More than 1,000 mourners gathered for a prayer service and candlelight vigil Thursday night to honor the memory of eight Seal Beach residents gunned down in a shooting rampage and pray for the lone survivor who escaped with her life.
Special Section: Complete Coverage of Seal Beach Massacre
Grieving residents of the tight-knit Seal Beach community wept and embraced as they struggled to come to terms with the scope of the shooting, the deadliest in Orange County history.
"I didn't know any of these people, but this is like a wound for my family," Councilman Gordon Shanks told residents at the prayer service. "These things are not supposed to happen here."
Mourners held candles and roses and sang "Amazing Grace" outside of Salon Meritage, where police say 41-year-old Scott Dekraai opened fire Wednesday, killing six women and two men.
Among the dead are Randy Lee Fannin, 62, the owner of Salon Meritage, Laura Lee Elody, 46, a salon employee, and Michelle Marie Fournier, 48, the ex-wife of the suspected shooter who also worked at the salon.
Other victims include Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Michelle Daschbach Fast, 47; David Caouette, 64; and Christy Lynn Wilson, 47.
Elody's mother, Hattie Stretz, 73, is the lone survivor. Stretz was reportedly at the salon visiting her daughter. Stretz is currently in critical condition at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.
Mourners remembered Michelle Daschbach Fast, whose daughter is turning 16 this weekend, and Christy Lynn Wilson, a friend of Michelle Fournier who enjoyed paddle-boarding and jewelry-making.
A man who identified himself as Michelle Fournier's brother spoke haltingly. "She's my sister," he said. "She's my only sister. She's gone. It's stupid."
Steve Huff, Fournier's first husband, said his ex-wife was at work at the salon when she was gunned down. "She was a good mom, was a good daughter," Huff said. "She's a good sister, a good friend. Just living her life. Who would ever think someone would do something like this?"
Flowers and cards rested on the hood and roof of a white sedan that appeared to be the car of one of the victims. Votive candles lined the curb nearby, and the window was left open, as if the person was just gone for a moment and would soon return.