Scott Evans Dekraai, the suspect in a shooting at a California hair salon that killed eight people, has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and could face the death penalty if convicted, prosecutors announced on Friday.
Dekraai, 42, is the ex-husband of Michelle Fournier, a hairstylist at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, Calif. Fournier was one of eight people killed when a gunman barged into the salon on Wednesday and began shooting. She and Dekraai had been involved in a bitter custody dispute over their 8-year-old son, and police believe that may have been Dekraai's motive for killing her.
Officials said Dekraai had post-traumatic stress disorder from a boating accident in 2007. He had apparently acted increasingly erratically since then, and on more than one occasion, Fournier had told friends and family that she was afraid Dekraai would try to hurt her.
We believe at this point the evidence will show that on Wednesday at 1:20 p.m., Dekraai walked into the salon wearing a bullet-proof vest and armed with three firearms, shooting at anyone close enough to hit, Tony Rackauckas, the Orange County district attorney, said in a statement on Friday. He stopped to reload. He shot eight people inside the salon, but he was not done. He went outside and shot a man parked in a truck. The reason for this rampage: revenge.
Six of the nine victims died at the scene. Two died en route to the hospital, and one, a woman in her 70s, remained hospitalized in critical condition as of Friday.
Seal Beach is a quiet, safe community that has only seen one other homicide in the past four years. The shooting is being called the worst in Orange County history.