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Suspect in salon killings told police 'I know what I did'

Scott Dekraai shot ex-wife and another stylist who testified against him in a child custody case, according to court papers. He called some other victims 'collateral damage,' affidavit says.

November 03, 2011|By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
  • Scott Dekraai told police he sat on the beach and thought about killing his ex-wife before the salon shootings.
Scott Dekraai told police he sat on the beach and thought about killing his… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

The man who is charged with killing eight people at a Seal Beach hair salon last month told investigators that he first drove to Bolsa Chica State Beach near his home, sat on the sand and, according to police, "pondered shooting" his ex-wife. He also said, "I know what I did."

That statement and details of Scott Dekraai's movements are contained in a warrant, released this week, that also sheds light on the possible motivations behind Orange County's worst mass killing.

His ex-wife Michelle Fournier, who was a stylist at Salon Meritage, was the first one killed in the Oct. 12 massacre. Dekraai has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

PHOTOS: Victims of the Seal Beach shooting

In an affidavit, Dekraai told investigators that he argued with Fournier in a telephone conversation that morning over custody issues involving their 8-year-old son. Dekraai said his son would come home with bruises on his body after staying with Fournier and told police that he photographed his son's injuries.

After the phone conversation, Dekraai went to his Huntington Beach home and armed himself with a bulletproof vest, three handguns, magazines and extra ammunition.

Next, the 42-year-old former tugboat crewman drove to Bolsa Chica, half a mile from his home, where he "sat on the beach and pondered shooting his wife."

He then headed for the salon, about a 10-minute drive away. Just after 1 p.m., he shot Fournier multiple times.

Dekraai then shot and killed a woman he called Christy, later identified as Christy Wilson, 47, another salon employee and a friend of Fournier. Dekraai told police that she had recently testified against him in the custody dispute.

Randy Fannin, the salon owner, was shot at the front door as he approached armed with scissors, Dekraai said.

He also told police he began shooting people at random inside the salon and thought he "shot an additional four to five" before leaving. He saw those people as "collateral damage," according to the affidavit.

One victim was seriously wounded but survived the two-minute rampage.

The last person to be shot was David Caouette, 64, who sat in a Land Rover parked next to Dekraai's white Toyota pickup.

Dekraai told police he thought the man was an off-duty or undercover police officer and was reaching to the floorboard for a weapon.

Dekraai left the salon but was pulled over quickly by police. He immediately got out of his truck and put his hands in the air. As a police officer placed paper bags over Dekraai's hands to preserve gunshot residue, Dekraai spontaneously said, "I know what I did."

The affidavit also outlines various witnesses who identified Dekraai as the gunman, including a woman who was having her hair done by Sandy Fannin, Randy's wife and co-owner of the salon. Both women escaped.

Police also seized seven guns in Dekraai's garage, in addition to the three found in his truck. Dekraai also had $959.05 in cash in the vehicle.

Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman with the Orange County district attorney's office, said the investigation is ongoing.

"We're not releasing any additional details about the crime at this time," she said.

Deputy Public Defender Scott Sanders said he too is still investigating the case.

"We don't have any police reports at this point," Sanders said. "We're looking into everything."

According to the warrant, police also interviewed Dekraai's current wife, who said she kept a journal of the heated custody dispute. Police also seized various other items such as photographs of the child, letters, notebooks, calendars and a digital camera.

A plea hearing is set for Nov. 29 in Santa Ana.

PHOTOS: Victims of the Seal Beach shooting

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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