OKLAHOMA CITY - A California family is trying to recover from an unthinkable massacre.
Bruce Pardo dressed as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and opened fire on his ex-wife's family in California. Nine people were killed and then he killed himself.
Some of the survivors and one victim spent many years in Oklahoma before moving to California. Now their friends are asking for your generosity.
It's impossible to comprehend the terror, the loss and the pain.
"I think of it like her entire family tree was pretty much wiped out in one night and I can't imagine what that would be like," friend Justin Westphalen said.
Celena Castillo (formerly Orza) and her brother Sal managed to escape when their mother's ex-husband showed up at the family Christmas party, dressed as Santa, and started shooting. Then he set the house on fire. So, many of Celena's loved ones are gone.
"It was her mother, her maternal grandparents, I believe it was a couple aunts and a couple uncles and one of the cousins as well," friend Kiley Ellegard said.
What makes this even more difficult is that Celena's father died in a car accident 20 years ago.
Celena's high school friends are asking you to feel for the family and help out. They're raising money and collecting gift cards to give to them.
"That's just what you do, someone's going through something there's an opportunity, help them out she needs word to get spread and she doesn't need to be the one calling everybody," Ellegard said.
The family will likely need assistance for years to come. The massacre left more than a dozen kids without parents.
"I think we all have a responsibility whether you know her or not," Westphalen said.
Donations or cards for the family can be mailed to:
Ortega Family Fund
C/o Law Offices of Scott J. Nord
500 N. Brand Blvd. Suite 550
Glendale, CA 91203
You can also bring gifts cards, notes, greeting cards or checks to The Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist in Edmond.
Or, send an email to Kiley Ellegard at Smile4meki@aol.com.