Lone survivor of California salon shooting leaves hospital

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 17, 2011 7:33 PM
Lone survivor of California salon shooting leaves hospital

By Dan Whitcomb

LONG BEACH, Calif (Reuters) - The lone survivor of a shooting spree at a Southern California hair salon that killed eight people last week was released from a local hospital on Monday, a spokeswoman said.

Harriet Stretz, 73, left Long Beach Memorial Medical Center five days after the rampage at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach that left her in critical condition, hospital spokeswoman Wendy Dow said. Stretz's condition was upgraded to good on Sunday.

Witnesses say Stretz was in a chair having her hair styled by her 46-year-old daughter, hairstylist Laura Lee Elody, last Wednesday when a gunman stormed in and opened fire, killing eight people, including Elody.

Also shot to death in the largest mass murder in Orange County history were Salon Meritage owner Randy Fannin, 62, and 48-year-old Michelle Fournier.

Fournier's ex-husband, Scott Evans Dekraai, was arrested a few blocks from the bloody scene and charged on Friday with first-degree murder for the eight deaths and one count of attempted murder.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has said he would seek the death penalty against Dekraai, 42.

Prosecutors said the former tug boat mate, who divorced Fournier in 2007, was seeking revenge against her in a bitter custody dispute over their 8-year-old son when he walked into the salon carrying three handguns and opened fire.

Also on Monday, police released dramatic tapes of emergency calls made by witnesses to the shooting, in which one woman can be heard telling the dispatcher that she had heard 10 shots and "he's still shooting right now."

Another woman who was apparently inside the salon when the shooting began is then heard screaming and crying as she describes the gunman as a white male, about 45 years old.

The killings stunned Seal Beach, a small beachside community that had experienced only four homicides in the past decade, and the sidewalk in front of Salon Meritage has become a makeshift memorial to the dead.

Dekraai did not enter a plea during a brief court appearance on Friday in which his attorney asked that he be given access to his medication, including two anti-psychotic drugs. An Orange County Superior Court judge ordered Dekraai, who is being held without bail, back to court next month.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)