More Bodies Found in Ashes of Home Where Man in Santa Suit Opened Fire, Killing at Least 3
Coroner's officials say there are "several" more bodies in the ashes of a home in suburban Los Angeles that caught fire after a man in a Santa suit began shooting during a Christmas Eve party, leaving at least three dead.
The bodies were too badly burned to immediately determine whether they died in the shootings or the fire, according to Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. "We have multiple bodies inside," Winter said. "They're extremely charred and burned."
Police say 45-year-old Jeffrey Pardom, who was suffering marital problems, opened fire at the gathering of about 25 people at his family member's home. Pardom was later found dead of an apparent suicide in his brother's home in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles Thursday. Police would not say how he died.
"He was going through some type of marital problems, and we believe that this residence is a relative's residence," Lt. Pat Buchanan said.
The gunman arrived at the party late Wednesday and immediately opened fire with a handgun, Buchanan said. Witnesses told police that the man took off the Santa suit and left the scene in street clothes.
Authorities say three others were injured, including an 8-year-old girl and a woman in her 20s who suffered gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening.
A third victim reportedly ran upstairs in the house and jumped from a second-story window to escape the attack, breaking her ankle during the fall, MyFOXLA reported.
The attacker was reportedly throwing molotov cocktails, which may have set off the blaze, witnesses told MYFOXLA.
Police received several 911 calls with reports of shots fired at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night, and were still hearing gunshots after they arrived and found the house in flames, Buchanan said.
At first, firefighters were held back by police because shots were still being fired, though it may have been ammunition burning in the blaze, fire Captain Mike Brown said.
Firefighters had extinguished the blaze by about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, fire Captain Mike Brown said.
The two-story home on a cul-de-sac was destroyed in the quiet suburb 25 miles east of Los Angeles.