Merry Christmas…Run and Hide! The Pardo Murders

December 14, 2016

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

pardo000I have never been a huge fan of Christmas.  Obviously Halloween is the better holiday — there could be a whole article on the reasons why, but even without the comparison I have a tough time with this holiday.  (It doesn’t help that the two most embarrassing moments of my life have happened due to this holiday) but I also don’t get all giddy about lights, trees, traditions, or parties.  It’s not Christmas parties in general that I am opposed to, but simply the quantity of events that are squeezed into this month like fat circus clowns in a small car.  That being said, there has never been a party that I have attended that has come close to the horrors of the annual Christmas Eve party of the Pardo family in 2008.


Bruce and Sylvia Pardo were married in January of 2006.  Their marriage started off rocky as it was discovered 010108brucepardosantathat Bruce was hiding a child from a previous relationship.  Their relationship spiraled downhill for many reasons and the couple divorced in June 2008.  Bruce was court ordered to pay large sums of child support for his and Sylvia’s three children.  He claimed to a friend that she “was taking him to the cleaners.”  By Christmas, Bruce had finally had enough.


At the height of the party at Sylvia’s home, 25 people were enjoying egg nog and dancing when a knock at the door stopped the festivities.  An 8 year old girl attending the party answered the door to see Bruce Pardo dressed in full Santa garb… she was thrilled to see Kris Kringle right before he drew one of his 4 guns and shot the child directly in the face.  From there panic reigned.  People hid under furniture and escaped any way they could – including windows.  Pardo opened fire and then turned on his home-made flame thrower.  As he stalked through the house firing bullets and bursts of flames, people fled down the streets screaming.  Either a neighbor or escaped survivor called the police who found the house ablaze with flames flickering up to 50 feet into the air.  After almost two hours, the flames were extinguished and the bodies of nine people were found either burned, shot, or methodically executed.

These are the remains of the burned home in Covina, Calif., Friday, Dec. 26, 2008, that was set on fire during a Christmas Eve murder rampage. Bruce Pardo, dressed as Santa, shot indiscriminately at partygoers and destroyed his former in-laws' house with a homemade blowtorch, ultimately leaving nine people dead before killing himself. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) Original Filename: Santa_Shooting_LA105.jpg

Bruce Pardo had escaped the house but was later found dead in his brother’s home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  The child who was shot at the door survived, but had extreme facial damage due to the attack.



Name Age Relationship Cause of death
Sylvia Ortega Pardo 43 Bruce Jeffrey Pardo’s ex-wife Gunshot wound
Alicia Sotomayor Ortega 70 Sylvia Pardo’s mother Gunshot wound to the abdomen
Joseph S. Ortega 80 Sylvia Pardo’s father Multiple gunshot wounds
Charles Ortega 49 Sylvia Pardo’s brother
Cheri Lynn Ortega 45 Charles Ortega’s wife
James Ortega 51 Sylvia Pardo’s brother
Teresa Ortega 52 James Ortega’s wife
Alicia Ortega Ortiz 46 Sylvia Pardo’s sister
Michael Andre Ortiz 17 Alicia Ortiz’s son Died in the fire


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