A man dressed as Santa Claus came fully armed with weapons to murder his ex-wife and her family on Christmas Eve in 2008.
Bruce Pardo used a custom-made Santa suit to conceal his weapons as he turned up at Sylvia Pardo’s parents’ house in Covina, California in the United States.
The 45-year-old massacred nine members of the Ortega family with gunshots before using a homemade flamethrower to set the house on fire.
As the bullets started to fly, some family members managed to survive the attack as they escaped the house to call the police.
The horrific attack started when the family were all gathered together to celebrate the festive season when a little girl shouted: “It’s Santa, It’s Santa.”
Katrina Yuzefpolsky, who was eight at the time, ran towards the man but she was met with the bullet of a handgun that reportedly hit her in the face, according to USA Today.
As Pardo brushed past the girl after shooting her, Katrina’s mother Leticia, who is the sister of Sylvia, ran and grabbed her daughter and fled the house with other family members.
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While Leticia fled to safety with her daughter, Pardo had already begun his rampage on other members of the family.
Loved ones were caught in a panic of trying to save themselves and other family members.
According to the LA Times, Pardo first shot Letica’s two brothers, who fell wounded to the ground.
There were screams of “run” following the first gunshots being fired in the home.
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Irma Chapa Ortega, a first cousin to Letica, spoke about how the two brothers, James and Charles Ortega, tried to get up to stop Pardo after being wounded but they could not stop him.
With the noise of gunshots, the rest of the Ortega divided under the dining room table for cover.
Pardo would go on to murder Slyvia, her 80-year-old father Joseph Ortega, her 70-year-old mother Alice, four of her siblings and two sisters-in-law.
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The youngest victim would be Mr and Mrs Ortega’s grandson, Michael, who was upstairs on the computer when Pardo entered the property.
Pardo would then use a homemade flamethrower from a gas dispenser to burn the home down, which caused an explosion.
In a released 911 call, Letica can be heard saying: “I need someone to come over and help my daughter!
“She’s bleeding. She’s been shot on the side of the face!
Katrina had fortunately moved her head at the last moment and the bullet struck her along the side of her jaw.
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Pardo’s rampage is believed to have been due to his divorce from Sylvia.
He planned on escaping following his horrific attack on the family with police suggesting a plan ticket had been purchased.
However he was badly burned in the explosion and fie he started in the house and suffered second- and third-degree burns on his arms.
Pardo drove 40 miles to his brother’s home in Sylmar, before he later killed himself.
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Due to the fire to the home, the bodies of the deceased family members were badly burned and had to be identified through dental records. It is unknown if the victims died from gunshot wounds or from the blaze.
Having lived through such a horrific event, Leticia has learned to move on from the devastation that Pardo’s actions have had on her family.
Speaking on Where Are They Now – Extra, Leticia said: "This is what he's done. Enough. I'm not going to allow you to continue to consume us with your evilness.
"You don't want that anger to live within you day to day and grow, just like it did with this monster."
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