Candlelight vigil Thursday in Seal Beach for victims of Salon Meritage killings

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A candlelight ceremony will be held Thursday night in Seal Beach to honor the memories of the victims of the Salon Meritage shooting, the day before the first anniversary of the worst mass killing in Orange County history.

Attendees are encouraged to wear white as a sign of peace and candles will be provided. Dorothy Wineman, the Orange County Fire Authority Pipes and Drums singer, and the Los Alamitos High School Choir are expected to perform.

On Oct. 12, 2011, eight people were shot and killed, seven inside Salon Meritage.

The alleged shooter, Scott Dekraai – the ex-husband of hair stylist Michelle Fournier – is on trial for murder. The trial is expected to start in 2013.

The killings shocked the beach town of 25,000 people.

A year later, the salon where the shooting occurred is being transformed. Workers have dismantled everything inside and rebuilding, from floor to ceiling, is nearly finished.

For a few months after the tragedy, no one seemed interested in reopening Salon Meritage.

But Irma Acosta, who started at Salon Meritage when it first opened, is the new owner.

The name, Salon Meritage, will be the same. And Acosta said nearly all the employees who survived the shooting are coming back to work, including former owner Sandi Fannin, whose husband was among those killed in the shooting.

The salon is expected to reopen sometime in the next several weeks.

The Thursday vigil is at Eisenhower Park, north side of the pier, Ocean Avenue and Main Street in Seal Beach. At 5 p.m., Grace Community Church, 138 Eighth St., will be open for prayer and reflection.

With contributions from Brian Watt

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