Warrants in Covina massacre reveal frightening first moments of fear

Reporter Will Bingham of the Daily Bulletin dug up the warrants in Pomona. Amanda Baumfeld put together a look inside the investigation of Bruce Pardo’s rampage on Christmas Eve in Covina. Here’s an excerpt:

COVINA – Just before midnight, the Christmas Eve party at the Ortega home hit full stride when a partygoer announced “Santa is here!”
Santa Claus, clad in a fake beard and wearing the kind of protective eyewear often used at a shooting range, produced a 9mm handgun and indiscriminately opened fire on the Christmas celebration, according to search warrants unsealed in Pomona Superior Court this week.
“I think there is probably a couple reasons (Pardo wore them),” Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said. “Santa wears glasses … on the other hand he may of been thinking of protecting his eyes.”

Here’s the warrants: Link:Covina Christmas Massacre Search Warrants

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Pardo was high on Coke during massacre

An autopsy of Bruce Pardo revealed he was high on cocaine when he shot and killed nine people on Christmas Eve.

Pardo tested positive for cocaine in toxicology reports of his blood and urine, according to a recently released autopsy report by the Los Angles County Department of Coroner.

“A lot would depend on the blood level (of cocaine),” said Police Chief Kim Raney. “It could’ve been something to drive him, to amp him up to get him through that.”

On Christmas Eve, Pardo , dressed as Santa Claus, shot and killed his ex-wife Sylvia Pardo , her parents Joseph and Alicia Ortega and six other family members. He then torched the Knollcrest Drive home where the victims had gathered for an annual holiday celebration.

Pardo later shot himself to death inside his brother’s home in Sylmar.

There are some other interesting details in the report 

Continue reading “Pardo was high on Coke during massacre” »

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Thursday fish wrap

Octomom update: She’s out of the hospital and news crews are fleeing toward her home in Whittier. State wants to know how she got so pregnant..

Landlord wants rent from massacre victim. Local media picked this one up…interesting take on Fox 11 this a.m. — reporter led with “This story, if accurate, …”

Another teen attacked in Baldwin Park..

Jerry Brown speaks at the Quiet Canon. He thinks federal bailout money should be applied to criminal justice programs in California.

Suspect hits deputy with vehicle in Rosemead after dispute over iPOD.

Woman has her purse taken as she stands in front of home.

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Ortega family memorials

COVINA – The police department announced funeral arrangements for nine members of the Ortega family who were killed during the Christmas Massacre.

A prayer vigil is set for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, 724 E. Bonita Avenue in San Dimas.

Friday, a funeral mass will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. It will be followed by a procession to the grave site at Forest Law Memorial Park, 21300 Via Verde in Covina.

Following the burial , a reception is planned for 2 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 344 W. Workman Avenue in Covina.

Nine members of the family were killed on Christmas Eve when Bruce Pardo dressed as Santa Claus burst into their holiday party and opened fire. Pardo, whose ex-wife and in-laws were at the party, then sprayed fuel into the house, setting it on fire.

Pardo, who was badly burned in the attack, later killed himself.

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Return of the King returns to Winner’s Circle

I’ve been to lots of events at Santa Anita through the years. None was as emotional as Thursday’s second race, which featured Return of the King, a scrappy 7-year-old chestnut gelding with Martin Pedroza aboard.

The connections, Pedroza, trainer David Bernstein and family and friends who filled in for deceased owners Joseph, James and Charles Ortega, saw their horse glide to a come-from-behind victory. They shed tears of joy and sadness.

Jockey Martin Pedroza told me he thought he was guided by angels throughout the race.

Jockey Danny Sorenson told me that despite the competitive nature of the racing business, most of his peers wanted to see Pedroza win.

“It’s like Seabiscuit,” he said. “You want to root for the underdog.”

Here’s the top of Friday’s story:


ARCADIA – Tears freely flowed Thursday at Santa Anita when Return of the King stepped into the Winner’s Circle.

Friends and family members of Joseph, James and Charles Ortega had come to see their seven-year-old chestnut gelding race for perhaps the last time from the barn of trainer David Bernstein.

The three Ortegas were among nine family members slain at a Covina home on Christmas Eve by Bruce Pardo, the estranged husband of Joseph’s daughter Sylvia.

“This was special,” Bernstein said. “It was hard to keep from crying from the moment he left the paddock.”

Here’s the photo caption:  

Jockey Martin Pedroza on Return of the King, center, owned by James
Ortega, takes the lead as they win the 2nd race at Santa Anita Park
Thursday, January 8, 2009 in Arcadia. The Ortega family was killed
during the Christmas Eve massacre in Covina. (SGVN/Staff Photo by
Sarah Reingewirtz/SVCITY)


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Details for Santa Anita fundraiser

This comes from Jerry Rocha, a friend of the Ortega family who is putting together a Santa Anita fundraiser:

Rocha Family and Friends Day at the Races Presents Ortega Family Benefit (Profit from proceeds will go to Ortega Family Trust) February 28th, 2009 Santa Anita Race Track Arcadia, CA Gates Open at 10:30am First Post: 12:30pm Cost: $25.00 adults (18 and over) $10.00 children (17 and under) Includes: Admission, parking, racing program and steak lunch R.S.V.P. by Feb. 15th Jerry Rocha 626-945-6729 jrocha@dtsone.com Jim Rocha 909-267-8623 jimr@adamscampbell.com

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Ortega’s horse Return of the King returns to track this p.m.

Return of the King, the JJO Stables horse owned by Joseph and James Ortega, runs the second race at Santa Anita this afternoon. Post time is about 1:30 p.m.

Here’s today’s program. Return of the King is the 5/2 morning line favorite.

The Ortegas were among nine people slain in Covina on Christmas Eve by Bruce Pardo. All the slain were members of the same family and relatives of Pardo’s estranged wife Sylvia.

As for the race, its a 6 furlong claimer, with prices between $40,000 and $35,000.  — which means the horse is for sale and could be claimed by another owner this afternoon.

Martin Pedroza will ride. The consensus of handicappers working for the SGVN predicts Return of the King will find the winner’s circle.



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The Covina Massacre

We’ve rounded up al our coverage of the Covina Christmas Eve slayings in one spot on the Internet. You can find the stories here.

Here’s the lead in:

On Christmas Eve, 2008, Bruce Pardo dressed in a Santa Claus suit, armed himself with guns and drove to a house in Covina where his ex-wife, Syliva Pardo, was celebrating with her family. When an 8-year-old girl answered his knock, he shot her in the face. He continued inside, executing Sylvia and other members of her family. He then sprayed fuel in the home, prompting it to catch fire. Eight people died there. Pardo later killed himself, closing out one of the most violent outbursts in the history of the San Gabriel Valley.

Among the Interactive extras on the page are the chilling 911 call from Sylvia’s sister and portions of the divorce records.

We’ve also rounded up photographs, videos, and summaries of the evidence.

Also on the site, is Amanda Baumfeld’s latest story regarding plans for a private memorial for the victims.

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