Tonite’s news about a man who dressed up like Santa to kill 8 at his former in-laws’ house is disturbing.  It was premeditated, indiscriminate killing of anyone who happened to be there, not the former wife.  (The 1-year marriage recently ended in a bitter divorce.)   Then he went to his brother’s house and killed himself.

Not much is known about Bruce Pardo yet.  A thoroughly unremarkable man, with “no criminal record and no history of violence. … Police said Pardo had recently worked is the aerospace industry.”

What is clear is that he was a private person.  The neighbors remembered seeing him “often walking a dog around the neighborhood and working on his lawn.”

Saw, not spoke to.

The next door neighbor did not know him.  Only remembers that “he moved in more than a year ago with a woman and a child … and the woman later moved out with the child.”

Saw, not spoke to.

Also disturbing for me in the news article was that he was involved in his church, but  not known.

He also served regularly as an usher at evening Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Jan Detanna, the head usher at the church, was stunned when told about the violence.  “I’m just — this is shocking,” Detanna told the Times. “He was the nicest guy you could imagine. Always a pleasure to talk to, always a big smile.”

“Served regularly. … Always a pleasure to talk to.”  Did the church know who this man was?  Did he have any friends there?  Who at the church knew he was going through a divorce, much less a bitter one?  What were the church elders doing  to protect this man spiritually?

Who is there that is so private no one knows them?  Who is dying inside, with no one to turn to?

You probably don’t have a potential mass murderer in your congregation, but you probably have hurting people.  What will you do to the Bruces in your midst?


Friday update:  Seems Mr Pardo was a regular attender and volunteer at church, but no one really knew him.  His life was coming unhinged, but few knew. The head usher didn’t know Pardo was going through a divorce.

He’d been laid off in August, but was unable to obtain unemployment benefits.  At about the same time, in June, the court ordered him to pay $1,785 a month in spousal support and put him on a payment plan of $450 a month for $3,570 that was unpaid – $2235 a month, plus $2700 a month mortgage, plus other expenses; he ran a monthly deficit of $2,678. Bruce Pardo complained in a court declaration that Sylvia Pardo was living with her parents, was not paying rent, but had spent lavishly on a luxury car, gambling trips to Las Vegas, meals at fine restaurants, massages and golf lessons.

The divorce settlement also took away the big, brown Akita dog he doted on and spent time with. The terms of the divorce were finalized on Dec 18. It looks like Bruce was alone on Christmas, and it became too much.