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Accused Calif. salon shooter made threats to his ex-wife before, family and friends say

Police officers stand with who was being held in a patrol car at the scene of the arrest of a suspect near the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, Calif., where a shooting left eight people dead and one critically injured Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. Seal Beach police have identified the suspect in the salon massacre as Scott Evans Dekraai.
Scott Evans Dekraai (r.) AP Photo/Reed Saxon

(CBS/AP) SEAL BEACH, Calif. - Family and friends of Michelle Fournier, the ex-wife of the shooter who police say opened fire at a hair salon in Seal Beach, CA where she worked, said she feared for her safety as her ex-husband became more unbalanced.

Pictures: Seal Beach salon shooting

Fournier, a stylist at Salon Meritage, was engaged in a long and bitter custody struggled with ex-husband Scott Dekraai for custody of their 8-year-old son.

Dekraai, 41, was being held without bail Friday on suspicion of murder after police alleged he barged into the upscale salon and opened fire, killing six women, two men and leaving another woman in critical condition. Police said Thursday that Fournier was among the dead.

Dekraai suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from a 2007 tugboat accident that mangled his leg and left a colleague dead, but his marriage to Fournier was falling apart even before that. The court battle over their son was still raging Wednesday before the shooting.

Fournier had indicated to friends and in court documents that she was afraid of her ex-husband. Her friend Sharyn White said that just weeks before the killings, Fournier told her that her ex-husband had stopped by and threatened to kill her and others there.

Fouriner also told White that when they were still married Dekraai had once held a gun to her head.

There is no sign that Fournier sought a restraining order against her husband although other friends agree she was afraid.

"As recently as a month ago, she told me how scared she was and I offered to hire her bodyguards," said Tim Terbush, a longtime friend. He said she turned him down because she feared that would only make Dekraai angrier.

Police officers who arrived within minutes of reports of shots fired encountered a horrific scene, with bodies of victims scattered throughout the salon. There was also a man bleeding in the parking lot outside.

Only one victim, who was identified as David Caouette was killed outside of the salon. Caouette happened to park next to the gunman as he was running back to his truck.

Other victims were identified by police Thursday as Randy Fannin, Victoria Buzzo, Lucia Kondas, Laura Elody, Christy Wilson and Michelle Fast.

Fannin was the salon's owner, according to family and friends.

Dekraai and Fournier attended what should have been a routine court hearing Tuesday in their custody battle.

According to Fournier's boyfriend, a report by a court-appointed psychologist found the current custody arrangement was working and should not be changed. Dekraai had tried to meet Fournier for coffee the day of the shooting, but she refused.

In court documents filed in May, Fournier described her husband as "almost manic" when it came to controlling their son.

She said Dekraai "is a diagnosed bipolar individual who has problems with his own medication and his reaction to same, and he certainly shouldn't be allowed to have unilateral and unfettered control of any and all medical and psychological aspects of our son's life."

Court records show a temporary restraining order was obtained by Dekraai's stepfather in 2007 after the man said Dekraai attacked him, leaving him with cuts and bruises on his face and right arm. The order also said his young son had witnessed the attack.

More on Crimesider
October 13, 2011 - Ex-wife of accused Calif. salon shooter said he was "abusive" in court filingsOctober 13, 2011 - Seal Beach, Calif. salon shooting suspect identified as Scott Evans DekraaiOctober 12, 2011 - 6 dead, 3 injured in Seal Beach, Calif. shooting

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