Southern California -- this just in

Category: Salon shooting

San Diego sheriff confident 2 wounded deputies will fully recover

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Wednesday night that he is confident that both of his deputies wounded hours earlier by gunfire will make full recoveries.

One deputy was wounded in the leg and is undergoing surgery, Gore told reporters outside the hospital where the deputy is being treated. The other deputy suffered a grazing wound to the head, he said.

"It's been a dark few weeks for all law enforcement in Southern California," Gore said, referring to the case of fired Los Angeles police Officer Christopher Dorner, who is suspected of killing four people, including an officer from the Riverside Police Department and a deputy from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Dorner died last week after being cornered by officers in a cabin in the Big Bear area.

As Gore spoke, the SWAT team of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, aided by Carlsbad officers, was in a standoff with a suspect in the shootings, which occurred in the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas.

The standoff is underway in the 700 block of Del Rio Avenue, near Interstate 5. The deputies were injured by gunfire about 3:30 p.m. during a stolen car investigation. The second deputy may have been struck by a ricocheting bullet fired from inside a home.

Homes south of Del Rio Avenue have been evacuated. The man inside the home is threatening to shoot deputies who try to enter, officials said.

In September, two San Diego deputies were wounded in a gun battle with a child-abuse suspect in Lakeside. The two underwent extensive surgery but survived.


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Secret jail tapes of Seal Beach murder suspect must be handed over

An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a jailhouse informant's recordings that captured the Seal Beach salon shooting suspect talking about the October 2011 mass slaying must be turned over to the defense.

Prosecutors had said that the defense was not entitled to the recordings, made shortly after Scott Dekraai, 42, was taken into custody on suspicion of killing eight people in a mid-day 2011 shooting rampage at a hair salon.

About 132 hours of secretly recorded tapes were captured between Dekraai and the informant, according to court documents.

FULL COVERAGE: Seal Beach shooting

Defense attorney Scott Sanders argued that the recordings could compromise Dekraai's right to a fair trial, especially if the informant -- referred to only as "Fernando P." in court documents -- deliberately elicited his client's statements.

Prosecutors contend that Dekraai made the statements without any prompting.

On Friday, Assistant Deputy Dist. Atty. Dan Wagner said that some of the most "inflammatory" evidence from those conversations was due to Dekraai telling the informant statements such as "I wrecked my life."

PHOTOS: Seal Beach shooting

Wagner said Dekraai babbled "on and on" to the informant.

After Judge Thomas M. Goethals ruled that prosecutors need to turn over the evidence and the information they have compiled about the informant, Wagner said he would not comment specifically on what's in the recordings.

He did say that the prosecution would like the jury to hear "everything the defendant said."

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Seal Beach salon reopens after shooting massacre

Just over a year after a man stormed into a Seal Beach salon and began firing, killing eight people in the small coastal community's deadliest shooting, guests mingled inside a building Sunday that looked vastly different from the place where the tragedy unfolded.

Salon Meritage has been gutted, its layout drastically altered. At its grand opening Sunday, those involved talked of renewal and of not letting the man accused of perpetrating the crime "win."

"It's a rebirth, not just for the wonderful people who work here but the community," said Fernando Dutra, the contractor on the reconstruction project. "It represents strength, love for one another. It represents a feeling of ... accomplishment for the community. They won't let something like this be what this community is remembered for."

PHOTOS: Seal Beach salon prepares for a fresh start

Seven people were killed and one was hurt in the salon during the Oct. 12, 2011, shooting. Another man was shot and killed in the parking lot. Scott Dekraii, the alleged gunman and the estranged husband of one of the employees, is charged with eight counts of murder.

In the weeks after, the survivors -- and the community -- questioned whether the salon should reopen. Jim Watson, the owner of the property, said he had held off leasing the property for months, even as it sat vacant and others expressed interest. He said he wanted there to be time for Sandi Fannin, co-owner of the salon with her husband, Randy, who was among those killed, and Irma Acosta, a stylist at the salon who would become an owner, to decide the next step.

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Utilities panel launches probe of troubled San Onofre nuclear plant

San onSan Onofre nuclear plant has been dark for nine months. Credit: Los Angeles Times

This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.

The California Public Utilities Commission has launched an investigation into the nine-month outage at the San Onofre nuclear plant, which could result in rates eventually being lowered or money refunded to customers of the energy companies that own the plant.

The five commissioners voted unanimously to launch the probe at its meeting Thursday in Irvine.

Commission President Michael Peevey promised that the investigation of the darkened plant -- on the coastline south of San Clemente -- will be "exhaustive."

The probe will look at the costs of the long-running outage, which resulted from defective replacement steam generators at the plant, and at the potential cost to ratepayers from repairs as well as scenarios in which one or both reactors never come back online.

According to the order adopted by the commission, ratepayers are paying more than $1.1 billion a year in costs related to the troubled plant.

The outage could add to that tab with the cost of studying the problem, repairs, replacement power and potential litigation between plant operator Southern California Edison and steam generator manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Edison has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to restart one reactor, where the issues were less severe, at partial power. The NRC must give approval before the plant can fire up again.

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'Please don't kill me,' Seal Beach massacre victim screamed

A survivor of the Seal Beach salon shootings testified that he locked himself in a bathroom to escape the mayhem and then heard a co-worker beg for her life.

