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Witness: accused Seal Beach killer calm, casual before opening fire

Seal beach shooting
The man accused of fatally shooting eight people at a Seal Beach shopping last October was disturbing calm and casual as he shot one person after another – customers and employees alike, a witness told an Orange County grand jury. 

A partial transcript of the grand jury hearing, which resulted in the indictment of former tugboat crewman Scott Dekraai, were unsealed Thursday, offering a glimpse into Orange County’s worst mass killing.

“He had zero expression on his face,” said Kenneth Caleb, who was having lunch with co-workers at Patty’s Place, a restaurant next door to Salon Meritage, where the mid-day shooting took place.

“His head was slightly tilted down, as if he was looking at the ground,” the witness said.

Caleb described Dekraai’s gait as a “casual, calm stroll, as if you were just enjoying the park.”

Dekraai, 42, allegedly walked into the salon and shot eight people, including his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, and then walked into the parking lot where he shot a man sitting in his Ranger Rover, authorities say. Only one person survived.

Caleb told grand jurors that before he spotted Dekraai, a woman wearing a smock ran  into the restaurant, screaming for someone to call the police because  “he is shooting everyone.”

From the window of the restaurant Caleb said he saw a “mirage of people running everywhere.” He said the scene was surreal.

"My eyes, for whatever reason, kind of gravitated to this gentleman, because, as I stated, I was a little concerned that he just really didn't understand what was going on. And you could hear, you heard the shots, you seen the chaos, and then this one out of place element just kind of slowly walking across the parking lot," he said, describing the accused shooter.

The testimony, taken in January, also provides a gruesome portrait of the scene inside the salon, where Dekraai's ex-wife was the first to be shot.

According to Gordon Gallego, a hairstylist at the salon, Dekraai walked in to the salon and headed straight to the station where his ex-wife was shampooing a client’s hair.

Before shooting both women at point blank range, Gallego said, Dekraai uttered “This is what you wanted,” or “This is how you wanted it.”

Gallego, said he ran and hid in a bathroom until the shooting was over.

The transcripts were partially unsealed after a court hearing last month, with some material blacked out.

About 30 pages of information, including exhibits presented by the prosecution and information about mental health, remain sealed.

Dekraai, of Huntington Beach, has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of murder and one count of attempted murder in the Oct. 12 rampage.

--Nicole Santa Cruz and Christopher Goffard

Photo: Scott Dekraai in court with attorney. Credit: Associated Press



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