COVINA, Calif. (AP) - Eight bodies were found Thursday in the ashes of a home where a gunman in a Santa Claus costume opened fire during a Christmas Eve party before setting the house ablaze, police said. Coroner's Lt. Larry Dietz said a ninth body was found Friday morning. None have been identified because of charring.
Officers found the body of suspect Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, 45, at his brother's home early Thursday in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles. Pardo had died from a single gunshot wound to the head, Los Angeles police Sgt. Martin Guerrero said.
"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 in Covina late Wednesday and immediately opened fire with a handgun, Buchanan said.
Raney said he then used a homemade incendiary device to set the home on fire.
Witnesses told police that the man took off the Santa suit and left the scene of the burning house in street clothes.
Jan Gregory, a neighbor, said about 25 people were at the party when the gunshots rang out and people started running from the house.
Buchanan said three other people were injured. A woman in her 20s and an 8-year-old girl had gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening, and a third person had a broken ankle.
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 Covina, a quiet suburb 25 miles east of Los Angeles.
"This neighborhood is really quiet," said Jeffrey Barrientos, who lives half a block from the house that burned. Barrientos said the neighborhood's residents were mostly retirees and elderly people.
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