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Bruce and Sylvia Pardo started the new year in 2006 with all signs pointing to a bright future — an upcoming marriage, a combined income of about $150,000, half-million-dollar home on a quiet cul-de-sac and a beloved dog, Saki.

But things quickly turned sour and divorce documents paint a bitter picture of Bruce Pardo's increasing desperation as he lost first his wife, then his job and finally the dog. By fall 2008, Pardo was asking a judge to have his ex-wife pay him support and cover his attorney's fees.

Pardo's downward slide ended Christmas Eve, when the 45-year-old electrical engineer donned a Santa suit and massacred nine people at his former in-laws' house in Covina, where a family Christmas party was under way. He then used a homemade device disguised as a present to spray racing fuel that quickly sent the home up in flames.

Pardo had planned to flee to Canada following the killing spree but suffered third-degree burns in the fire — which melted part of the Santa suit to him — and decided to kill himself instead, investigators said. His body, with a bullet wound to the head, was found at his brother's home about 40 miles away.

The rented compact car he had driven to his former in-laws house was rigged to set off 500 rounds of ammunition and later exploded outside his brother's home. No one was injured.

Police found a second car rented by Pardo late Saturday, but Covina police spokesman Lt. Pat Buchanan said the bomb squad did not find any explosives in that vehicle.


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