Friday 23 February 2018

Gunman kills three women at beauty salon before shooting himself

Employees and customers wait in the parking lot outside Azana Spa in Brookfield where the shooting took place
Employees and customers wait in the parking lot outside Azana Spa in Brookfield where the shooting took place

Brendan O'Brien

A GUNMAN opened fire at the suburban Milwaukee beauty salon where his spouse worked, killing three people and wounding four others before taking his own life.

The suspect was identified as 45-year-old Radcliffe Haughton, a resident of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, who had been placed under a restraining order and directed to surrender his firearms to local authorities this month in connection with a domestic abuse case involving his wife in which her car tyres were slashed.

"We believe this incident was domestic violence-related," Brookfield Police Chief Daniel Tushaus said.

All three of those shot to death at the Azana Salon & Spa were female, Tushaus said. Their ages and identities were not immediately provided, and t e police chief would not say whether Haughton's wife, who was a spa employee, was among the victims.

Haughton was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the crime scene, police said.

The shooting marked the second outburst of gun violence at a US beauty spa in a matter of days. On Thursday, a gunman opened fire at a salon in suburban Orlando, Florida, killing three women and wounding a fourth, his wife, before fleeing and committing suicide at a nearby residence. The suspect in that shooting had likewise been ordered to keep away from his spouse.

The Wisconsin shooting followed an October 4 incident in which Haughton slashed the tyres on his wife's car, leading to his arrest on suspicion of vandalism.

Four days later, his wife was granted a temporary restraining order against Haughton related to domestic abuse in Milwaukee County. On October 18, a court injunction was issued barring Haughton from possessing firearms, and he was ordered to hand over any weapons he had to the county sheriff.

Milwaukee County authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Haughton also was cited for misdemeanour disorderly conduct, described as domestic abuse, stemming from an incident on January 8, 2011. That charge was dismissed on June 15, 2011.

Yesterday’s shooting erupted about 11am local time, according to police.

Joe Brent, a 26-year-old Milwaukee man, said he was leaving a fast-food restaurant near the salon when he heard a gunshot. Within about two minutes, a policeman entered the restaurant and told everyone to leave, he said.

He added that as he was getting into his car he saw a woman who appeared to be in her 20s with a bloodied paper towel on her neck being rushed from the salon and onto a stretcher. "She was screaming. She was hurt real badly," Brent said.

Four female gunshot victims ranging in age from 22 to 40 were rushed to Milwaukee's Froedtert hospital.

The suspect's father, also named Radcliffe Haughton, told media his family apologised whatever "misdeeds" his son had committed.

"This is not the way we live. This is not the way I raise my son up, " Haughton said. "He has been a good member of society. I don't know what happened."

The first police officers to arrive on t he scene found smoke in the building and a small fire in the hallway, which they believe was started by the suspect. Police also found a one-pound propane tank, but do not know if the suspect left it there. A nearby shopping mall was placed under a security lockdown immediately after the shooting as a precaution.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued a statement calling the shooting another example of the "senseless acts of violence" that occur across the country.

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