AirTalk for October 13, 2011

Seal Beach tragedy may be linked to custody dispute

Eight Killed, One Critical After Shooting At California Hair Salon

David McNew/Getty Images

Investigators collect evidence at Salon Meritage hair salon where a man shot nine people, killing eight of them, on October 12, 2011, in Seal Beach, California.

Orange County’s normally peaceful Seal Beach community is struggling with the shocking events of yesterday afternoon. Scott Dekraai stormed into the Salon Meritage and began shooting, killing eight people and critically wounding a ninth.

Dekraai’s ex-wife – Michelle Fournier, a stylist at the salon – was reportedly one of the victims. The couple had been involved in a nasty custody dispute over their son. But friends described Dekraai as a doting father and Good Samaritan – anything but the image of a mass murderer. His next-door neighbor called him “the nicest guy ever.” His ex-wife’s attorney told a local newspaper that his "demeanor was always very controlled, almost serene; in my dealings with him, I never saw him get upset, get agitated." In fact Dekraai, a former tugboat operator, had been seriously injured in a boating mishap in 2007 while trying to help another crew member out of danger.

WEIGH IN

So, why did Dekraii snap? What could push this apparently mild-mannered guy over the edge? Were there warning signs that nobody picked up on? Could it happen to anyone in your community? Have you ever felt close to the edge because of circumstances in your life?

Guest:

Dr. John Sharp, M.D., assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA); psychiatrist and neuropsychiatrist with private practices in Boston and Los Angeles; author of "The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences and Milestones to Become Happier, More Fulfilled, and in Control of Your Life"


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