Transcript for Former Marine Accused of Massacre
It is only human that in the face of monstrous acts we seek logical explanation something anything to convince us that it couldn't happen here. But in the case of Scott -- described in terms as a loving father deeply troubled man and now -- mass murder suspect the puzzle is confounding. We can only imagine the shock and pain and once peaceful Seal Beach, California. Here's ABC's David Wright. A candlelight vigil outside -- beach town beauty parlor scene of America's latest mass murder this -- not random act of violence. The suspect -- intended victim the police are right this wasn't a random act of violence. It appears to have been one man on a Rampage. The suspect 42 year old -- to cry ex husband of one of the stylists at the salon all -- Pop pop. Eyewitnesses say He killed her first then kept shooting we all kind of -- down. I called 91 mind. All I could hear were screams. And shots eight people killed including a man just getting into his car in the parking lot. -- -- -- We're actually looking out the window and saw the shooter. Should men parking line so we just grabbed everybody clients and ourselves are about nine -- here. And -- into the bathroom locked the door. Survivors were visibly shaken in the immediate aftermath the smell of gunpowder steel in the air even after the shooting stopped. No this wasn't random but it was senseless. Even to people who suspected to crime might have been near the breaking point. We kind of thought this in the back of our hearts it was like this could happen. And so was no surprise I didn't even have to ask you get it. To -- -- was a lifelong Orange County resident an ex marine and by all accounts a devoted father I've known Scott for about point five years. Through. Fishing. -- serving. And playing together in town. He's been really consistent. Person -- what do you make of -- It's crazy. It truly is crazy Steve sweet says something drastically changed in 2007. When to -- it was a tugboat captain. He and had an accident with a tugboat. A terrible accident decry tried to save a fellow crew member who was sliced in half mile line. He was badly injured himself and what -- that -- excellent. It actually. Took his top -- was leg right period a prosthesis. And started -- I guess depressed. About that time to -- filed for divorce moved in with his nurse. And filed for custody of his son accusing his ex wife of being a drunk something she has denied. But in 2008 the court even granted him a restraining order banning her from consuming alcohol before -- during child visits. Neighbors would often see him playing catch with his son and their Labrador Retriever outside the little blue bungalow where they lived. He -- dot yet assigned -- played in the yard. You know I'd wish him happy Father's Day that you to mar the Michelle the -- never gave up in court papers filed in May she accused him of spending all his waking hours in pursuit of ways to divest all custody rights from. She insisted He was diagnosed bipolar had been physically abusive tour. And at one point had threatened to kill himself. Or someone else they had their latest court hearing Monday one day before the murders Michelle -- hadn't even gotten around to putting away the court documents. There they are in the back of her car still parked outside. The -- and our our -- actually have been in class together and their friends at school. They're buddies. -- I mean this is a small town we all know each other. It is it is devastating. One more victim in this small town tragedy a seven year old kid who has now lost both parents his mom is dead. And his dad was probably headed jail as far as being like a death penalty case. He definitely probably is going to be the candidate for that it -- it after what he's put people through. The sorrow and all of you believe hurt. I gotta say yes Seal Beach prides itself on being the sort of small town where everybody knows everybody. May vary by the -- they call it. Tonight -- he's in morning. I'm David Wright for Nightline in Seal Beach, California.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.