Police sort out killer's plans

GLENDALE — The unfolding case of Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, who on Christmas Eve killed nine people at a holiday party while dressed as Santa Claus, continued to unravel Tuesday, with police saying a family attorney and Glendale resident may have been one of the intended targets.

Glendale police, acting on a tip from neighbors, found a rental car Saturday night that Pardo had left on Glenoaks Boulevard. Police evacuated the north Glendale neighborhood for about five hours. At the time, police did not know why the car was parked there, less than six miles from Pardo’s Montrose home and far from the Covina house where the murders occurred.

The ensuing investigation revealed that Pardo may have been planning to kill Scott Nord, his ex-wife Sylvia Pardo’s attorney, after the shooting spree in Covina. Sylvia Pardo died in the Covina house during the shooting spree Dec. 24.

But Bruce Jeffrey Pardo did not make it to Glendale that night. He killed himself at his brother’s home in Sylmar, perhaps due to burns he suffered using a homemade flame-thrower to torch his in-laws’ Covina house, police said.

Initially, police suspected that his rental car may have been packed with explosives after noticing several suspicious packages sitting in the 1999 Toyota RAV4. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad determined after 9 p.m. Saturday that the vehicle did not pose a risk, and Covina police trucked off the evidence to sift for clues.

Bruce Jeffrey Pardo left the rented vehicle containing maps, clothes and an extra fuel tank, suggesting that “his next destination was Glendale,” Covina Police Chief Kim Raney said in a release Monday.

Nord, 37, declined to comment on Pardo’s intentions, but has set up a fund to help offset the funeral costs for his former client and others who perished in the shooting spree.

Since he established the fund Monday, Nord has received donations from across the country, including non-monetary offers that he has been forced to turn down.

“People offered clothes, books, day care,” he said. “People have been super generous, but we don’t have the ability to accept that.”

Nord said there was no indication from Bruce Jeffrey Pardo that he — or anyone else — was a target.

“There was nothing in any of the [divorce] proceedings that gave any indication any of this was remotely anticipated,” he said.

Monetary donations can be mailed to the Ortega Family Fund, c/o Law Offices of Scott J. Nord, 500 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 550, Glendale. The fund is named for Sylvia Pardo’s parents, Joseph Ortega, 80, and Alicia Ortega, 70, who also died in the Covina house.

Donations will be accepted “as long as people are generous and continue to contribute,” Nord said.

 JEREMY OBERSTEIN covers business, politics and the foothills. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at jeremy.oberstein@ latimes.com.

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