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Seal Beach shooting: Customers recall rhythms of salon life

October 13, 2011 |  9:19 am

Salon customer Mary Stearns.

Pam Serdutz paced nervously outside the Salon Meritage early Thursday morning, desperate to know whether her favorite stylist was among the victims.

"I can't stand it, not knowing whether Gordon survived or not," she said, trying not to cry at the scene of Wednesday's shooting rampage in Seal Beach that left eight dead and one critically injured.

She was referring to Gordon Gallego, who she said had cut her hair for years.

Full coverage: Deadly shooting at Seal Beach beauty salon

“I called his home phone, but his message machine is full," Serdutz said. "I just knew something happened to him."

Playing back memories of the laid-back rhythms of life in the salon on Pacific Coast Highway, she said, "Gordon was a world traveler and a camper, and he threw great parties for the other stylists and always invited clients to join them. He was 6 feet tall, good-looking and warmhearted.

"But let me tell you how Gordon became an important part of the life of my family," said the 67-year-old teacher. "Once, 15 years ago, my 17-year-old daughter desperately needed her hair done for prom night. The woman who usually did her hair was busy that day and couldn’t do it.

"We walked in here for the first time, cold off the street and sobbing," she continued. "It was only five hours before the prom. We explained the situation, and Gordon told another stylist to take the client he was working with at that moment, and then he turned to me and said, 'Mom, give us two hours. This little girl is going to the prom, and I'm going to see to it.'

"He did her hair, he did her makeup, and she looked magnificent."

Another salon client, Mary Stearns, 53, lighted a candle Thursday morning and set it by the entrance to the salon. She said softly, "I miss you Randy."

She was referring to salon owner Randy Fannin, who was thought to be a victim of the shooting allegedly carried out by Scott Evans Dekraai, 42, who was involved in a custody dispute with his ex-wife. Dekkrai was arrested Wednesday.

Stearns stepped back and stared at the salon whose windows were covered with black trash bags, taped up to prevent ogling of what had become a crime scene.

"Randy loved full-bodied cabernets," Stearns said. "That's why the slogan for his business is 'A fine blend of hair, skin and nails.' It’s also why he fussed over details while refurbishing the interior with materials, including dark red slate squares for the floor.

"It's also why I bought him a bottle of red wine while vacationing in Australia," Stearns continued. "I delivered it on Saturday. He was so happy about that. I hope he got to drink it."


Photos: Seal Beach shooting

Makeshift memorial set up at scene

Witness says of gunman: "Anybody he saw he was shooting"

-- Louis Sahagun in Seal Beach

Photo: Salon customer Mary Stearns. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times