Seal Beach Holds Fundraiser For Salon Meritage Memorial
SEAL BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Profits from a fundraiser in Seal Beach Saturday will go towards constructing a memorial honoring the victims of the Salon Meritage tragedy.
Scott Dekraai, a 44-year-old former tugboat operator from Huntington Beach, fatally shot his ex-wife and seven others at Salon Meritage in October 2011. He pleaded guilty to the shootings on May 2.
The massacre was the deadliest mass killing in Orange County history.
The Miss Seal Beach organization handed flowers to families who lost loved ones that day.
CBS2’s Art Barron reported that hundreds gathered for this memorial fundraiser and block party.
“So many people here, just celebrating what we lost,” said Hattie Stretz.
“This is a celebration of how the community came together in support of something so ugly,” said her husband, Tom.
The Stretz’s daughter — 46-year-old Laura Webb Elody — was among the eight people killed. Laura’s mom was also wounded in the rampage.
“And all the other people there were just like part of our family,” Hattie said, “So it was really, really a difficult time.”
Attendees enjoyed a classic car show and live music, art, entertainment for the kids and food.
The City of Seal Beach and local business Afflicted Clothing co-sponsored the event.
“It still unites us as a community. It’s something that holds us together. We will always remember that day,” said assistant city manager Patrick Gallegos.
The money being raised at the block party will go to help construct a $100,000 memorial to honor all the victims.
It will be heart shaped with a seating wall located at Eisenhower Park near the Seal Beach Pier.
“Scott Dekraii left the Salon and my dad pulled in at the wrong time,” said Paul Caouette. His father, David, shot and killed outside the store was Dekraii’s final victim.
“The way this community came together is incredible,” Caouette said, “this is an outpouring of it right here.”
Organizers hope to have the memorial completed before the tragedy’s third anniversary in October.