“Santa” Killer Had Travel Plans, Wanted to Kill Mom

COVINA, Calif. -- The Santa-clad gunman who fatally shot nine members of his ex-wife's family before touching off an explosion that leveled the house had a ticket for a flight to Minnesota, a police lieutenant said Monday.

Bruce Jeffrey Pardo had a ticket for a flight on a Canadian airline from Los Angeles International Airport to Minnesota with a connecting flight to Iowa where he may have planned on visiting a friend, Covina police Lt. Pat Buchanan said before a community meeting to discuss the Christmas Eve massacre.

A comment last week by Covina Police Department Chief Kim Raney that Pardo had a plane ticket for a Christmas morning flight to Canada was "a little incorrect," Buchanan said.

Buchanan said finding a map of Mexico in a second vehicle Pardo rented indicated that he may also have planned on fleeing south of the border.

Buchanan also said Pardo had added his mother and his ex-wife's divorce attorney to the hit list. Buchanan said Pardo knew his mother had been invited to the party and intended to kill her because he felt she sided with his ex-wife in their divorce. Buchanan says Pardo's mother, though, had felt ill and decided to stay home.

LA Times: Suspect Planned to Kill His Own Mother

The Monday night community meeting was called so police could offer "an overview" and "explain to people the services that are available," Buchanan said.

Pardo's body was found with $17,000 in cash "Saran-wrapped to his legs or concealed inside of a girdle that he was wearing," Raney said last week.

Pardo's mother, Nancy Windsor, told the Los Angeles Times that she wanted to put the money in a fund for the victims.

"Anything that our family realized from Bruce's vehicle, from the money on him, whenever that's released, everything is going to my grandchildren. I want it for my grandchildren," Windsor, 72, said.

The killings left as many as 13 children orphaned by the attack, Buchanan said.

Checks for the family can be made to the Ortega Family Fund, care of the Law Offices of Scott J. Nord, 500 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 550, Glendale, Calif. 91203, Nord announced Monday.

The family is not able to accept non-monetary donations. Nord suggests anyone wanting to make such donations should make them to charity in the name of the family.

Nord also asked that the privacy of the family be respected to give them a chance to grieve.

One young girl who survived the massacre said that "I will still believe in Santa Claus, but I won't open the door to anyone.

Pardo, who lost his job in July and whose divorce was finalized about a week before Christmas, started shooting almost immediately after walking through the front door of the two-story home at 1129 E. Knollcrest Drive Christmas Eve.

With one of four semiautomatic handguns, Pardo shot an 8-year-girl in the face, then continued firing on the annual holiday gathering of about 25 members of the Ortega family. Once emptying the guns, he used a sort of homemade flame-thrower to set the house on fire.

Pardo changed into street clothes, then drove a rented car to his brother's home in Sylmar, where he committed suicide.

Among those believed to have been killed were the 45-year-old gunman's 43-year-old ex-wife, Sylvia Ortega, and her parents, Joseph Ortega, 80, and his wife Alicia, 70.

Covina police believe that three of Sylvia's four siblings, James Ortega, 52; Charles Ortega, 50; and Alicia Ortiz, 46, were killed, together with James' wife, Teresa Ortega, 51; Charles' wife, Cheri Ortega, 45; and Alicia's son, Michael Ortiz, 17.

Coroner's investigators are working to positively identify the remains via dental records, since the bodies were badly burned.

Police were baffled by the intensity of the violence. Pardo apparently had no criminal record. Attorneys who represented the ex-couple in their divorce said Sylvia Ortega did not express any fears that her husband might turn violent.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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