Man in Santa suit kills eight, self in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} Stinging from an acrimonious divorce, a man plotting revenge against his ex-wife dressed up like Santa, went to his former in-laws Christmas Eve party and slaughtered at least eight people before killing himself hours later, police said Thursday.

The body of Bruce Pardo, 45, was found with self-inflicted gunshot wounds, hours after he had launched an assault on a party hosted by the parents of his ex-wife in the Los Angeles suburb of Covina.

Pardo had knocked on the door of the home in a quiet residential neighborhood in Covina, 23 miles (37 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, just before midnight on Christmas Eve, police lieutenant Pat Buchanan said.

An eight-year-old girl who answered the door was shot in the face but survived before Pardo stormed into the home and began spraying revelers with bullets with a semi-automatic handgun.

After partygoers fled the scene, Pardo torched the house with a bizarre home-made incendiary device before making his getaway.

"We actually believe he was attempting to create an aerosol or some kind of fume that would ignite later," AFP quoted Buchanan as saying.

Bruce Pardo’s ex-wife and her parents were believed to be among the dead, AP reported.

Around 80 firefighters were deployed to tackle the fire that destroyed the house. Popping sounds, possibly ammunition rounds exploding, were heard through the blaze.

After the fire was extinguished, rescuers found three bodies in the basement, Buchanan said.

Investigators planned to return to the scene Friday and sift through the ashes of the home, which Pardo set ablaze using a bizarre homemade device that sprayed flammable liquid.

"Christmases were that special time of the year, it meant so much to them," Rosa Ordaz, a family friend of the victims, told KCBS-TV.

In past years, a neighbor dressed as Santa Claus and entertained guests. But the neighbor had moved away and there was no Santa - until Pardo arrived around 11:30 p.m.

Police said Pardo, who had no criminal record and no history of violence, had recently worked in the aerospace industry.

Following the shootings, Pardo quickly got out of the Santa suit and drove off, witnesses told police. He went to his brother’s home about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles. No one was home, so Pardo let himself in, police said.

Police were called to the home early Thursday, where officers found Pardo dead of a single bullet to the head. Two handguns were found at the scene, and two more were discovered in the wreckage of his former in-laws house.

A car that Pardo apparently parked near his brother's home exploded Thursday evening and more ammunition was found in it, Los Angeles police Sgt. Francisco Wheeling said. She had no immediate details on what set off the explosion. No one was hurt.

Investigators seeking further information about Pardo’s motives have begun searching his home in the suburban Los Angeles community of Montrose.