Wisconsin spa killer is former student at local high schools
BY MITCH DUDEK, JON SEIDEL AND MICHAEL LANSU Staff Reporters October 21, 2012 12:44PM
Updated: November 23, 2012 6:17AM
A former Chicago-area man took a taxi to a day spa in suburban Milwaukee where his wife was working and opened fire Sunday, killing three people and wounding four before setting a small fire and apparently killing himself, police said.
A neighbor of Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, said he was a “dominant” and “angry” former U.S. Marine. The neighbor said he always heard the Brown Deer, Wis., man yelling and “blowing off steam.”
A little more than two weeks ago he allegedly was caught slashing his wife’s tires at the salon. Haughton, a former student at Glenbrook South and Wheeling high schools, was charged with criminal damage to property and a restraining order was issued against him Thursday, police said.
Haughton’s father, Radcliffe Haughton Sr., now of Winter Garden, Fla., told the Sun-Times his son had become “despondent” because of troubles in his marriage. In fact, he asked his son last week to come down south to visit him and “have a talk with dad.”
After learning that his son committed Wisconsin’s second mass shooting this year, Haughton offered an apology to the people of Brookfield, Wis.
“I apologize to those who got hurt, to his wife and to the others in the community,” Radcliffe Haughton Sr. said.
The latest shooting happened at the Azana Salon & Spa across the street from the Brookfield Square Mall. The two-story, 9,000-square-foot building in a middle-to-upper class community west of Milwaukee, also is less than a mile away from where seven people were killed and four were wounded March 12, 2005, when a gunman opened fire at a Living Church of God service held at a hotel.
On Aug. 5, at a Sikh temple, near Milwaukee, a 40-year-old Army veteran and white supremacist killed six people and injured three others. Afterward, Wade Michael Page killed himself, officials said.
On Sunday, police said they believe Haughton took a taxi to the salon where he found 10 to 12 clients and employees. Responding to calls of shots fired, officers encountered a smoky building and were prepared for a shoot-out with the gunman. They said Haughton used a flammable liquid to start a small fire in the hallway that set off the sprinkler system.
They had initially believed a one-pound propane tank found nearby was an improvised explosive device, but they later said it might have been left there recently by construction workers.
Paul Moll, 64, who was having lunch with his wife at the Red Robin restaurant at the mall, said he saw 30 police vehicles surround the spa about 11:15 a.m. Tactical unit officers stood behind the vehicles with guns drawn and pointed toward the spa, he said.
Fifteen minutes later he saw spa employees running out the back to a nearby McDonald’s. Officers entered and brought out a woman in a chair, putting her quickly in the back of a police car.
David Gosh of West Allis, his father John, and a friend, Ben Luedke, saw a woman run out into Moorland Road traffic screaming, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“She ran right out into the street and was pounding on cars,” the newspaper quoted Gosh as saying.
A large man with a handgun then ran out and appeared to be chasing the girl but when police showed up the gunman ran back inside, the newspaper added.
The shooting sparked a six-hour manhunt during which police locked down the mall, a country club and hospital before finding Haughton dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a locked section of the spa building. Three women were also killed, and police said they were trying to identify them Sunday night. Milwaukee’s WTMJ TV station reported that Haughton’s wife, Zina Haughton, was killed. That report could not be confirmed.
Four women suffering gunshot wounds were taken by ambulance to nearby Froedtert Hospital, a spokeswoman said. Authorities said their ages were 22, 30, 32 and 40. Hospital officials said Sunday night one patient was in surgery and was in critical condition.
Another was in satisfactory condition after surgery. A third was being stabilized and planned to undergo surgery. A fourth was admitted with injuries that no longer required surgery.
Meanwhile, a neighbor of Haughton’s who asked not to be named also said an armored personnel vehicle knocked down the front door of Haughton’s ranch-style home about 3 p.m. in the leafy, upper-middle-class neighborhood where he lived. Haughton’s father said the accused gunman has a brother in Rolling Meadows. Haughton had lived in Wheeling and Northbrook.
In Wheeling, Richard Foster, who used to live next door to Haughton’s father and stepmother, recalled Haughton visiting for neighborhood parties. He said Haughton taught Foster’s young son to play dominoes and chess. And he remembered how Haughton and his father held cricket matches in a field next door to their home.
Foster said the younger Haughton was “laid back and quiet.”
“You don’t see something like that coming,” Foster said.
Bernard Frye, who went to Wheeling High with Haughton, told the Journal Sentinal he was shocked to see his friend on national news.
Haughton, who ran track in high school, was a “nice, very personable” guy, Frye told the paper.