Wisconsin gunman in salon attack had history of abuse

A suspect accused killing three women at a salon, had a history of domestic abuse, with claims that he had slashed his wife's tyres weeks earlier. (AFP)

A suspect accused killing three women at a salon, had a history of domestic abuse, with claims that he had slashed his wife's tyres weeks earlier. (AFP)

Radcliffe Franklin Haughton damaged his wife's tires on October 4, Brookfield police said. She sought court protection four days later, and a judge granted a four-year restraining order on Thursday. As part of the order, Haughton was prohibited from owning a firearm.

Brookfield police chief Dan Tushaus declined to elaborate on the circumstances of whether Haughton (45) had surrendered any weapons prior to Sunday's salon rampage.
Tushaus also said he wasn't immediately aware of a motive.

"I can tell you we're not seeking additional suspects," he said at a news conference Sunday evening. "The community can feel safe."

The shootings set off a confusing, six-hour search for the gunman that locked down a nearby mall, a country club adjacent to the spa and the hospital where the survivors were taken. The search froze activity in a commercial area in Brookfield, a middle-to-upper class community west of Milwaukee, for much of the day. Ultimately, Haughton was found dead in the spa after killing himself.

Authorities said it would take time to sort out exactly what happened, and emphasized they were still interviewing witnesses and rescuers and didn't have a firm timeline of events. At Sunday's news conference, Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto called the shootings "a senseless act on the part of one person."

The chaos started around 11 a.m. at the Azana Day Spa, across from a major shopping mall. The first officers on the scene found the building filled with smoke from a fire authorities believe was set by Haughton, Tushaus said.

They also found a propane tank they initially thought might be an improvised explosive device, Tushaus said. That slowed the search of the building as law enforcement agents waited for a bomb squad to clear the scene.

Tushaus said later that police didn't know whether the gunman brought the propane tank to the spa or whether a contractor left it.

The search was also complicated by the layout of the building, with numerous small treatment rooms and several locked areas, Tushaus said. While officers initially thought the gunman had fled the building, they later found his body in one of the locked areas, he said.

The bodies of the victims were also found in the spa. Tushaus said investigators were still working to identify them. He said the four survivors were between the ages of 22 and 40. He didn't know if they were employees at the spa or customers, and it wasn't clear if the man's wife was among the victims.

At the hospital where the victims were taken, staff members were escorted inside during a temporary lockdown. Officers were stationed at entrances, and critically injured patients were admitted with a police escort.

The hospital released a statement saying two women had undergone surgery, and one was in critical condition. Another was expected to have surgery Sunday night.– Sapa-AP

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