Tuesday’s column

What kind of monster dresses as Santa Claus and shoots an 8-year- old girl in the face as she expectantly greets him at the front door on Christmas Eve?

What kind of monster systematically executes nine people with semiautomatic handguns, takes out a homemade flamethrower festooned with Christmas wrapping and burns a two-story house to the ground?

What kind of monster takes out a whole family gathered together to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace?

What kind of monster rigs his rental car to explode with the hope that more victims will be added to the unfathomable death toll?

What kind of monster could be so enraged by a failed marriage and an acrimonious divorce that he could be driven to commit the most evil acts imaginable?

Those questions have been on my mind since Christmas Day. It was then we first learned that Bruce Pardo, 45, of Montrose killed nine members of the same family who had gathered at a Covina home on Knollcrest Drive.

An explosion from the blaze Pardo set off seared the Santa suit to his flesh. His getaway to Moline, Ill., or Davenport, Iowa, became unlikely.

Pardo, who spent months planning his attack, slipped past police responding to the horrific scene and made his way to a brother’s home in Sylmar.

The questions began to form in the minds of first responders who spent early Christmas morning grappling with the monster’s appetite for destruction.

But the monster did not stick around to answer the questions. The monster took the coward’s way out. He saved the last semi-automatic round for himself, completing the purchase of his one-way ticket to hell.

As a result, there is no accounting for the pure evil of the monster other than facts that could apply to anyone.

The monster lived among us.

The monster had a family.

The monster felt affection for his dog.

The monster achieved high grades in high school.

The monster attended college.

The monster worked as a software engineer.

The monster’s friends recalled him as quiet and unassuming.

The monster spent his Sunday evenings ushering the children’s Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose.

The monster wished acquaintances Merry Christmas.

The questions and the irrelevance of the answers loomed large on Knollcrest Drive on Monday morning — five days after the massacre that likely claimed the lives of Jose and Alicia Ortega, two of their sons, two of their daughters-in-law, two daughters and a grandson.

I went there hoping to learn something — anything.

I left there with a profound feeling of despair and sadness for a loving and close-knit family taken out by a selfish, soulless and sociopathic monster who turned a day of joy into something we will never understand or comprehend.

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  • ANON

    The stress of living in the US today turns some of the most level headed people to disregard any and all principles of basic human rights. I would not be surprised if the troubles we are all facing got the best of him not to mention whatever else that was going on. Truly tragic in every way imaginable, Hollywood couldn’t write this one up.

  • phoebe marrall

    In this column you repeatedly use the word “monster” in reference to Bruce Pardo. Could you have substituted “mentally ill” for “monster”? I am glad you used the word “sociopathic”. The crime was monstrous; the man had to have underlying pathology.

  • monster2

    Why you call people names? You don’t know what he was going through and what drove him to behave the way he did. Everyone who talks about him said he was sane and didn’t show any outward signs of being angry or mad or being a monster. Maybe something terrible happened where he just snapped. He, just as the others was a victim of something and you got no right to call him names. Hope his family sues you for saying he was a monster without having any proof of it. Why you so quick to judge someone? Aint we all supposed to forgive?

  • Gordon Gekko

    I do not now or ever condone the shooting of an 8-year old child for any reason. However, after making that clear, I will say this:

    Before you go judging people you know nothing about, why don’t you ask yourself THESE questions:

    What kind of monster marries for money because she can only make $31,000 a year as a secretary and can’t support her 3 kids without finding a cash cow?

    What kind of monster leaves the man she pledged to be with until death did she part because “He didn’t want to share his paychecks with her”?

    What kind of monster demands $3166 a month in “spousal support” from the husband she abandoned, who now has no job and cannot even afford to support himself, even though she was fully capable of working and had a job herself?

    What kind of greedy monster chooses to spend the money she stole from the husband she abandoned on “a new 2009 luxury car, several days of gambling in Las Vegas, out dining at finer restaurants, a trip to Primm Casino-Resort, purchased golf school lessons, a recent vacation to Magic Mountain Amusement Park and visited massage parlors”, all the while leaving him with nothing but crushing debt and a broken heart?

    What kind of monster abandons a man, takes him for everything he is worth and then turns his own MOTHER against him?

    What kind of monster tries to get a court to award her child support from the destitute man she abandoned for kids who were NOT his and were NOT adopted by him??

    What kind of monster “Christmas shopped and toasted to her new life” to celebrate her raping of the man she married and the final divorce settlement that awarded her $10,000 cash and even the man’s DOG while leaving him with nothing and no one?

    Sylvia Pardo is dead because she was heartless and GREEDY. Plain and simple. SHE was the sociopath. She was the one who was cold and calculated and played with a man’s heart for profit. It seems as though she chose the wrong man this time (he was not the first, either).

    The biggest tragedy in this entire case is that the Divorce lawyer that helped her do it not only survived, but is now taking up collections for a “fund for the family” and will, as a result, yield even MORE profit from an already hellish situation (there is no question such a man will be keeping most of this “fund” for himself). The second biggest is that he didn’t leave Sylvia Pardo alive after he did all this so she could see what it was like to lose your entire family and feel pain herself for once instead celebrating the pain she caused others. Then she could have rolled around in all her money and asked herself if it was really worth it.

    This man wasn’t mentally ill and he wasn’t a sociopath. The evil and greed of Divorce pushed him over the edge and he snapped. If you want to put the blame on someone for this, blame the lawyers who engineered a contentious divorce and then profited from it happening, blame the judges who failed to see through this woman’s scam, and blame a court system that makes it SO easy to not only get a divorce for no reason whenever you feel like it, but to take your spouse to the cleaners when you decide you have used them up for all they are worth.

    Most of all, blame the soulless human garbage named Sylvia Pardo, whose greed and viciousness caused pain for her entire family. Maybe if her parents had raised her not to whore herself out and to learn to stand on her own two feet and EARN her money instead, they would still be alive today. Maybe if her family hadn’t taught her that money was the most important thing in life and instead that loyalty and keeping your promise and loving the person you pledged yourself to was valuable, they would still be here too. But this woman’s greed cost them all, and they all share in the responsibility for what happened.