Shooting suspect accused of abuse
SEAL BEACH, Calif. - The former wife of the man suspected of killing eight people in a shooting rampage at a hair salon stated in court papers filed this year that he was mentally unstable and had threatened to kill himself or someone else at least once.
Michelle Fournier Dekraai made the allegations in May in a filing related to her long-running, bitter custody battle with Scott Dekraai over their 7-year-old son.
Six women and two men were killed in the salon shooting. Michelle Dekraai has been identified by family members as among the dead in the salon shooting.
There was no sign that she had filed a restraining order, but a relative of Scott Dekraai said Michelle told her that he had walked into the Meritage Salon as recently as two months ago and threatened to kill Michelle and her co-workers.
Police say Scott Dekraai opened fire Wednesday afternoon in the salon, where his former wife worked, and was arrested soon after. On Tuesday he had been in court for a hearing related to the custody dispute.
The couple divorced in 2007, and Scott Dekraai remarried, but the battle over their son continued to rage. Michelle Fournier Dekraai wrote in the court papers that her former husband was “almost manic when it comes to demanding absolute right to control our son and make unilateral decisions.’’
She wrote that giving Scott Dekraai more custody of their child would lead to “a situation where the inmates are running the asylum.’’
Sharyn White, a stepaunt of Scott Dekraai and a friend of Michelle’s, said that according to Michelle Dekraai, her colleagues and the customers in the salon laughed off Scott Dekraai’s threat in the salon two months ago.
White, of Seal Beach, said in a telephone interview that Scott Dekraai had a troubled upbringing and grappled with mental illness.
Michelle Dekraai wrote in the court filing that he had been physically abusive to her during their marriage, and that in 2008 he beat his stepfather, pleaded guilty to assault and battery, and underwent a year of anger management.
A temporary restraining order obtained by Scott Dekraai’s stepfather in 2007 said that Dekraai attacked him that year, leaving him with cuts and bruises on his face and right arm.
Michelle Dekraai also alleged that her former husband called 911 at least once and “advised that he was going to kill himself or someone else.’’ She wrote that he “is a diagnosed bipolar individual who has problems with his own medication and his reaction to same, and he certainly shouldn’t be allowed to have unilateral and unfettered control of any and all medical and psychological aspects of our son’s life.’’
In his own court filing, Scott Dekraai alleged that his former wife had a drinking problem. He told the court in 2008 that he wanted to communicate with his former wife only by e-mail because she was verbally abusive.
Scott Dekraai’s neighbors in Huntington Beach also were aware of the custody battle. They described him as an outgoing man who invited them over for pool parties and played catch with his son in his yard.
Wednesday was a busy afternoon at the salon, and every hair-dressing station was full. Customers dove for cover as the gunman opened fire.
The shooter stepped outside, shot a man sitting in a truck in the parking lot and sped off. Police arrested Dekraai, 41, about a half-mile from the scene. A woman who was wounded in the rampage remained in critical condition yesterday, police said.