MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - The man suspected of killing three women and wounding four others in a shooting rampage at a Milwaukee-area spa where his estranged wife worked had recently posted pleas for help “to get out of Wisconsin” on his Facebook page.
Radcliffe Haughton, 45, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the Azana Salon & Spa in suburban Brookfield, hours after the Sunday morning shooting.
Haughton had been placed under a restraining order and directed to surrender his firearms to authorities this month in connection with a domestic abuse case involving his wife, who worked at the spa. Police have not said whether she was among the victims.
On October 8, the same date he was ordered to stay away from his wife after police said he slashed the tires on her car, Haughton posted to his Facebook page: “Need to get out of Wisconsin, HELP ...”
The next day, he issued a second plea: “can anyone help me get out of wisconsin?”
That was the last posting to his page, which lists his marital status as “divorced.”
An earlier posting, from October 3, the day before he is alleged to have slashed his wife’s tires, said simply: “Shooting birds...”
“We believe this incident was domestic violence-related,” Brookfield Police Chief Daniel Tushaus told a news conference on Sunday evening.
Haughton had a previous police record for domestic violence. He was cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct, described as domestic abuse, stemming from an incident on January 8, 2011. That charge was dismissed on June 15, 2011, records show.
Authorities have not released the identities of those killed or wounded in the shooting.
A spokesman for Froedtert Hospital said three of the four people wounded were in satisfactory condition, while one remained in critical condition. All four are women aged from 22 to 40.
The shooting was the second incident of gun violence at a U.S. 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 last few months have been marked by a string of mass shootings in the United States. On September 27, a disgruntled former employee killed six people and took his own life in a shooting rampage at a Minneapolis sign company from which he had been fired.
August saw a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater in which 12 people died and 58 were wounded, and another at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that claimed seven lives, including that of the gunman.
Nationally, there were 458 workplace homicides in 2011 and 518 in 2010, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. (Additional reporting by Matthew Keys and Mary Wisniewski; writing by Dan Burns; editing by Paul Thomasch and David Brunnstrom)