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Wisconsin spa attack may be rooted in domestic violence

October 22, 2012|By Michael Muskal

One woman remained in critical condition on Monday morning after a gunman opened fire in a Wisconsin spa, killing three and wounding four in the second mass shooting in the state this year.

Of the four women injured in the shooting spree, three were listed in satisfactory condition but one remained in critical condition, according to a statement from Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. The hospital gave no identifications, but officials said the wounded ranged in age from 22 to 40.

The suspected gunman, Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, turned his gun on himself after opening fire Sunday inside the spa in Brookfield, a middle- to upper-class suburb of Milwaukee.

Although officials are still investigating the shooting, police said it appears rooted in domestic violence disputes between Haughton and his wife, Zina, who worked at the spa. No other suspect is being sought, officials said.

TIMELINE: U.S. mass shootings

Police did not say Monday whether Zina Haughton is among the killed or wounded and have not released the identities of the other victims.

Haughton, who worked as an upscale car salesman, lived with Zina in their Brown Deer, Wis., ranch house since 2002. They had a 13-year-old daughter, and Zina Houghton’s 20-year-old daughter from an earlier marriage also lived there.

Authorities and court records portrayed Haughton as man with a history of violence and domestic abuse.

He had been arrested for slashing his wife’s tires on Oct. 4, prompting Zina Haughton to seek a court order of protection. In a court filing, Zina Haughton said her husband thought she was cheating on him and threatened to kill her if she ever left him or called the police. She told the court he threatened to burn her and her family with gas and said he would throw acid in her face, according to the Associated Press.

The court on Thursday granted a four-year restraining order against Haughton, prohibiting him from harassing his wife and also ordered him to surrender any firearms. At a Sunday evening news conference, Brookfield Police Chief Dan Tushaus declined to comment on whether Haughton had surrendered any weapons before the attack.

Haughton’s history of battery and disorderly conduct charges stretched to 1984, according to the Chicago Tribune. Haughton, who grew up in suburban Chicago, had been charged with battery three times but was never convicted. He pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge this year and was sentenced to a year of court supervision, which was supposed to completed in December, according to Cook County court records, the newspaper said.

Around 11 a.m. Sunday, reports of shots being fired at the Azana Salon & Spa were called into local police. When they arrived, authorities said the building was already filled with smoke from a fire believed to have been set by Haughton.

The spa where Zina Haughton worked was in a two-story, 9,000-square-foot building across the street from a shopping mall. A country club and the hospital where the wounded were taken are nearby.

For about six hours, the area was shut down as officials moved gingerly through the complicated layout of the building with many smaller treatment rooms. The bodies were recovered in the spa.

Sunday was the second mass shooting this year in Wisconsin. 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 also 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.

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