SEAL BEACH, Calif. (AP) - A gunman opened fire Wednesday in a
busy hair salon, killing eight people and critically wounding
another while leaving bodies scattered throughout the business in a
normally sedate Southern California beach community.
The gunman got into a car and drove away from Salon Meritage
after opening fire about 1:30 p.m. He was stopped by officers about
a half-mile away and surrendered without incident while saying he
had multiple weapons with him, police Sgt. Steve Bowles said.
His name and those of the victims were not immediately released.
Police were struggling to determine what prompted the shootings.
"There may be something to the motive as to a relationship with
somebody in the salon, that is our assumption," Bowles said.
Glenn Zachman, who owns a video news-gathering service, said he
arrived at the scene of the arrest shortly after police and saw
they had placed plastic bags over the man's hands to preserve
possible gunshot residue.
He also saw a bulletproof vest on the back of a patrol car but
didn't know if the man, dressed in a button-down shirt and pants,
had been wearing it.
The suspect was cooperative when officers, working from a
description of the shooter, stopped him near the salon, Bowles
TV news video showed the man, in handcuffs, being placed in a
patrol car and taken away about two-and-a-half hours after the
shooting. A new white pickup truck that was believed to be his was
parked on the modest residential street with its doors open.
Police responding to a report of shots fired found six people
dead and three wounded. Two of the wounded died at a hospital. The
other person was listed in critical condition.
Bowles said the victims were scattered throughout the salon. One
wounded person, a man, was found outside the building. It wasn't
clear if he was trying to flee when he was shot or if he was the
one wounded survivor.
Police were still trying to determine the sequence of events
inside the shop.
"We're unsure at this point if he shot from the entrance and
people, as they were shot, ran in seeking cover or seeking shelter,
but we have fatalities throughout the salon," Bowles told
reporters at a news conference outside the business.
"From my observation, it did look like people were seeking
shelter at the time," he said.
Bowles said the salon was busy at the time, with every
hair-dressing station in operation.
He didn't know what type of weapon was used or if the man used
more than one.
Salon employee Lorainne Bruielle, who wasn't working Wednesday,
told the Long Beach Press-Telegram the gunman was the husband of
Bruielle said she talked to the husband of one of the employees
involved, who said one worker locked herself in the salon's facial
room and was unharmed while another man locked himself in a
bathroom but was wounded.
Several visibly distressed people stood near the scene talking
on cellphones or to police shortly after the shootings. They
declined to be interviewed.
About 41/2 hours later, a police officer escorted a woman who
was crying and shaking past crime-scene tape and to her car.
Cindy Spinosa, 51, who works at a nearby business., said she
heard a siren around the time of the shooting.
"After that one of my co-workers got a phone call from her
nephew," Spinosa said. "He was outdoors when the suspect got into
his truck and took off.
"It's a little disarming," she said. "This is such a quiet
community. We don't expect things like this."
Relatives of victims were being taken to a nearby spiritual
"Obviously, a crime of this magnitude is something that Seal
Beach is not familiar with," Bowles told reporters.
Seal Beach has seen just one other homicide in the past four
years. The killings on Wednesday stunned this normally quiet
community of about 25,000 that boasts on its website that it has
"retained its quaint, small-town atmosphere" since it was founded
The beachfront city is home to Leisure World, a gated senior
citizen community of 9,000 people, as well as the Seal Beach Naval
Weapons Station military complex. Two-thirds of the city's 13.23
square miles are occupied by the Seal Beach National Wildlife
Associated Press writer John Rogers in Los Angeles contributed
to this report.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)