(BROOKFIELD, Wis.) — A man who had been ordered to stay away from his estranged wife barged into a Wisconsin spa where his wife worked and shot seven women, killing three of them, before shooting himself to death, police said on Sunday.
It wasn’t yet clear whether the wife of Radcliffe Haughton, 45, was among the dead.
Police said that it appears that Haughton started a small fire in the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield, Wis., that was extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system. Initial reports that Haughton left behind a bomb turned out to be false.
“We believe this incident is domestic violence related,” Brookfield Police Chief Daniel Tushaus said at a news conference Sunday evening.
Tushaus said that on Oct. 4 police were called to the spa because Haughton allegedly slashed the tires of his wife’s car. She sought a restraining order on her husband on Oct. 8, and on Oct. 18 a judge issued a four-year restraining order, Tushaus said.
Sunday’s shooting erupted at 11:09 a.m CT in Brookfield, and shortly after SWAT teams surrounded the spa with their guns drawn, preparing for a gun battle.
Tushaus said that police rescued up to 12 clients and employees when they first arrived and began a painstaking search of the 9,000 square foot building that includes two floors. The chief said the building included many treatment rooms, often locked.
“We were expecting an armed encounter,” Tushaus said.
They found Haughton in a locked section of the building where he had apparently shot himself, the chief said.
The four injured women ranged in age from 22 to 40 and were taken to Froedert Hospital with what were described as non-critical injuries.
The hospital was briefly placed on lock down and only patients with a police escort were being accepted. Employees wishing to enter had to show identification.
Sheriff deputies searched the hospital before lifting the lockdown, apparently worried that the gunman had followed the victims to the hospital.
A “be on the lookout” alert was issued for Haughton and hours later, a black 2003 Mazda driven by the suspect was recovered outside of Brookfield, however police declined to say where it was found.
Tushaus said police believe the gunman took a taxi to the spa.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio