With Christmas just about a month away now, it’s getting to be that time where we’re all going to be talking about killer Santas in the movies. But what about killer Santas in the real world? Has anyone ever actually dressed up as Kris Kringle and gone on a killing spree, ala Billy in Silent Night, Deadly Night?
That’s what we’re here to talk about tonight, and I think you can guess the answer to that question, being that I wouldn’t exactly have a post to make here if the answer was no!
Though killers dressed as Santa Claus have been depicted in the world of fictional entertainment since the early ’70s, with the very first one popping up in the original Tales From The Crypt movie, the earliest real life instance of a man donning the red suit for a night of mayhem and murder that my research was able to dig up was actually not until 2008, when a man by the name of Bruce Pardo became perhaps the very first person to turn Santa into a killer…
On December 24th, 2008, 45-year-old Bruce Jeffrey Pardo knocked at the door of his ex-wife’s family’s house, where a Christmas Eve party was being held. When an 8-year-old girl answered the door, she saw Pardo standing in front of her, dressed as Santa Claus and carrying a gift-wrapped present in one hand, and a 9mm handgun in the other.
He immediately shot the little girl in the face, and began pumping bullets into the other 20+ party-goers. Pardo then unwrapped the ‘gift’ he brought with him: a homemade flamethrower, which he used to burn the house to the ground.
Nine people in total were killed, including Pardo’s ex-wife and her mother, father, sister and two brothers. Three more were injured, including the 8-year-old girl, who thankfully survived the gunshot to the face.
The house engulfed in flames, Pardo took off the Santa outfit, fled the scene and drove to his brother’s house, about 30 minutes away, where he fired a fatal gunshot wound into his own head. His body was found covered in third degree burns, and portions of the Santa suit had actually melted onto him. Though his initial plan was to flee to Canada after the murders, it’s likely that his severe burns resulted in him pulling the trigger on himself.
Why was Pardo wearing a Santa suit, when he committed the murders? Allegedly because his wife’s family had a tradition of a neighbor dressing up as Santa Claus, and visiting their house on Christmas Eve. As if that story needed to get any sicker.
A very similar tragedy befell a Texas family on Christmas day, in 2011, when 56-year-old Aziz Yazdanpanah entered his ex-wife’s apartment, dressed as Santa, and fatally shot not only his ex-wife, but also their two teenage children and three other relatives. Much like Pardo, Aziz shot himself after taking the lives of his family members.
Reports indicate that the family had been opening Christmas presents at the time they were murdered, and Aziz’s niece had sent out a text message to a friend shortly before, expressing her disgust over the fact that Aziz was unexpectedly at the apartment, wearing a Santa suit and trying to “win father of the year.”
Aziz and his wife had split up earlier in the year, and he was not doing well financially, as he had been unemployed for nearly 10 years. A family friend indicated that Aziz was jealous of his wife’s success on her own, after they split up, and pointed to that as a possible motive for the murders.
On January 6th of 2012, in Israel, the head of the Orthodox Church Association, 51-year-old Gabriel Cadis (above), was stabbed in the street during a parade, in celebration of the Nativity of Jesus. Eyewitnesses at the scene reported seeing a man dressed in a Santa suit stabbing Cadis in the back, and then fleeing the scene. Cadis died of his injuries shortly thereafter.
Though the Santa killer in this case still hasn’t been identified, there are several suspects, and it’s likely that Cadis’ murder was orchestrated by a man he was in a real estate dispute with.
Well, this has been a depressing post, eh? Let’s end things on a positive note, with a reminder that not everyone who dresses up as Santa is an evil, bad man. Remember that, kiddies!