Thursday, October 13, 2011

Salon Shooter Scott Dekraai Killed Ex-Wife Michelle Dekraai, 7 Others

Scott Dekraai 300x285

The gunman in yesterday’s California salon shooting that killed 8Link people has been identified as 42-year-old Scott Dekraai, a one-time passionate sportfishing captain who loved working on the water.

However, it may have been an accident on the water that forever changed him.

In 2007, Dekraai was involved in a horrific tugboat accident that killed deckhand Piper Cameron, cutting her in two as Dekraai tried to save her, and nearly severed Dekraai’s legs.

“I saw him two years later, and he was like a ghost of who he was,” a former co-worker said.

Another friend said Dekraai “was just never the same after the accident. It physically destroyed him … and it emotionally devastated him. Piper was like his little sister … and he could not save her.”

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Friends of owner of the salon in which the shooting took place said that the gunman was the ex-husband of a stylist who worked there, Michelle Dekraai.

It seems that Michelle and her ex-husband were involved in a bitter custody dispute over their 7-year-old son Dominic.

Next-door neighbor Stephanie Malchow, 29, said she last saw Scott Dekraai on Tuesday morning as she was leaving for work.

“I just waved at him…on my way to work, and he seemed fine,” Malchow said. “When I came home, I didn’t know what had happened until I saw police digging through our trash.”

She was stunned when she saw the photo of the stocky man with thinning hair being detained by Seal Beach police.

“I’m like, no, not this neighbor, no way, he’s the nicest guy ever,” Malchow said.

Scott Dekraai Arrested

“I don’t want people to think he is just an evil monster. He’s a nice guy, but he must have snapped,” she added. “If he was in a custody dispute, that would explain why he snapped. He loves his little boy more than anything else in the world.”

Dekraai married Michelle two or three years ago in his backyard, according to Malchow, who attended the wedding.

“He seemed very happy, he was just so happy he found someone new who loved his son,” she said.

Scott Dekraai 1987 250x300Police officers stand with who was being held in a patrol car at the scene of the arrest of a suspect near the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, Calif., where a shooting left eight people dead and one critically injured Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. Seal Beach police have identified the suspect in the salon massacre as Scott Evans Dekraai.

Scott often played with his son in the front yard and worried when the he went to stay with Michelle Dekraai. He spoke bitterly about her to Malchow. He said he didn’t trust her parenting, and complained she did things like drop their son off at school too early in the morning.

“His son is such a sweet little boy and an innocent in all this. It’s so sad to think that he is going to suffer the most out of everyone. He is just a poor kid, not even 9, and his family is gone from him,” said Malchow. “He’ll never be able to get far enough away from all this. He’ll be that kid at school who all the kids point at and say, ‘That’s the kid whose dad did that horrible thing.’ ”

According to former employees at the salon, the couple had gone through a particularly bitter divorce.

“They had been having bitter problems for years and I guess he just went in there and started shooting,” said Lydia Sosa, who left Salon Meritage to open her own business but kept in touch with owner Randy Fannin.

The shooting rampage has shaken this little community to its core. More than four hours after it was over, a police officer escorted a woman who was crying and shaking past crime-scene tape and to her car.

Seal Beach has experienced only one other homicide in the past four years. Yesterday’s shooting incident was the greatest tragedy to ever strike the town.

“I can’t make sense out of any of this,” said Malchow. “I still think he is a nice guy, but just when you think you know someone, this happens.”

Distress: Onlookers react near the site where a crazed gunman shot dead eight people in an upmarket beauty salon in California after allegedly losing a custody battle over his son

In custody: Scott Evans Dekraai, 42, of Huntington Beach, is pictured in this booking photograph released on Thursday by the Seal Beach police department. He faces multiple counts of murderWife: Scott Dekraai's ex-wife, Michelle, is reportedly among those killed. Her husband is said to have threatened violence after losing a court case against her over their childHands tied: Police officers stand with Scott Dekraai, who was held in a patrol car at the scene of the arrest near the Salon MeritageSon: The battle with Michelle - who was using the name Huff - was over the custody of their seven-year-old son, Dominic. This is a picture taken from Facebook that is believed to be of DominicStylist: One of the salon's hairdressers, Lisa Powers, who is thought to have been at work when the gunman started firingUnsuspecting: A stylist at Salon Heritage in Seal Beach poses with a customerAftermath: Policemen guard the entrance to Salon Meritage following a shooting that left eight people deadDistraught: People gather at a site for friends and relatives of the victims of the deadly shootingStaying strong: Friends of the victims huddle near Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, CaliforniaGasps: A police officer talks to people outside the salon after the fatal shooting Shock: Friends and family members gather outside the Seal Beach Public Library after the shootingMourning: Six people have died and three others were rushed to hospital following the attackSadness: A well-wisher puts flowers in front of the site where eight people were killed and one was woundedDisbelief: Women in the upmarket area have been totally devastated by the tragic spreeMurdered: Eight people are thought to have been killed during the shooting at the beauty salon in Seal BeachGrief: The victims are thought to have been innocent women working in or visiting the salonShock: The neighbourhood has totally been rocked by the brutal and sudden attack

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