the intention of causing destruction. He murdered nine people, including his ex-wife, her parents, and her siblings.
Following the massacre, investigators tried to understand Pardo’s motivations. Detectives concluded that his marriage had been struggling. Especially afraid of losing his home, Pardo was worried about financial stability after the divorce as well.
The following morning on Christmas Day, Pardo was found dead in his brother’s home. Surprisingly, an examination of his body showed that the Santa suit had burned into his skin, and it was determined that he had taken his own life.
According to police reports, Pardo had originally planned to flee to Canada, but changed his mind after suffering third degree burns. Some speculate that Pardo couldn’t handle the guilt of his actions and that a supernatural force haunted him until he took his own life.
In a twisted way, it seems that Pardo viewed the murders as a way of bringing his family ‘coal’ for Christmas – a brutal punishment for divorce.Anthony Long, Founder of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society
Bruce Jeffrey Pardo’s Death Count
- Sylvia Ortega Pardo, Bruce’s ex-wife, died from a gunshot wound.
- Alicia Sotomayor Ortega, Sylvia’s mother, died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
- Joseph S. Ortega, Sylvia’s father, died from multiple gunshot wounds.
- Charles Ortega, Sylvia’s brother, died from a combination of smoke inhalation and gunshot wounds.
- Cheri Lynn Ortega, Charles’ wife, died from a combination of smoke inhalation and gunshot wounds.
- James Ortega, Sylvia’s brother, died from a combination of smoke inhalation and gunshot wounds.
- Teresa Ortega, James’ wife, died from a combination of smoke inhalation and gunshot wounds.
- Alicia Ortega Oritz, Sylvia’s sister, died from a combination of smoke inhalation and gunshot wounds.
- Michael Andre Oritz, Alicia’s son, died in the fire.
- Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Injured Victims of Bruce Jeffrey Pardo
- Eight-year-old girl, Sylvia’s niece survived being shot in the face.
- Sixteen year old girl, shot and wounded in the back.
- Twenty-one year old woman, suffered a broken ankle while escaping.
Whereas the holiday season approaches, it’s important to remember that the true meaning of Christmas is one of love, generosity, and forgiveness. Furthermore, the Santa Claus murders serve as a reminder of the darkness that lurks within us all and the dangers of letting our grievances consume us.