BROOKFIELD, Wis. — A man police suspected of killing three people and wounding four others by opening fire at a day spa was found dead Sunday afternoon following a six-hour manhunt that locked down a shopping centre, country club and hospital in suburban Milwaukee.
Authorities said they believe the shooting was related to a domestic dispute.
The man they identified as the suspect, Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, had a restraining order against him.
Brookfield Police Chief Dan Tushaus said Haughton died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was found in the spa. Authorities initially believed Haughton had fled and spent much of Sunday looking for him.
The shooting happened about 11 a.m. at the Azana Day Spa, a two-story, 9,000-square-foot (836-square-meter) 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 Tushaus said an improvised explosive device had been found inside. It was not clear whether it remained a threat.
Haughton’s father, Radcliffe Haughton, Sr., spoke to a television station and The Associated Press shortly before police announced his son’s death.
In telephone interviews from Florida, he said he had last spoken to his son a few days ago, but didn’t have any indication anything was wrong.
He begged his son to turn himself in.
After learning of his son’s death, he said, “This is very sad.”
Police released little about Haughton other than a physical description and a photo.
Online court records showed a temporary restraining order was issued against Haughton Oct. 8 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court 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.
It was not clear who sought the restraining order, but his father said he was married.
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 highway and a busy commercial road.
“She ran right out into the street and 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.
The mall, a country club adjacent to the spa and the hospital where survivors were taken were among the buildings locked down as police searched for Haughton. At the hospital, staff members were escorted inside and critically injured patients were accepted with a police escort. Officers were stationed at all main entrances.
People inside the mall were patiently awaiting updates during the lockdown. Gina Kralik, a bartender at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in the mall, said people had been allowed to leave at one point but then police had decided not to let anyone come or go from the mall.
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.