Before shooting his ex-wife and nine other people at Salon Meritage, alleged killer Scott Evans Dekraai argued with his former wife about custody of their 8-year-old son, stopped at the boy's school to drop off paperwork, then headed to the beach to contemplate murder.
According to a police affidavit and search warrant summarized by the Los Angeles Times, Dekraai admitted to walking into the salon and shooting his ex-wife Michelle Fournier first, then Christy Wilson, who had testified on Fournier’s behalf during the court custody battle, and then salon owner Randy Fanin, who charged at him with a pair of scissors. Everyone shot inside the salon after that, Dekraai told police, was “collateral damage.”
The final shooting victim, David Caouette, was sitting in his car outside in the parking lot. Dekraai assumed he was a police officer and shot him, too.
According to a search warrant affidavit, Dekraai told the arresting officer minutes after the shootings, "I know what I did.''
After the argument wih Fournier, 48, on the morning of Oct. 12, Dekraai armed himself with three handguns, extra magazines and ammunition before donning a bullet-proof vest and getting into his pickup truck, according to the court papers.
"Dekraai then drove to Bolsa Chica State Beach,'' according to the affidavit. "When Dekraai got to the beach, he got out of the vehicle, sat on the beach and pondered shooting his wife.''
Dekraai drove to the Salon Meritage, 500 Pacific Coast Highway, about 1:20 p.m.
"Dekraai immediately walked up to Fournier and shot her multiple times,'' according to the search warrant paperwork. "Dekraai then shot a second female client whom he knew as Christy. Dekraai stated that Christy had recently testified against him in a child custody dispute.''
Christy Wilson, 47, was killed in the attack.
"Dekraai then stated that the male owner of the salon [Fannin] ran up to him armed with scissors so Dekraai shot him at the front door,'' according to the search warrant. "Dekraai then stated he started shooting random people inside the salon because he looked at them as collateral damage,'' according to the court papers.
"Dekraai exited and walked to his vehicle. When he got to his vehicle, he looked in the car next to him (a green Range Rover) and saw a person sitting in the vehicle next to him. Dekraai thought the guy seated in the vehicle next to him was an off-duty or undercover police officer and thought he was reaching to his floorboard for a weapon. Dekraai admitted to shooting the victim seated in the car next to him. Dekraai then left the scene. Dekraai thinks he shot an additional four to five people prior to leaving the salon.''
Caouette, 64, was the victim in the Range Rover.
The other victims were Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Laura Lee Elody, 46; and Michele Daschbach Fast, 47. Another woman who was shot—73-year-old Hattie Stretz—survived. Dekraai also told police that his and Fournier's 8-year-old son, Dominic, "would sometimes come home with bruises on his body,'' according tothe search warrant.
"Dekraai would document the bruises in photographs,'' according to the affidavit, which was used to obtain a warrant to search the computers and Dekraai's home at 16212 Melody Lane in Huntington Beach as well as his 2005 white Toyota Tundra. Police seized multiple weapons in the suspect's garage, including rifles and shotguns, and photographs of the boy's injuries. When police arrested Dekraai at Central Avenue and 12th Street just minutes after the shooting, he got out of his car and immediately surrendered, according to the search warrant.
Police found three loaded magazines containing live ammunition in his left leg cargo pocket and several live rounds in his right cargo pocket, according to the search warrant. The rounds were for a .45 caliber, 9 mm and .44 caliber weapons, according to the search warrant.
As his arresting officer was putting brown paper bags over Dekraai's hands to preserve gun shot residue, Dekraai said, "I know what I did,'' according to the search warrant affidavit.
Police also found three handguns in "plain view'' in the pickup truck, according to the search warrant. Police retrieved from the passenger-side floor a .44 magnum revolver, black 9mm semi-automatic handgun and a black .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, according to the search warrant.
Dekraai and his ex-wife were in a Santa Ana courtroom the day before the shooting for a hearing involving custody of their son. Dekraai had been seeking sole custody, but a court-ordered report recommended against it. Fournier's attorney, John Cate Jr., speculated that Dekraai spent $70,000 to $80,000 in legal fees to pursue sole custody of his son.
The Orange County public defender's office has been appointed to represent Dekraai after his original attorney, Robert Curtis, said his client could not afford to pay him. Orange County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Dekraai, who is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 29.
-City News Service