A gunman dressed in military fatigues has launched a shooting spree at a suburban Milwaukee spa and he is thought to have been targeting his estranged wife who worked as a stylist at the salon and had a court order of protection against him.
A 45-year-old man named Radcliffe Haughton was identified as the suspect who shot an estimated seven people at a day spa in Brookfield, Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon. He is still at large.
During the investigation, police found an Improvised explosive device on the scene, prompting them to issue a call for extreme caution.
Haughton was reportedly seen fleeing the scene in a 2003 black Mazda. He was described as a bald ethnic man with darker skin, about 6 foot one inch tall and 200 pounds.
Haughton is estranged from his wife who works as a hair stylist at the salon where the shooting took place. He lives in nearby Brown Deer, Wisconsin, and police are trying to determine whether or not he is at the scene or if he has gone back to his house.
Court records show that a judge issued a order of protection against Haughton just three days ago on October 18, hinting that there was a credible threat against the estranged wife.
She has not been named publicly but she has two daughters, one of whom works at the spa and was whisked away by police after the shooting.
Police reportedly warned nearby hospitals to prepare for multiple injuries. The exact number of victims, their condition, and what if any connection they had to the shooter is unknown.
‘She ran right out into the street (and) was pounding on cars,’ David Gosh told The Journal Sentinel.
He then saw a man carrying a handgun run after her, and he was thought to be chasing after the woman.
The gunman then saw police beginning to gather and he ran back in the direction in which he came.
He either ran back into the spa or to the wooded area behind the spa.
‘He was the shooter. He was looking for an escape route,’ Mr Gosh said.
A witness told the Journal-Sentinel that a he saw a young girl running through a parking lot in a panic after her mother was reportedly shot.
‘She kept saying, “My mother was shot.” And she mentioned that there was a gunman. She ran into the bookstore and I followed her. But I watched her from afar.’
The Brookfield Square Mall and the Westmoor Country Club, located directly across the road, are both on lockdown as police try to assess the situation.There are 100 people inside the Country Club.
Early reports say that the shooting began in the Azana Spa, which is located near but not inside the Brookfield Square Mall on the outskirts of Milwaukee.
One witness said that the shooting started in the spa, and four victims were immediately transported to a local hospital with non-critical injuries.
The three other known victims are just now being taken to the hospital but their conditions remain unknown.
Live video of the Azana spa shows a tactical team moving in around 2pm on Sunday.
According to the spa’s website, it boasts that it is the largest salon and day spa in Brookfield with 9,000-square-feet.
The layout of the spa- which has ten treatment rooms, male and female locker rooms, and a cafe area-complicates issues for police as people may be hiding inside.
The spa opened at 11am this morning and the shooting is thought to have begun shortly after.
The owner of the salon was out of the country at the time of the shooting and is reportedly headed back now.
This is the second mass shooting in the state in the past two months. An Army veteran opened fire at a Sikh temple in August, killing six people and injuring three others.
Local news reporters drew comparisons to an earlier incident when, in 2005, a shooting took place at the nearby Sheraton hotel during a mass service. In that shooting, seven people were killed before the shooter turned the gun on himself.