About 100 members of the Seal Beach community gathered in the parking lot in front of Salon Meritage on Friday for a candlelight vigil to mourn the deaths of eight people who were killed there Wednesday, and pray for one victim still fighting for her life.
After a man opened fire in the salon at 1:21 p.m. Wednesday, six people — five women and one man — died on the scene, and two were pronounced dead at a local medical center. The one remaining victim is in critical condition at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.
Police identified Scott Dekraai, 42, a resident of Huntington Beach, as the shooter. Authorities suspect he targeted Salon Meritage because his former wife, hairstylist Michelle Fournier, was working inside at the time, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Julio Pedraza, the store manager of a nearby McDonald’s, was working at the time of the shooting. He said he didn’t hear the shots, but saw the commotion afterward.
“I saw one victim, he was bleeding all over,” Pedraza said.
Throughout the day, mourners visited the front of the hair and nail salon to drop off flowers and cards.
Debbie Johnson said Randy Fannin, owner of the salon, was her hairstylist for 20 years. She described him as having a “beautiful smile.” She visited the salon to lay flowers and look at the memorial in the afternoon.
“I felt close to him and I just wanted to be with him one last time,” she said. “He made everyone feel like you were his best friend.”
Charon Stracham also had Fannin as her stylist.
“He was a great man, he loved everything,” Stracham said. “He saved me from a bad haircut.”
Seacost Grace Church held a community prayer service at 7 p.m. for mourners. The service began with Reverend Josh Reeves lighting nine candles for the nine victims of the shooting. Reeves said he did not expect the service to be a band-aid for the mourning process.
“Many of us will leave this room still in the state of mourning, still in the state of heartache, still in the state of anger,” Reeves said.
Reeves continued to say that he hoped the service would achieve a sense of togetherness, love and support for one another.
Gordon Shanks, councilman for the area, spoke at the service. He encouraged those at the service to attend the candlelight vigil at 8 p.m.
“Those who have died don’t need as much support as the families of those who have died,” Shanks said.
Tissue boxes were passed around as hundreds crowded the parking lot after the service for the vigil. Members of the community, both young and old, spoke. The audience cried in memory of those lost and applauded at suggestions that the crime would not define the city.
The vigil ended with a moment of silence.
The victims of the shooting are: Victoria Ann Buzzo of Laguna Beach, David Caouette of Seal Beach, Laura Lee Elody of Huntington Beach, Randy Lee Fannin of Murrieta, Lucia Bernice Kondas of Huntington Beach , Michelle Daschbach Fast of Seal Beach, Michelle Marie Fournier of Los Alamitos and Christy Lynn Wilson of Cerritos.