Although authorities have not released a motive in the salon shooting that left eight people dead in Seal Beach, witnesses and former co-workers said the shooting may have been triggered by a bad divorce.
"I’ve been gone from this salon for about two years now, but in the past I knew there was a lot of strife between the two. I just didn’t think it would happen like this, years later. It’s just unfathomable," said Lydia Sosa, a former co-worker.
Lydia Oliver, a salon customer, said the shooter matched the description of her friend's ex-husband.
"When I found out, I tried to call her cell to say, 'please don't tell me it's you,'" said Oliver. "I haven't got a call back, so… and she was working today."
The shooting occurred about 1:30 p.m. at the Salon Meritage in the 500 block of the Pacific Coast Highway.
"It just caught everyone off guard and people started running outside to see what was happening," said Zach Benson, who was working at a nearby restaurant. "It was a very bizarre scene."
Six victims were found dead inside the salon. Three others were taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Two later died, said Sgt. Steve Bowles of the Seal Beach Police Department.
Victims were found throughout the entire salon, Bowles said, but several survivors inside escaped without harm.
"It appears that the salon was busy at the time and it appears almost every hair station, if you will, was occupied," Bowles said.
One suspect, described as a white man, heavy set, with a beard, was detained in a white pickup truck about a half-mile from the scene during a traffic stop. The man was ordered out of a vehicle, from which witnesses said police recovered several guns.
The suspect may have been wearing body armor and other protective clothing, according to police.
The suspect did not resist arrest, police said. A motive was not immediately known.
"We feel very confident we have the single and only suspect in custody," Bowles said.
Several streets in the area, including 5th, were closed, but the PCH remained open as police investigated the incident. Businesses around the salon were closed for the day.
Relatives of victims were being taken to a nearby spiritual center.
"Our primary mission now is to support these families," Bowles said.
The Salon Meritage is described as a reasonably priced salon that opened its doors to the beachside community in 1990. It offers a variety of hair services and make-up consultation, according to Yelp reviewers.
The city had only one homicide last year and none during the previous three years, according to statistics compiled by the police department.