“You don’t have to do this, please don’t kill me,” Laura Elody called out, according to witness Gordon Gallego, a hairstylist.

Then, Gallego said, he heard a gunshot, perhaps two.

“I heard her take her last breath,” Gallego said.

Testimony before an Orange County grand jury, which ultimately indicted former tugboat crewman Scott Dekraai in the October shooting that left eight dead and one seriously wounded, was unsealed Thursday.

Gallego, who said Elody had pounded on the door before allegedly being confronted by Dekraai, said he had to step over his co-worker’s body when he escaped from the bathroom.

The hairstylist told grand jurors that another co-worker, Michelle Fast, was on the ground, “shaking and convulsing,” apparently fighting for life.

Gallego said he recalled the co-owner of the shop, Sandy Fannin, rushing out of the salon’s color room screaming. Her husband, Randy Fannin, had been shot and was near his workstation, lying on his back, the witness said.

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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.

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Entire city of Seal Beach called a victim in mass killing

Seal beach memorial
A shooting rampage that left eight people dead at a Seal Beach beauty salon last year was so emotionally wrenching to residents in the small beach town that prosecutors say they'll use that as part of their argument that the accused killer deserves the death penalty

In court papers filed this week, prosecutors said that if former tugboat crewman Scott Dekraai is convicted in the slayings, they will present “victim impact” evidence on behalf of the entire city to show that the mid-day shooting had a lasting effect on the city.

Assistant Dist. Atty. Dan Wagner said in court filings that Dekraai, 42, exhibited a “high degree of cruelty, viciousness and callousness,” when he allegedly walked into Salon Meritage and shot and killed his ex-wife and seven others. He's also accused of wounding a ninth person.

Dekraai has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of murder and a single count of attempted murder.

Wagner said in the document that the victims were “particularly vulnerable” when they were shot "execution-style" at close range. The shooting, the prosecutor said, was carried out with “planning, sophistication and professionalism” by Dekraai, who wore a bulletproof vest during the rampage. 

Wagner said in the document that he would also argue that the harm done by the crimes affected not only victim’s families but survivors, witnesses (including first responders) and the entire community.

Dekraai has a history of alleged criminal activity involving the “use or attempted use of force or violence,” the prosecutor said.

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Seal Beach shooting: Judge orders release of grand jury testimony

Seal beach

An Orange County judge on Friday ordered the release of portions of grand jury testimony in the case against a former tugboat crewman accused of fatally shooting eight people in a two-minute burst of violence last October at a Seal Beach hair salon.

Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals told attorneys for accused killer Scott Dekraai that releasing some of the grand jury testimony wouldn’t “deny your client a fair trial.”

Portions of the transcript, however, will remain sealed when the testimony is released next month, Goethals ordered. He described that material, which will be reviewed by prosecutors and defense attorneys in the coming days, as being highly sensitive.

“Especially since he’s the only living parent of a very young son,” the judge added.

Seal Beach Shooting: Photo gallery of a community in mourning.

Dekraai, 42, is charged with eight counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances and a single count of attempted murder in the October shooting at the Salon Meritage. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

Among those killed was his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier. Authorities say that Dekraai -– armed with three guns, extra ammunition and wearing a bulletproof vest -- walked into the salon and shot customers and employees alike.

As he walked out of the salon, authorities say Dekraai randomly shot and killed a man sitting in his Range Rover in the shopping center parking lot.

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Seal Beach salon where eight were shot to death will re-open

Salon II
The Seal Beach salon where eight people – customers and workers alike – were shot to death in Orange County’s worst mass killing will reopen for business later this year, the wife of the shop owner says.

Sandi Fannin, whose husband, Randy, was among those shot to death last October, told the Orange County Register that after extensive remodeling, Salon Meritage would open for business again, under the same name and in the same location.

"I want to do it for the people who died and for the people of Seal Beach,” Fannin told the newspaper. “And I think my husband would want me to."

Full coverage: Deadly shooting at Seal Beach beauty salon

Six women and two men were shot to death at the Seal Beach salon after Scott Dekraai allegedly opened fire, authorities said.

Dekraai’s former wife, who he was battling for custody rights of their young son, was among those slain.

The killings shocked the tiny beachfront community and brought residents together for impromptu vigils and the salon became a memorial, engulfed in flowers that arrived by the armful.

"Violence and crime like that can't win over the goodness of people," Fannin said.

The Laguna Beach resident told the Register she thought and prayed about her decision before engaging in talks with a designer and the building's owner.

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Temecula church vandalized in possible hate crime

A burned Bible and a bench marked with a pentagram were tossed outside of a Catholic church in Temecula, prompting an investigation of a possible hate crime.

The pentagram was found scrawled on a bench that was tossed into a fountain outside of St. Catherine of Alexandria Church last week, Riverside County sheriff’s officials told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Then, on Monday, a charred Bible was discovered by parishioners outside the main doors to the sanctuary. Several gravestones were also knocked off their bases the same day at a nearby cemetery.

“It’s a little sad ...” Manuel Cardoza, a priest at St. Catherine’s, told the Press-Enterprise. “Unfortunately, these things happen in this world.”


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