Santa Claus Killer Murders 8 In L.A. Tragedy

In a scene out of a horror movie, a man dressed as Santa Claus arrived at a Christmas party, opened fire, and then set the house ablaze.

45-year-old Bruce Jeffrey Pardo was recently divorced and had lost his job as an aerospace engineer when he arrived at his former in-laws' home near Los Angeles on Christmas eve. After shooting the little girl who answered the door, Pardo opened fire on the party and then set the house on fire. He's believed to have killed his ex-wife and her parents, although the other victims have yet to be identified.

The majority of guests managed to escape, fleeing to neighbors' homes. Pardo himself eluded cops, but was later found dead of a gunshot wound at his brother's home 25 miles away. Acquaintances were shocked, describing the killer as "an unassuming, religious man, who tended to his garden and served regularly as an usher at evening Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose" and "'the nicest guy you could imagine.'" Police say a search of Pardo's home has revealed evidence that the attack was pre-planned.

Man in Santa suit kills 8 at Calif. holiday party, police say [Los Angeles Times]