Salon owner had loyal following at popular shop

AP News
Posted: Oct 14, 2011 1:54 AM
Salon owner had loyal following at popular shop

If there is a Southern California way of life, Randy Fannin seemed to have found it.

The salon owner lived along the back nine of a desert golf course and his prosperous business is located just blocks from the beach and boasts a loyal clientele that had followed him from salon to salon.

A golf cart and Jet Skis were stored in his garage, and he had a swimming pool in his backyard.

Fannin was among the two men and six women killed Wednesday in a shooting rampage at his Salon Meritage in Seal Beach.

Seal Beach Police Sgt. Steve Bowles identified the eight people killed in the shooting as Fannin, Victoria Buzzo, Lucia Kondas, Laura Elody, Christy Wilson, Michelle Fournier, Michelle Fast and David Caouette.

Fournier's ex-husband Scott Dekraai is under arrest as the lone suspect in the deadliest shooting in Orange County history.

Hattie Stretz, 73, was wounded in the attack and is recovering at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, according to The Orange County Register. Stretz is Elody's mother.

Fournier was in a bitter custody battle with Dekraai over their 8-year-old son.

Fournier's ex-husband Steve Huff and brother Butch Fournier described Dekraai as an unstable man, with a workplace injury settlement that provided him with financial resources to use in their court battle.

Fournier was born in Boston and raised in Long Beach. Before marrying Dekraai, she was married to Huff, her Lakewood High School sweetheart. The couple had two children.

"She had a good heart, she was everybody's friend," Huff said.

Family and friends said she loved her work as a stylist, had a bubbly personality and was a great cook.

"She cooked a mean meatball," Butch Fournier said.

Salon-owner Fannin was a wine connoisseur, said friend and customer Mary Stearns. When he built the salon 20 years ago, he put slate tiles on the floor and Roman-inspired paintings on the walls. He called it a "fine blend of hair, skin and nails."

Fannin and wife Sandy, a stylist at the salon, were married at least 20 years, Stearns said.

Sandy Fannin survived the attack because she was in the back of the shop, said Ron Sesler, who owns a steakhouse next to the salon where many customers and stylists sought refuge during the shooting.

Stearns had stopped by the shop Saturday to make an appointment for Oct. 15 and give Fannin a bottle of Dragon's Lair wine she bought for him on a recent trip to Australia.

"I was really, really, really happy I got to see him," she said, explaining she'd known him for more than 30 years and followed him to three different salons to get her hair done every eight weeks.

Asked if Fannin had a specialty, Stearns said, "He loved the `Brazilian Blowout.' He tried to get me to do it, but it was too expensive." A large sticker on the salon door also promoted the hair straightening treatment.

The Fannins spent Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at their home on the 18-hole Golf Club at Rancho California in the desert town of Murrieta. They drove to the salon every Wednesday, neighbor Sam Zorilla said.

Wednesday through Sunday, the Fannins stayed at a friend's home near the beach.

"He liked to play basketball with his grandson," said friend and neighbor Pandora Gage, who has known the Fannins since 2005. "He liked to golf. He was a really, really nice guy. They were a wonderful couple."

Neighbors described Randy Fannin as solid, friendly, caring and involved. Customers described him as family.

Handsome too, said customer Elaine Metz of Long Beach. "He looked like Tom Selleck."

Neighbor and occasional golf partner Ross Vacca said he last saw Fannin on Monday.

"I was playing golf with two guys and he was on his bedroom patio hosing down around his pool," Vacca said. "It's just so hard to imagine that he is gone. It's a shock."

Conversations with Fannin generally focused on "just neighbor chit chat," Gage said.

"He would always call me kiddo," she remembered.


Associated Press writer Amy Taxin contributed to this report from Garden Grove, Calif.