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Slaying suspect targeted mother, wife's divorce attorney, police say

December 29, 2008 |  6:10 pm

Covina police said today they believe the man in the Santa costume who allegedly killed nine people at a Christmas Eve party also intended to kill his mother and his estranged wife's attorney.

Lt. Pat Buchanan said Bruce Pardo had had a falling out with his mother and felt she was siding with his ex-wife, Sylvia, in their bitter divorce proceeding. Buchanan said Pardo found out his mother was invited to Sylvia's family's Christmas Eve party in Covina and intended to kill her along with others gathered there. His mother, however, did not attend the party because she had the flu.

Detectives also believe that Pardo planned to kill his wife's divorce attorney, Scott J. Nord, and his family. Police found a car belonging to Pardo parked outside the attorney's home in Glendale, Buchanan said. It's unclear exactly how Pardo planned to use the car.

The attorney had no comment.

Covina Police Chief Kim Raney said Pardo had been planning the attack since at least June 2006, purchasing weapons and ammunition from out-of-state sellers. Raney spoke at a community meeting this evening at a local school attended by more than 500 residents.

Raney said it was important that the community began "the healing process" and that Covina should not be defined by the act of violence.

Officials said today that a fund has been set up to aid the family.

At least 13 young people were orphaned after the shooting, and two others lost one parent, according to a family attorney.

The family said donations can be sent to the Ortega Family Fund, C/O Law Offices of Scott J. Nord, 500 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 550, Glendale, CA, 91203.

The family requests that any non-monetary donations be made to a charity of choice in the name of the family.

--Ari B. Bloomekatz and Tami Abdollah