Eight shot in a massacre at Orange County hair salon as crazed gunman targets hairdresser ex-wife
A crazed killer gunning for his ex-wife turned a busy Southern California beauty parlor into a blood-splattered slaughterhouse yesterday, fatally shooting eight people before he was chased down and arrested.
The madman was a 41-year-old tugboat worker named Scott Dekraai.
Distress: Onlookers react near the site where eight people were killed in a shooting at a hair salon in Seal Beach. Women in the upmarket area have been left completely devastated by the shootout. pic/afp
Witnesses believed his former wife, Michelle Fournier, a stylist at the shop, was among the dead.
"He didn't stop,'' said a woman who was in the stylist's chair. "It went boom! boom! boom!I was afraid he was going to shoot everybody.'' Dekraai strode into the Salon Meritage in upscale Seal Beach and immediately opened fire, according to witnesses.
Cops in the Pacific Coast town raced to the scene and found six bodies scattered about the shop. Three wounded survivors were rushed to Long Beach Memorial Hospital, where two died and the third was in critical condition.
Dekraai, who told neighbours he had been honourably discharged from the military, was involved in a bitter custody dispute with his ex-wife, according to people who knew him.
Judy Watson, an owner of the strip mall where the massacre happened, feared Fournier had died.
"She was a sweet, sweet, loving happy mama,'' Watson said. "She was always showing off pictures of her kids.''
Eyewitness Jesse Barton said that his girlfriend, who works in the mall, spoke to the first person to enter the salon when the bullets stopped flying.
"She described it like a scene in a horror movie. There were bodies and blood everywhere," Barton said.
Cops spotted the suspect fleeing the parking lot in a pickup truck and gave a chase, arresting him within minutes about a half-mile from the carnage.
"The officers identified the [suspect's] vehicle as it was leaving the location. They followed it and made a traffic stop and took the driver into custody," said Police Sergeant Steve Bowles later, adding that the killer went quietly.
"We feel very confident we have the single and only suspect in custody," Bowles said.
One witness said the madman was wearing body armour when cops hauled him in, and overheard him telling officers he had other weapons in his truck.
Salon owner Randy Fannin was among the dead, according to people in the salon.
One lucky employee locked herself in the salon's facial room and was not hurt.