Seal Beach hair salon shooter identified: 8 dead, 1 injured


Authorities responded to a report of shots fired at Salon Meritage on the 500 block of Pacific Coast Highway at 1:21 p.m. Six people were declared dead at the scene and three people were hospitalized in critical condition.

Two of the critically injured died, said Seal Beach Police Sgt. Steve Bowles at an afternoon news conference. The two were declared dead at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

The suspect, believed to be the sole shooter, was taken into custody about a half-mile from the crime scene as he was driving southeast in a residential area toward Huntington Beach. Police later identified the suspect as 42-year-old Scott Evans Dekraai.

Witnesses say the suspect may be the husband of one of the salon employees. One of the licensed cosmetologists at the salon address was Michelle Dekraai.

Authorities seized multiple weapons in the suspect's white Toyota Tundra pickup truck. Police say the suspect was cooperative at the time of arrest.

When police opened up the suspect's button-down shirt, it appeared he was wearing body armor. Police took off the body armor and put it on top of his truck. According to one witness, the suspect was also wearing cargo pants with ammunition magazines in pockets.

Shortly after the alleged shooter was arrested, police arrived at a house on Melody Lane in nearby Huntington Beach and escorted two women to a white car and then roped off the house with crime scene tape.

Bowles said the salon was busy at the time of the shooting spree, and there were people inside the salon who escaped without harm.

Police said five females and one male were killed inside the salon. One man and one woman died in the hospital. An unidentified woman was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday night.

Family and friends gathered outside the police perimeter lines trying to get information. One woman said the suspect shot a man at point-blank range in the parking lot before entering the salon and opening fire.

"In our little small town, you just -- it's unimaginable that this would happen in a little, small town like this, a little close, small-knit town like this. It's just little wonderful, lovely shop that's been there 20 years," said salon customer Wendy Rothman.

Another customer said she spoke with her hairdresser, who survived, just moments after the shooting, and he was hysterical. The owner of the salon may be one of the six people killed in the shooting, but that information has not been confirmed.

"I can't believe this has happened," said salon customer Jean Nigel. "This is ridiculous. This never happens in Seal Beach, and it should never have happened."

A motive for the shooting has not been determined.

Concerned family members can call the Seal Beach Police Department at (562) 799-4100 for information.

Seal Beach is a city in Orange County just south of the Los Angeles County line with a population of approximately 25,000.

Seal Beach has seen just one other homicide in the past four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

See photos from the scene of the mass shooting.

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