Dec 25, 8:24 AM EST
'Santa' opens fire at Calif. party; 3 dead
COVINA, Calif. (AP) -- A man dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at a Christmas Eve party in a suburban Los Angeles home that subsequently caught fire, leaving three people dead, police said.
The man arrived at the party in Covina late Wednesday and immediately opened fire with a handgun, police Lt. Pat Buchanan said.
Buchanan says three bodies were found after the fire was put out. He could not say how the fire started or how the three people died.
Buchanan says 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.
Police are seeking a man they are calling a person of interest, 45-year-old Bruce Jeffrey Pardo. Buchanan said Pardo is the estranged husband of a person who may have been at the party.
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, authorities said.
Firefighters had extinguished the blaze by about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, fire Captain Mike Brown said.
There was significant damage to the two-story home on a cul-de-sac in Covina, a quiet suburb 25 miles east of Los Angeles.