COVINA, California – A survivor of a horrific shooting at a Christmas Eve party frantically begged an emergency dispatcher for help as she hid in a neighbor's house, her daughter wailing in the background with a gunshot wound to the face, according to a 911 tape released by police Friday.
"He's still shooting out there," the woman sobbed, describing how her ex-brother-in-law was armed and dressed in a Santa suit. "He's shooting my whole family! My mom's house is on fire!"
The tape was released two days after Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, armed with four guns and a fuel-spraying device, killed nine people at his ex-wife's parents' home during a holiday party in Covina. He later killed himself at his brother's home, police said.
The caller was at the party but escaped to a nearby home after Pardo barged in and opened fire. She told the dispatcher her name was Leticia, but her last name could not be heard through her sobs on the noisy 11-minute tape.
"I have a feeling I know who it is," she said, and identified the shooter as her former brother-in-law. "They're going through a divorce right now."
She told the dispatcher that Pardo came to the door dressed in a Santa Claus suit, started shooting and "everyone started panicking and running," diving under the dining room table to hide.
Asked who was at the party, the woman said there were at least 25 people in the house. She listed her husband and two daughters, nephews, nieces and a girlfriend — "that's half my family!" she cried.
The woman and the neighbors saw the shooter "knocking out the lights on the street" and told the dispatcher that he had changed out of the Santa suit.
"We can't allow him to come into this house. We've got to lock all the doors!" she said.
Her daughter had been shot in the side of the face and was bleeding. When the girl started to whimper and wail in pain, the woman comforted her: "It's OK, mami."
The devastation and panic she was feeling was evident in her voice.
"I can't believe that he did this to my family. I just have this feeling in my stomach," she moaned, breaking down. "I'm trying to keep it together here."