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Trust Distributes $400,000 in Donations Among Salon Shooting Victims

The donations were divided up and distributed among a three-tiered system of recipients including survivors and family victims' family members.

The Seal Beach Victims' Fund Trust disbursed $401,556.12 raised to help the victims of the Oct. 12 shooting rampage at Salon Meritage, regarded as the worst mass killing ever in Orange County, it was announced today.

The trustees unanimously arrived at a consensus for disbursement of the funds, establishing three tiers of victims. The first tier, which received about 80 percent of the funds, included relatives of the eight people who died in the shooting, which was allegedly carried out by Scott Evans Dekraai.

The top tier of victims also included 73- year-old Hattie Stretz, who was shot but survived, and the son of Dekraai and his 48-year-old ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, who was among those killed. Also killed in the shooting were the salon's owner, Randy Lee Fannin, 62; Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Laura Lee Elody, 46; Christy Lynn Wilson, 47; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47, and David Caouette, 64.

The second tier of victims benefiting from the funds included people who were trapped in the salon during the shooting but were not killed or injured. The third tier was for employees of the salon and direct witnesses to the shooting.

``The trustees considered all written and verbal communications over the last three months,'' said Seth Eaker, trustee and communications liaison for the trust.

Dekraai, 42, of Huntington Beach, is accused of walking into the salon at 500 Pacific Coast Highway wearing body armor and opening fire.

``Families had a single point of contact and tier one funds went to those identified by the police department. Further, all other recipients who submitted written requests were verified through the police department as to the facts on record. The trust did not consider internal family dynamics or how families or recipients might use the funds. All funds received were unrestricted and were intended to help the recipients in the way they deem fit,'' he said.

The trust was established in partnership with the city of Seal Beach, the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and other agencies private and public who donated their efforts to the trust.

- City News Service

Nat Ferguson January 17, 2012 at 03:41 AM
It goes without saying that the job the trustees have done is a thankless one. Let me be the first to say thank you to Seth and the other trustees for their tireless effort in this matter.
Seth Eaker January 17, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Nat, thank you for the acknowledgement. The people who deserve to be thanked are all those who donated their resources, time and talents to help raise money for those most affected. It is through their efforts that there were any funds to be distributed. We are so thankful we were able to help those most affected. No amount of money will ever be enough for those who lost loved ones and even for some of the individuals who went through unbelievable trauma that day. May they all find healing and help from the community and the disbursements shared.
Laura Walker Ellsworth January 17, 2012 at 04:51 AM
I totally agree Nat, Seth is amazing and did such a wonderful job. Seal Beach is lucky to have him.
Alice Billman January 17, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Ditto on Seth being amazing and wonderful.
Seth Eaker January 17, 2012 at 07:01 PM
You are too kind. It was really the other trustees and the the partnership with the Chamber, the City and Watson & Associates. They provided so much support. The trust also gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the law firm of Friedman Stroffe & Gerard, P.C. and especially partner Martin C. Groh, for providing legal services on a pro bono basis in connection with the formation and legal support of the Trust. Watson & Associates will further absorb remaining accounting and operational expenses for the closure of the trust. Without these supporters, would have been administrative costs for the trust. Based on these groups, 100% of all funds in the trust are going to those most affected by the tragedy. This final set of disbursements will liquidate all resources collected by the Seal Beach Victims’ Fund trust.

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