BROOKFIELD, Wis. — Police launched a manhunt Sunday afternoon for a gunman they believe opened fire at a suburban Milwaukee spa, killing three people and wounding four before fleeing.
Authorities said they believed the shooting was related to a domestic dispute. The man they identified as the suspect, Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer, had a restraining order against him.
The shooting happened about 11 a.m. at the Azana Day Spa, a two-story, 9,000-square-foot building across from a major shopping mall in Brookfield, a middle-to-upper class community west of Milwaukee. Hours later, a bomb squad descended on the building, and Police Chief Dan Tushaus said an improvised explosive device was found inside.
Haughton's father, Radcliffe Haughton, Sr., told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Florida that he had last spoken to his son a few days ago, but didn't have any indication anything was wrong.
He had a message for his son: "Please just turn yourself in or contact me."
Authorities located a vehicle belonging to Haughton outside of Brookfield, but there were no other signs of him. The mall, a country club adjacent to the spa, a nearby hospital and other buildings were locked down as police searched for Haughton. At an afternoon news conference, authorities begged for the public's assistance in finding him, and urged anyone with information about him to contact police.
Tushaus described the situation as "fluid and ongoing," saying officers were initially focused on reaching and helping the victims. The victim's names were not released by authorities, and a hospital treating the victims also was put on lockdown. Staff members were being escorted into the building, and critically injured patients were being accepted with a police escort. Officers were stationed at all main entrances to the facility.
A sea of ambulances and police vehicles collected at the scene shortly after the shooting. A witness, David Gosh of nearby West Allis, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he was returning from duck hunting with his father and a friend when he saw a woman emerge from the spa, screaming, as she ran into traffic. The area is near an interstate and a busy commercial road.
"She ran right out into the street was pounding on cars," Gosh told the newspaper. He said that moments later, a man with a handgun ran out, and appeared to be chasing her, then went back inside.
People inside the mall were patiently awaiting updates, and for word they could leave. Gina Kralik, a bartender at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in the mall, said by telephone that the restaurant was still locked down as of about 3 p.m. She said 18 people were there -- all employees except for a couple reporters who managed to get in. She said people were allowed to leave at one point, but then the police decided not to let anyone come or go from the mall.
"We're just sitting watching the news and also trying to find out what's going on," she said.
Police released little about Haughton other than a physical description and a photo. They said he was wearing a grey sweater, jeans, and carrying a white and black backpack. They said he was 6-foot-2, and more than 200 pounds.
Online court records showed a temporary restraining order was issued against Haughton in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Oct. 8 because of a domestic abuse complaint. Haughton appeared in court Thursday, when a no-contact order was issued and he was told to turn all his weapons over to the sheriff's department.1 comment on this story
It was not clear who sought the restraining order, but his father said he was married.
It was the second mass shooting in Wisconsin this year. Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran and white supremacist, killed six people and injured three others before fatally shooting himself Aug. 5 at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee.
The shooting at the mall took place less than a mile from where seven people were killed and four wounded on March 12, 2005, when a gunman opened fire at a Living Church of God service held at a hotel.