Police Believe Custody Dispute Was Behind California Salon Massacre

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Alex Gallardo / Reuters

Horror struck a Seal Beach, Calif. hair salon yesterday when the ex-husband of an employee opened fire, killing eight people inside.

Seal Beach police identified the suspect as Scott Evans De Kraai, 42. They believe De Kraai, an former Marine, was motivated by a custody dispute with his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier.

Fournier’s relatives told affiliate KABC that she was killed in the shooting, along with seven others who were inside Salon Meritage at the time. It was not immediately clear if the victims were customers or employees. Three other people were hospitalized with severe wounds and two of them later died, police said.

Dr. James Blake, a dentist whose office is close to the salon, heard the gunshots as he worked. The shooting “definitely was very unexpected” for Seal Beach, said Blake, who’s had his office in the shopping center since 1992.

”When you have somebody who just loses it, you can be anywhere and not be safe,” he said.

Seal Beach, a close-knit community known throughout Los Angeles for its relative safety, has not seen an episode this violent in 30 years. Until Wednesday, Orange County’s deadliest mass killer to date was Edward Charles Allaway, who killed seven co-workers in a shooting spree at Cal State Fullerton in July 1976.

De Kraai was taken into custody a half-mile from the crime scene. Police removed his shirt and bulletproof vest after finding him driving through a residential area in the direction of Huntington Beach.

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Police Believe Custody Despute Was Behind California Salon Massacre