Orange County News
Seal Beach salon shooting suspect charged with murder
SEAL BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Murder charges were filed Friday against a man suspected of shooting nine people at a Seal Beach salon Wednesday.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas charged Scott Dekraai of Huntington Beach with eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
Dekraai's arraignment was postponed until Nov. 29.
Dekraai's attorney told the judge the defendant needs medications. Judge Erick Larsh ordered a medical review of Dekraai.
Speaking at a Friday news conference, Rackauckas said he planned to seek the death penalty in the case against Dekraai.
Nine people were shot at Salon Meritage Wednesday afternoon, eight fatally, marking the deadliest shooting in Orange County history.
Rackauckas outlined the details of the shooting at Friday's news conference.
"Dekraai is accused of walking into the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach prepared to commit murder. Wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with three firearms, he walked through the salon shooting anyone close enough to hit," he said.
Rackauckas said Dekraai had stopped to reload his weapon before continuing to gun people down.
"He was not satisfied with murdering his intended target, his ex-wife," he said. "For almost two minutes, Dekraai shot victim after victim, executing people by shooting them in the head and chest."
Rackauckas said the reason for the rampage was revenge over a custody dispute concerning Dekraai's 8-year-old son. The district attorney also said that Dekraai "callously snuffed them out like they were collateral damage." He added that Dekraai's murder spree did not have anything to do with loving his son.
"While Dekraai ran through the hair salon shooting at innocent victims, the son he professed to love was sitting in the principal's office, waiting for his mom or dad to pick him up," said Rackauckas, who took pause while holding back tears. "Well, that little boy is a victim. Now his mother has been murdered and he has to grow up knowing that his dad is a mass murderer. So what kind of sick, twisted fatherly love might that be?"
On the day of the shooting, responding officers found nine people shot at the salon -- eight inside and one man shot in the parking lot, who was sitting in his vehicle.
Six victims were declared dead at the scene. Three people were hospitalized in critical condition; two died at the hospital Wednesday. The surviving victim remained at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where she was listed in fair condition Friday.
Thursday, Seal Beach police released the identities of those who were killed in the shooting.
- Fannin, Randy Lee
- Buzzo, Victoria Ann
- Kondas, Lucia Bernice
- Elody, Laura Lee
- Wilson, Christy Lynn
- Fournier, Michelle Marie
- Fast, Michele Daschbach
- Caouette, David
The victims' identities were confirmed by the Orange County Coroner's Office and next of kin were contacted.
The ninth victim, who was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday, was identified by friends and neighbors as 73-year-old Hattie Stretz. Stretz's daughter, Laura Lee Elody, who went by Laura Webb, was an employee at the salon and did not survive Wednesday's shooting. Stretz was at the salon to visit her daughter. Friday, Stretz was listed in fair condition.
Thursday night, there was a very large turnout for a candlelight vigil at the salon. Close to 1,500 friends and family members of the victims and residents of Seal Beach showed up to pay their respects.
For many, the vigil was a chance to come together as a community. Many said they don't want Seal Beach to be remembered for this tragedy.
"We're not a massacre town or terror, or all those words. I mean, right now we are, but we are a beautiful, sleepy, little surfing town and we're going to get that back," said Seal Beach resident Stephanie Lees.
Dekraai, 41, was arrested about a half-mile from the scene shortly after the shooting. Witnesses said Dekraai told police he had a knife in each pocket and three weapons in his truck. A witness said Dekraai had ammunition in his cargo pants. It was previously reported that Dekraai was 42 years old.
Dekraai was being held at Orange County Jail in Santa Ana without bail.
Friends of Dekraai's ex-wife and salon employee Michelle Fournier Dekraai, say the two were involved in an ongoing custody battle over their son, Dominic. Fournier's brother told media that Dekraai has threatened to kill his sister in the past. Dekraai and Fournier were in court Tuesday in a custody hearing.
In court documents, Fournier alleged Dekraai was unstable and had at least once threatened to kill himself or someone else.
The family of one of the victims, salon owner Randy Fannin, released a statement Friday:
"On the heels of what can only be described as a senseless and unspeakable tragedy, our family is struggling to not only make sense of Wednesday's events, but also doing our best to process the overwhelming loss we've all experienced. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families; we humbly ask that the public and press respect our need for privacy during this trying time."
Fannin's niece, Tami Scarcella, told Eyewitness News that her uncle and aunt had worked hard to build their successful salon, and their next step was preparing for retirement.
The Fannin family established a memorial fund to benefit all the families of those killed in the shooting. Supporters can donate online at www.salonmeritagefund.org.
The Rev. Tod D. Brown, Bishop of Orange, conducted a community prayer service for victims' families, friends, and first responders Friday night. The community of Seal Beach and all others touched by the incident paid tribute with prayer and song.
Supermarket chain Vons announced Friday customer donations will be collected at the Seal Beach Pavilions at 1101 Pacific Coast Highway on Saturday and Sunday to assist the families of the eight Seal Beach residents that lost their lives in Wednesday's shooting. Vons pledged to match customer donations up to $25,000. All funds will go toward the Seal Beach Victims' Fund that was established by the City of Seal Beach and Chamber of Commerce.
shooting, arrest, murder, homicide investigation, orange county news
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