Eight Dead in Southern California Salon Shooting

October 13, 2011  |  

A custody battle may be the cause of a bizarre shooting rampage at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, CA, that left eight dead yesterday.  A gunman unexpectedly burst through the shop’s doors and began shooting, and then stepped outside, shot a man sitting in a truck in the parking lot and sped off.

According to the Associated Press, One man and five women died at the salon, another man and one woman died after being transported to a nearby hospital, and one woman remains in critical condition. The names of the victims have yet to be released.

No official motive has been determined for suspect Scott Dekraai, 42, who was arrested about a half-mile from the crime scene. Friends of the salon owner and other employees said Dekraai was the ex-husband of a stylist who worked there and one of the licensed cosmetologists at the salon was listed as Michelle Dekraai.

Kari Salveson of Los Alamitos, who attended a service for the victims at SeaCoast Grace Church in Seal Beach, said she had known Michelle for more than 10 years and was aware that she and her ex-husband were involved in a bitter custody dispute over their son. Despite knowledge of the custody case, people in Huntington Beach where Scott lived were surprised to find out that their friendly neighbor who had since remarried had been arrested for the shootings.

Shortly after Dekraai’s arrest, officers escorted two women from a house registered in his name to a white car and then roped off the house with crime scene tape. Police are still trying to determine the sequence of events inside the shop and wouldn’t say what type of weapon was used or if the gunman used more than one.

For a town that has only seen one other homicide in the past four years, it will take time for residents to get over this tragedy. “We usually say the worst thing that happens here is that bikes get stolen,” Robin Collier, who lives near the scene of the shooting, told the LA Times. “They call this ‘Mayberry by the sea’ because it’s just like that — everybody knows everybody.”

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