Those who live in Seal Beach, CA, affectionately refer to the sleepy community as ‘Mayberry By the Sea,’ but on Wednesday, October 12, the town, located about 30 southeast miles from Los Angeles, was the unlikely scene of a workplace shooting that is sending shock waves through the nation, as well the professional beauty industry.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., a heavily armed man wearing a bullet-proof vest walked into Salon Meritage, which is in the 500 block of the Pacific Coast Highway, and opened fire. Six people were killed immediately, and three were hospitalized with severe injuries. Two of the hospitalized victims later succumbed to their injuries.
Seal Beach police have identified the shooting suspect as Scott Evans De Kraai, 42, a former marine who is the ex-husband of one of the salon’s stylists. The names of the deceased are being withheld until family members have been notified, but relatives of Michelle Fournier, De Kraai’s ex wife, have confirmed she was a victim of the shooting to reporters. They believe she was the main target because of an alleged custody suit. According to the Los Angeles Times, one of the other victims of the shooting is thought to be Randy Fannin, the owner of the salon.
De Kraai was taken into custody a half-mile from the crime scene—police have reported he was driving in a residential community. “Our officers arrived at the scene and found multiple gunshot victims inside of the salon,” Sgt. Steve Bowles of the Seal Beach Police Department told reporters Wednesday evening. “Other responding officers who arrived saw what they thought was a suspect vehicle leaving the area and they took that suspect into custody.”
Police cordoned off the light blue bungalow in nearby Huntington Beach, De Kraai’s home for the past two years. Neighbors told reporters they often saw him outside in the yard playing catch with his son.
According to news agencies, clients have began gathering at Salon Meritage Thursday morning—anxious to learn news of their favorite stylist as they light candles, leave flowers or say a prayer.
“Seal Beach is a small safe community. We don’t experience these things,” said Bowles.
While details of the shooting continue to emerge, it's important to note that the National Cosmetolgy Association/Professional Beauty Assocation has developed Cut It Out, a program of the Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund dedicated to mobilizing proessionals and others to fight the epidemic of domestic abuse in communities across the United States. "Cut It Out builds awareness of domestic abuse and trains salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients or co-workers to local resources," says Rachel Molepske, manager of charitable programs for PBA. "Materials are avaliable for clients and staff and can be ordered free of charge at cutitout.org."