Massacre at Seal Beach salon

A gunman apparently enraged over a custody dispute walked into a crowded Seal Beach hair salon where his former wife worked and opened fire, killing eight people and critically wounding another person in the deadliest shooting in Orange County history.
The attacker sprayed Salon Meritage with gunfire Wednesday afternoon as victims fell to the floor and those who could escape ran onto the street or hid in neighboring businesses in the bustling area of trendy restaurants and shops along Pacific Coast Highway, authorities and witnesses said. The gunman continued firing outside, where he shot one man who apparently tried to flee in a Range Rover.
“He just didn’t stop. Anybody he saw he was shooting” – said an Anaheim woman who was in a stylist’s chair when the gunman began firing. “It went boom, boom, boom. I was afraid he was going to shoot everybody.”
An officer saw the suspect leaving the area as police responded to reports of the gunfire. The man was arrested about half a mile away and was the sole suspect in the rampage – authorities said.
Police on Wednesday night had not released the alleged gunman’s name or the identities of the victims, nor had they established a motive. But friends and witnesses who knew the salon employees said the alleged gunman was Scott Dekraai and he appeared to be targeting his former wife, who was a stylist at Salon Meritage. They said the couple had been involved in a bitter custody dispute involving their son.
The midafternoon rampage stunned the normally placid beach community. Just one homicide had been reported in the city in the last five years – authorities said.
“A crime of this magnitude is not something Seal Beach is familiar with” – Seal Beach Police Sgt. Steve Bowles said. “This could be one of our greatest tragedies.”

Massacre at Seal Beach salon
Seal Beach salon.

A gunman opened fire in a busy hair salon, killing eight people and critically wounding another while leaving bodies scattered throughout the business in a normally sedate Southern California beach community.
The gunman got into a truck and drove away from Salon Meritage after Wednesday’s shootings.
Scott Evans Dekraai (42) was stopped by officers about a half-mile away and surrendered without incident while saying he had multiple weapons with him – police Sgt. Steve Bowles said.
Dekraai was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder, Bowles said.
In all, one man and five women died at the salon, one man and one woman died after being transported to a nearby hospital, and one woman remained in critical condition late Wednesday. Their names have not been released.
Friends of the salon owner said the gunman was the ex-husband of a stylist who worked there. Bowles would only say: “There may be something to the motive as to a relationship with somebody in the salon, that is our assumption.” He declined to elaborate later.
Kimberly Criswell (who owns a salon just two doors down from the scene of the shootings) said she and her customers and employees heard gunshots, and her receptionist saw a man through a window as he was shot in a parking lot.
“There was like a ‘pop, pop’ and my receptionist screamed – ‘He just shot that man,’ and we all ran into the bathroom and locked the door” – Criswell said.
Glenn Zachman, who owns a video newsgathering service, said he arrived at the scene of the arrest shortly after police and saw they had placed plastic bags over the man’s hands to preserve possible gunshot residue.
He also saw a bulletproof vest on the back of a patrol car but didn’t know if the man, dressed in a button-down shirt and pants, had been wearing it.

Police have identified the suspect who is believed to have opened fire in a Southern California hair salon leaving eight people dead and another wounded.
Seal Beach police identified the suspect as Scott Evans De Kraai, who is believed to have entered the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, Calif. Wednesday and opened fire in a massacre that killed six people immediately. Once authorities arrived all six victims were declared dead on the scene.
The three people who were injured in the incident were hospitalized and are considered in critical condition. Two of those victims died – police later said.
The names of the deceased are being withheld until family members are notified, but police said that of the six that were shot inside the salon, five were females and one was male, and of the two who died in the hospital, one was female and the other was male. The victim that is currently hospitalized is female.
It was not immediately clear if the victims were customers or employees.
Authorities responded to the shooting at the salon in the coastal town about 30 miles south of Los Angeles. The salon is in the 500 block of Pacific Coast Highway.
“Our officers arrived on scene and found multiple gunshot victims inside of the salon” – Sgt. Steve Bowles of the Seal Beach Police Department told reporters this evening. “Other responding officers who arrived saw … what they thought was a suspect vehicle leaving the area and made a car stop on that vehicle, and took that suspect into custody.”
Bowles said the salon was busy at the time of the shooting, with every station occupied. He said it appeared that the victims were seeking shelter when they were shot. Some of the people inside were able to escape unharmed.
The 911 call came from outside of the business.
A suspect who police believe was the only shooter was taken into custody a half-mile from the crime scene. Police said the white male was driving through a residential area in the direction of Huntington Beach, Calif.
Authorities have not yet released the suspect’s name, but said they found multiple weapons in the suspect’s car. KABC reported that he appeared to be wearing body armor.

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