Read as much as you want on BostonGlobe.com, anywhere and anytime, for just 99¢.

Gunman kills 3, wounds 4 at Wisconsin spa

Suspect is found dead after 6-hour police search

A mall, a country club next to the spa, a nearby hospital, and other buildings were locked down while police responded.

Tom Lynn/Associated Press

A mall, a country club next to the spa, a nearby hospital, and other buildings were locked down while police responded.

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — A man police suspected of killing three people and wounding four by opening fire at a day spa was found dead Sunday afternoon after a six-hour search that locked down a shopping center, country club, and hospital in suburban Milwaukee.

Authorities said they believed the shooting was related to a domestic dispute. The man they identified as the suspect, Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer, had a restraining order against him.

Continue reading below

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 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.

The mall, a country club adjacent to the spa, a nearby hospital, and other buildings were locked down as police searched for Haughton.

The hospital said no one was being admitted there without a police escort.

Shortly before authorities said Haughton’s body had been found, his father, Radcliffe Haughton, Sr., said in an interview from Florida that he had last spoken to his son a few days ago but didn’t have any indication anything was wrong.

He said then that he had a message for his son: ‘‘Please just turn yourself in or contact me.’’

Tushaus said officers initially focused on reaching and helping the victims. The victims’ names were not released by authorities, and the hospital treating them was temporarily locked down.

Staff members were being escorted into the building, and critically injured patients were accepted with a police escort. Officers were stationed at all main entrances to the facility.

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, 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.

Other witnesses described chaos outside the spa as people, some barefoot and in robes, ran into the parking lot screaming and crying.

Christopher Pfeiffer, 47, of Brookfield told a reporter for the Journal-Sentinel that he saw a terrified girl running through the parking lot.

''She was screaming, yelling, crying hysterical,’’ Pfeiffer said. ‘‘She was pleading for help. She kept saying, ‘My mother was shot.’ And she mentioned that there was a gunman.’’

Hours after the attack, people inside the mall were patiently awaiting updates and for word they could leave. Gina Kralik, a bartender at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in the mall, said by phone that the restaurant was still locked down Sunday evening.

She said 18 people were there — all employees except for a couple of reporters who managed to get in. She said people were allowed to leave at one point, but then the police decided not to let anyone come or go from the mall.

‘‘We’re just sitting watching the news and also trying to find out what’s going on,’’ she said.

Police released little about Haughton other than a physical description and a photo. They said he was wearing a grey sweater, jeans, and carrying a white and black backpack. They said he was 6-foot-2, and more than 200 pounds.

Online court records showed a temporary restraining order was issued against Haughton in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Oct. 8 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.

It was the second mass shooting in Wisconsin this year. Wade Michael Page, 40, an 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. The suspect, a member of the church named Terry Ratzmann, 44, later killed himself.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week