SEAL BEACH, Calif., (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire at a busy hair salon in the Southern California coastal town of Seal Beach yesterday, killing eight people and critically wounding another, police said.
The suspect, who was not immediately identified, fled the scene in a vehicle and was arrested moments later about a half mile away, Seal Beach police Sergeant Steve Bowles told reporters nearly two hours after the shooting.
“We feel very confident at this point that we do have the single and only suspect in custody,” Bowles said. “He appeared cooperative and did not resist our officers at all when he was detained.” “For the city of Seal Beach, this could be one of our greatest tragedies,” Bowles said of the town about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Los Angeles. Circumstances of the shooting remained murky, and Bowles said detectives were trying to establish a motive for the violence and any link between the gunman and the establishment, called the Salon Meritage.
He said the type of weapon or weapons used by the gunman was not immediately known.
Former salon employee Lidia Sosa, who went to the crime scene when she heard the news, told reporters the gunman shot and killed his ex-wife, with whom he was embroiled in a custody dispute. The owner of the shopping center, Henry Morales, said he was told by salon employees that the gunman was the former husband of a hair stylist there.
A longtime customer who identified herself only as Karen said she heard about the shooting and called her stylist, who answered the phone in a state of panic.“He was screaming, and the phone went dead. He was hysterical,” she said.
Of the nine people struck by gunfire, six were declared dead at the scene and three others were taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital with critical injuries, Bowles said. Two of those hospitalized died later of their wounds, he said.