- Associated Press - Thursday, October 13, 2011

SEAL BEACH, Calif. The ex-wife of the man suspected of killing eight people in a shooting rampage at a hair salon claimed in court papers filed this year that he was mentally unstable and had threatened to kill himself or someone else at least once.

Michelle Fournier Dekraai made the allegations in May in a filing related to her long-running, bitter custody battle with Scott Dekraai over their 7-year-old son.

There was no sign that she had filed a restraining order, but a relative of Mr. Dekraai’s said Michelle told her that he had walked into the Meritage Salon as recently as two months ago and threatened to kill her and her co-workers.

Police say Mr. Dekraai opened fire Wednesday afternoon in the salon where his ex-wife worked, and was arrested soon after. A day earlier, he had been in court for a hearing related to the custody dispute.

Police have not released information about the victims, and it was not clear if Michelle Dekraai is among them, but witnesses say she was at the salon when the gunman barged in and began shooting.

The couple divorced in 2007, and Mr. Dekraai remarried, but the battle over their son continued to rage. Michelle Dekraai wrote in the court papers that her ex-husband was “almost manic when it comes to demanding absolute right to control our son and make unilateral decisions.”

She wrote that giving him more custody of their child would be lead to “a situation where the inmates are running the asylum.”

Sharyn White, a step-aunt of Mr. Dekraai and a friend of his ex-wife, said Michelle previously told her that Mr. Dekraai had walked into the salon and threatened to kill Michelle and others. Miss White said that, according to Michelle, her colleagues and the customers in the salon laughed off the threat.

Miss White, of Seal Beach, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Dekraai had a troubled upbringing and grappled with mental illness.

Michelle Dekraai wrote in the court filing that her ex-husband had been physically abusive to her during their marriage, and that in 2008 he beat his stepfather, pleaded guilty to assault and battery, and underwent a year of anger-management counseling.

A temporary restraining order obtained by Mr. Dekraai’s stepfather in 2007 said that his son attacked him that year, leaving him with cuts and bruises on his face and right arm. It said the couple’s son witnessed the attack.

Michelle Dekraai also said that her ex-husband called 911 at least once “advised that he was going to kill himself or someone else.” She wrote that he “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.”

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