After this unspeakable tragedy, a community tries to pick up the pieces.
We can't stop thinking about the Christmas Eve family massacre that left countless lives shattered forever. Bruce Pardo donned a Santa Claus suit and killed nine members of the Ortega family during a Christmas party at a home where the close-knit family gathered each year. He later shot himself.
Here are the latest developments in the case:
• Covina police held a community meeting Monday and said they believe that Bruce Pardo, who killed nine people at a Christmas Eve party, also intended to kill his mother and his estranged wife's attorney. His mother was supposed to attend the party but didn't due to illness. A second car rented by Pardo was found outside his estranged wife's attorney's home.• Covina police said Monday that Pardo appeared to have planned the attacks since at least June, when he began buying handguns.
• At the meeting, David Singer, a psychiatrist and volunteer trauma therapist, advised parents on how to talk to children who might be confused and frightened by the idea of Santa Claus committing such a horrible crime. "He was so full of hate that he had to disguise his hate by dressing up as someone full of love -- Santa Claus," Singer said.
• The 8-year-old who was shot in the face when she went to the door to greet "Santa" has reportedly been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Her mother is the one who made the courageous 911 call.
• Police believe the dead include Sylvia Pardo (the ex-wife of Bruce Pardo), Sylvia Pardo's two brothers and their wives, her sister, and a 17-year-old nephew, as well as her parents. Police are expected to ID the victims this week through dental records.
• At least 13 young people were orphaned by the horrific attack, according to a family attorney, and two others lost one parent.
• The rented compact car Pardo had driven to his former in-laws house was rigged to set off 500 rounds of ammunition and later exploded outside his brother's home. No one was injured. The second rental car found outside his ex-wife's attorney's home in Glendale, California contained no explosives, but did contain maps, clothing, and a fuel tank.
• Pardo had a 9-year-old son, Matthew, by a former girlfriend, Elena Lucano. He had not seen the child for years, but apparently was claiming him as a dependent for tax purposes. The boy was left severely brain damaged as a toddler when he fell into a backyard swimming pool in January of 2001, while Pardo was alone with him at his former home in Woodland Hills. Reportedly when Pardo's ex Sylvia found out about his son, it led to their split.
• Scott J. Nord, an attorney for the family, said relatives "are going to need financial help ... because this is going to be a massive, massive funeral cost." Donations for the Ortega family can be sent in
their name, care of Scott J. Nord, to 500 North Brand Boulevard, Suite
550, Glendale, California 91203. The family requests that any non-monetary donations be made to a charity of choice in the name of the family.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the members of the Ortega family. We cannot even imagine what they are going through right now.