November 4, 2011 / 9:51 PM / 8 years ago

Accused California gunman sued by dead ex-wife's family

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man accused of murdering his ex-wife and seven others in an October shooting rampage at a California hair salon was sued on Friday by his former spouse’s parents.

The parents of Michelle Fournier are seeking unspecified damages from Scott Evans Dekraai in the wake of the shooting spree at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, the worst mass killing in Orange County history.

The wrongful death lawsuit, which was filed by Joseph and Geraldine Burke in Orange County Superior Court, seeks to freeze Dekraai’s assets.

“The consequences of his cowardly rampage have devastated many families and friends, and left his own 8-year-old son, Dominic, an orphan,” the lawsuit said.

Dominic Dekraai, the only child of Fournier and Dekraai, will be raised by Chelsea Huff, 24, a biological daughter of Fournier from a previous marriage who lives in nearby Los Alamitos, the family’s attorney Eric Traut said.

The parents have opted not to care for Dominic because they are elderly and live in Batavia, New York, a “very cold area,” Traut said.

“The parents don’t need the money and don’t want the money,” Traut said, “but they want any compensation to go to Dominic.”

Dekraai, 42, was charged with eight counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder after he was accused of killing his ex-wife and seven others and critically injuring one other person.

“I talked to the DA this morning and said we would not interfere with his investigation,” Traut said. “It’s such a slam dunk that I don’t need to run around and take depositions of people.”

Dekraai argued over the telephone with Fournier, 48, hours before the shooting, then armed himself with three handguns and extra ammunition and strapped on a bullet-proof vest, according to an arrest warrant affidavit used to search his property after his arrest.

He later drove to the Salon Meritage along California’s famed Pacific Coast Highway in Seal Beach, where he is accused of opening fire on his former spouse and other employees and customers.

“Dekraai immediately walked up to Fournier and shot her multiple times,” the warrant said. “Dekraai then shot a second female client who he knew as Christy. Dekraai stated that Christy had recently testified against him in a child custody dispute.”

Christy Lynn Wilson, 47, was among the eight people killed in the attack.”

“Dekraai then stated that the male owner of the shop, 62-year-old Randy Lee Fannin, ran up to him armed with scissors, so Dekraai shot him at the front door,” the search warrant said.

In addition to the eight people who died, 73-year-old Harriet Stretz survived bullet wounds she suffered in the shooting. Witnesses say Stretz was in a chair having her hair coiffed by her 46-year-old daughter, hairstylist Laura Lee Elody, when the shooting started. Elody was among the dead.

Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston

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