We can close Christmas out with the horror story of Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, 45, of Sylmar, California, who went dressed as Santa Claus to a Christmas eve party in his old neighborhood in Covina and shot several people
, eight of them to death, set the place on fire, and then shot himself dead. (Two girls, aged 8 and 16, are in the hospital with gunshot wounds.) The house is believed to be that of Pardo's former in-laws; his wife divorced him in September. Pardo is said to have worked in the aerospace industry until losing his job recently. "He was the nicest guy you could imagine," said an acquaintance from his church. "Always a pleasure to talk to, always a big smile."