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Coroner: Victims of Christmas Eve shooting died of multiple injuries

January 2, 2009 |  1:21 pm


Autopsies for the nine people killed in a Christmas Eve shooting and explosion in Covina have been completed, but no primary cause of death has been cited for any of the victims, Los Angeles County Coroner officials said today.

All the victims died of multiple injuries, including thermal burns and gunshot wounds, as well as smoke inhalation, said Coroner spokesman Ed Winter, adding that they could not determine which victims died from their wounds or from the fire.

Family members have said that at least one victim, 17-year-old Michael Ortiz, died from the fire caused by the explosion and was not shot.

Police said Bruce Jeffrey Pardo drove to his former in-laws' house, fired repeatedly at those gathered at a Christmas Eve party and ignited a blaze.

Although coroner's officials still have not positively identified the victims, family members say Pardo's ex-wife, Sylvia Ortega; her parents, Joseph Ortega, 80, and Alicia Ortega, 70; her two brothers and their wives; her sister, Alicia Ortiz; and Alicia Ortiz's son, Michael, died in the shooting.

Police said Pardo was severely burned in the fire and drove to his brother's home 40 miles away in Sylmar, where he shot himself. Authorities later found Pardo with $17,000 in cash strapped to his body and airline tickets for an out-of-state flight, investigators said.

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: Dolores Villa, right, of Palmdale breaks down at the scene of the Christmas Eve massacre in Covina . Her aunt and uncle owned the house and were among those killed during the rampage by Bruce Jeffrey Pardo. Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times