Protective Mothers' Alliance International

family court abuse/corruption

Salon gunman ‘was after ex-wife over custody fight’ / The Gazette

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A father accused of shooting dead eight people in a California hair salon was targeting his ex-wife over a custody battle, police believe.

Scott Dekraai, 42, walked into the salon where his former wife, Michelle, worked as a stylist, and opened fire.

They had been locked in a bitter battle over their seven-year-old son since divorcing in 2007. Witnesses said the upmarket Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, Orange County, home to the actress Sandra Bullock, became a scene of carnage.

It was full when Dekraai burst through the door and began shooting, sending terrified customers and hairdressers diving for cover.

Six women and two men died, and a ninth victim was in a critical condition in hospital.

One witness described how the gunman went straight up to a female member of staff and fired, before shooting another woman who was having her hair shampooed.

He then shot the salon owner, Randy Fannin, who was colouring a witness’s hair. The woman, who gave her name as Cindy, said: “He just didn’t stop. Anybody he saw, he was shooting.”

One salon employee locked herself in the facial room and survived. Dekraai continued firing on his way out, shooting a man who tried to escape in a Range Rover.

Police have not confirmed whether Michelle Dekraai was among the dead.

Her friend Judy Rodriguez Watson said: “She was a sweet, loving, happy mama. She was always showing off photos of her kids.”

Dekraai was picked up by police at a traffic stop half a mile from the scene and did not resist arrest. Neighbours said he had been in the forces then worked on tug boats. He walked with a limp after a leg injury. They said he doted on his son. Neighbour Jake Rennison, 17, said: “The only thing I can imagine is with the custody battle. His son was his life.”

A court ruled Dekraai and his ex-wife were only to communicate by email and text message.

He was originally awarded primary custody of the boy.

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