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Wife of spa shooting suspect had obtained restraining order

October 21, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • Dan Tushaus, police chief in Brookfield, Wis., briefs reporters Sunday about the shooting at a spa that left three dead and four wounded.
Dan Tushaus, police chief in Brookfield, Wis., briefs reporters Sunday… (Tom Lynn / Associated Press )

The suspect in the Wisconsin spa shooting that killed three people and injured four others Sunday morning had slashed his wife’s tires at the spa two weeks ago, and the rampage may be linked to an ongoing domestic violence dispute, police said Sunday night.

After the tire-slashing incident, the wife of Radcliffe Haughton sought a temporary restraining order against him, and a Milwaukee County court issued a four-year restraining order Thursday, Brookfield Police Chief Dan Tushaus said in a televised news conference.

Haughton, 45, shot himself to death, Tushaus said. His wife was an employee at the Azana Spa in Brookfield, a western Milwaukee suburb.

The victims, all women, have not been identified, and it is not known whether Haughton's wife is among them, police said.

After a six-hour manhunt in the area, Haughton was found dead inside the spa. A one-pound propane tank was also found in the building, Tushaus said.

The surrounding area has been reopened, but police said it could take days or weeks before the spa building opened again because of the investigation.

Officials said they were confronted with a complex crime scene — a two-story, 9,000-square-foot spa building with numerous treatment rooms.

In the moments after the shooting, police received multiple 911 calls from patrons still inside. A fire, which eventually was doused by sprinklers, released smoke that made searching more difficult.

Police originally thought an improvised explosive device could be inside, prompting a full-force response from the police bomb squad. A nearby mall and country club were locked down, as was the hospital where the victims were taken.

Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital released a statement saying four patients with gunshot wounds were admitted and all were expected to survive.

The first patient was in surgery and in critical condition. The second patient had completed a surgical procedure and was in satisfactory condition. The third patient was being stabilized and would undergo surgery Sunday night. The fourth patient had been admitted with injuries that did not require surgery, the statement said.

“Because there was a threat that the suspect had entered the hospital, we instituted a lockdown and extensive search of the building,” the statement said. The hospital has been reopened.

President Obama called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto on Sunday night to express his condolences.

“The president told the governor and mayor that he had spoken with FBI Director [Robert S.] Mueller and had directed him to make sure that the federal government continues to provide whatever resources are necessary to support the ongoing response and investigation to this horrible event,” according to a White House statement.

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