Friday, December 26, 2008

The Santa Killer

A semi-automatic Christmas:
A distraught man dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at a Christmas Eve party and then set the house ablaze, killing at least eight people, authorities said.
Several hours later, the shooter killed himself.
Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, 45, who had recently been divorced and is believed to have lost his job, knocked on the front door of a home owned by the parents of his ex-wife in Covina around 11:30 Wednesday night, said Police Chief Kim Raney.
An 8-year-old girl ran to the door to answer Pardo's knock, police said. He shot her in the face, stepped into the house and began to fire indiscriminately with a semiautomatic handgun. . . .
Pardo is thought to have worked in the aerospace industry as an engineer, police and acquaintances said.
I am reminded of another laid-off, divorced aerospace engineer, Michael Douglas's character in the 1993 movie, Falling Down.

UPDATE: Associated Press adds details:
Pardo, 45, had no criminal record and no history of violence, according to police, but he was angry following last week's settlement of his divorce after a marriage that lasted barely a year.
"It was not an amicable divorce," police Lt. Pat Buchanan said. . . .
Pardo's next-door neighbor . . . said he moved in more than a year ago with a woman and a child. She said they kept mostly to themselves and the woman later moved out with the child. . . .
He also served regularly as an usher at evening Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Jan Detanna, the head usher at the church, was stunned when told about the violence.
"I'm just — this is shocking," Detanna told the Times. "He was the nicest guy you could imagine. Always a pleasure to talk to, always a big smile."
Nice guy. Big smile. Eight dead.

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