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Youngest victim of massacre mourned

January 5, 2009 8:48:54 AM PST
Winter break ended, and classes started once again Monday morning, but 17-year-old Michael Ortiz was not in attendance. Michael was the youngest victim killed during a Christmas Eve massacre in Covina.Michael, 17, and his mother were two of nine victims killed at a Christmas Eve party. Bruce Pardo, 45, entered the party dressed as Santa and began shooting indiscriminately, then set the house on fire.

Michael's mother died from a gunshot wound, and Michael died from smoke inhalation. Two of Michael's sisters were able to escape.

He had a lot of friends, he was on the baseball team and he was set to graduate in June.

"It's was kind of sad because he's a cool friend," said Osbaldo Ramirez, one of Michael's friends.

Michael Ortiz was a fixture at the Ontario High School, captain of the baseball team and described as a good student and friend.

Kimberly Gonzalez, a junior at the school, said Michael was the teacher's aide in her first period crime science class.

"I just met him this year, but I've really come close to him," she said. "And like the way he died, is just even harder."

The district superintendent was on campus on Monday, along with a group of grief counselors to help students deal with the tragedy.

"We've been in contact with the families, and we're going to provide as much support as we can here," said principal Rod Hust from Ontario High School.

The associated student body club at the high school has already said it plans to hold fundraisers to help the family.

A memorial fund has been set up at the Chaffey Federal Credit Union in the Inland Empire to help the family of Michael Ortiz.

If you would like to contribute the name of the fund is the Michael Ortiz Memorial Fund.


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