Christmas Eve killer visited Iowa in October - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Christmas Eve killer visited Iowa in October

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COTTER (KWWL) -- The so-called "Santa shooter" visited Iowa last October, just two months before his rampage where he killed nine people in California.

On Monday, California authorities released information that Bruce Pardo planned to escape the crime by fleeing to Iowa and not Canada and first thought.  Early reports indicated Pardo had plans to visit Columbus Junction, but now it turns out his long-time friend lived in another town nearby.  Reporters from KWQC-TV (NBC) & WQAD-TV (ABC) found Pardo's friend living in Cotter, Iowa which is about 30 miles south of Iowa City.

Reporters attempted to speak with Pardo's childhood friend, Steve Erwin, who lives in Cotter just outside of Columbus Junction.  Erwin wasn't home and his wife would not talk to reporters. 

Police say Pardo had plane tickets for Moline and would end up in Cotter at the Erwin home to visit a high school friend.  Steve Erwin spoke to a reporter from the LA Times, Tami Abdollah. She says, "Pardo seemed a little sad and they were waiting for him, him and his wife in Iowa they had warm clothes for him. And they're six children were waiting to play math games and talk again like when he visited most recently in October."

Published reports say Erwin did speak with LA police and did confirm that Pardo did have plans to visit him in Iowa. Erwin is not under investigation.

In other developments Tuesday, Police in California say Pardo had plotted the attack for six months. They say he had also planned to kill his mother and his ex-wife's divorce attorney.

Covina Police Chief Kim Raney says 45-year-old Bruce Pardo left a rented vehicle near the attorney's home in Glendale the day of the shooting, but never made it to the vehicle.

That day Pardo put on a Santa Claus suit, entered the home of his ex-wife's parents and opened fire, killing nine people, then torched the house.

He was burned and later killed himself at his brother's home.

Police say Pardo knew his mother had been invited to the party and intended to kill her because he felt she had sided with his ex-wife in their divorce.

Pardo's mother, though, had felt ill and decided to stay home.

Online Producer:  JJ Murray

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