Action movies have us prepped for villains to attack a national monument or set a bomb to go off in a stadium, but some of the most horrifying attacks are those that take place in entirely mundane locations. This year we've already seen shootings and a pharmacy on Long Island, and of course the Arizona grocery store where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was holding a meet-and-greet. Today another gunman opened fire on people who were just going about their day-to-day business, and now eight people are dead and one is critically injured.
This afternoon in Seal Beach, an affluent town in Southern California, a man walked into the Salon Meritage and opened fire in the crowded room. A woman named Cindy, who was getting her hair done at the time, told the L.A. Times,
"We thought it was maybe firecrackers, but he just didn't stop. Anybody saw he was shooting ... It went boom, boom, boom ... I was afraid he was going to shoot everybody."
After several minutes of shooting, the attacker jumped into his car and drove away. Police stopped him about a half-mile away from the salon and placed him under arrest. He was heavily armed when he entered the salon, and police found more weapons in his truck. Six men and women died at the scene, and two died later at the hospital. The ninth victim is still in critical condition at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.
Police won't comment on the suspect, but Lydia Sosa, a former salon employee, told the New York Times that the shooter was the ex-husband of another employee. "They were never happy for a long, long time," Sosa said. "She said he was bitter. He was very bitter." Other eyewitnesses said the two were involved in a custody dispute.
The town is in a state of shock, and police had to call in reinforcements from neighboring towns to help control crowds and help grieving friends and family members. Dr. James Blake, a dentist who works in the shopping center, said, "When you have somebody who just loses it, you can be anywhere and not be safe."