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Custody battle may have fueled California salon shooting

by Jorge Hernandez on October 13, 2011

Less than a day after a shooting spree left eight people dead at a California salon, details are beginning to emerge about what may have caused the rampage. The shooter, 42-year-old Scott Dekraai had allegedly been in a bitter custody dispute with one of the business' employees, Los Angeles-based KTLA reports.

The shooting began around 1:30 at Salon Meritage, which is located in the coastal town of Seal Beach. When authorities arrived on the scene they found six people already dead and three more critically wounded, two of whom later died in the hospital.

The Associated Press reports that the salon was full at the time of the shooting and that Dekraai burst through the front door and began firing off shots. Before leaving he also shot a man sitting in his car in the parking lot.

"There was like a 'pop pop' … and my receptionist screamed out, 'He just shot that man' and we all went into the bathroom and called 911," said Kimberly Criswell, who works nearby, told the AP. "I'm sure I've lost some friends today."

Dekraai, who was apprehended by police about a half mile from the crime scene, was reportedly the ex-husband of stylist Michelle Dekraai, who was among those killed in the shooting. The couple had an 8-year-old son together with whom they shared custody, but those close to the situation said that Dekraai did not like his ex-wife's parenting style.

The rampage marks the deadliest mass shooting in Orange County history, surpassing the seven killed in 1976 at Cal State Fullerton by Edward Allaway. According to the Los Angeles Times, there was only one murder in Seal Beach between 2005 and 2010.

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