Candlelight vigil honors salon shooting victims

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SEAL BEACH (CNS) – A candlelight vigil was held Thursday night at Eisenhower Park to honor the eight people killed last year at a Seal Beach hair salon in the worst mass slaying in Orange County history.  Organizers encouraged attendees to wear white as a sign of peace.

The ceremony was held on the eve of the first anniversary of the massacre at Salon Meritage in order to allow mourners to mark the actual anniversary in their own way.

“None of us will ever be the same after this horrible tragedy,” Sandy Fannin, who owned the salon with her slain husband Randy, told the crowd gathered a few blocks from the salon. “But love and goodness has to win out over hate.” Salon Meritage “wasn’t just a place where you got your hair done,” she said.

“It was full of life and love and laughter and fun. We were a family and the clients were an extension of that.”  Fannin said that “after much prayer and thought I decided I could no longer own Salon Meritage without my husband and partner Randy.” Fannin said she would work for the new owner, Irma Acosta, a stylist at the salon.

KFWB’s Mike Landa was at the vigil in Seal Beach.

Paul Caouette, whose 64-year-old father David was among those killed, used to vigil to thank his friends.  “From the phone call I got that said Dad was shot, you guys rallied and stood beside me,” Caouette said.

Scott Evans Dekraai, 42, has been charged with eight murders. He has pleaded not guilty and waits trial.  Dekraai was involved in a child custody dispute with his ex-wife, hairdresser Michelle Fournier, 48, who was killed along with Randy Lee Fannin, 62; Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Laura Lee Elody, 46; Christy Lynn Wilson, 47; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47; and David Caouette, 64. Hattie Stretz, 74, was wounded but survived.

Wilson’s widower, has been campaigning for what he calls Christy’s Law, which would prohibit anyone involved in a child custody dispute in California from buying a gun or accessing an already owned firearm.

Wilson is also looking for some reform of the legal process that would allow for civil lawsuits to run parallel to criminal cases. He filed suit against Dekraai last year, but he has cited his Fifth Amendment right to freeze the civil process while his criminal case is pending.

The salon is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen later this year under the same name. Most of the hairdressers who worked there are expected to return.

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