What was supposed to be a peaceful, relaxing day at Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield turned into a nightmare Sunday morning when 45-year-old Radcliffe Haughton, of Brown Deer, killed three women in the salon where his estranged wife worked before taking his own life.
A registered nurse, Betty Brunner, was about to have her hair done by Haughton’s wife, Zina Haughton, when the shooter walked into the spa. Brunner told Newsradio 620 WTMJ that Zina Haughton distracted the man, telling him to calm down, so others could get away from Haughton.
But Haughton grabbed Zina Haughton by the shoulders, dragged her toward the pedicure area and opened fire, Brunner told the radio station.
The Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the three victims as Cary L. Robuck, 35, of Racine; Zina Haughton, 42, of Brown Deer and Maelyn M. Lind, 38, of Oconomowoc.
The medical examiner’s office is conducting autopsies on the three victims, as well as on Haughton.
Four people also were injured in the shooting.
“I just held my breath and pretended I was dead,” said Brunner, who told the radio station she was able to escape when the SWAT team into the building.
- Listen to Brunner’s full interview.
Meanwhile, Wauwatosa resident Katie O’Rourke, who worked in the salon, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she used massage tables to block herself, a co-worker and two others from Haughton before calling police.
Forty-five minutes later, they had to walk past the deceased victims to leave the buildings, according to the Milwaukee newspaper.
“We all held hands and got out of there as fast as possible," O’Rourke told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Spa Clients, Employees Leave Building Shrieking
Witnesses described a chaotic scene shortly after the spa opened at 11 a.m. on a warm, sunny Sunday morning, directly across the street from Brookfield Square mall.
A woman was "screaming that her mom was shot" and she ran into the Barnes & Noble book store in the mall, a man told Patch.
Jenny Remshak, 22, of West Allis, was driving with her mother to the mall, planning to pick up her favorite hairspray from Boston Store. Instead, she was shocked to see police officers gun drawn as she drove north on Moorland Road.
"We saw people flooding out of McDonald's," said Remshak, who pulled into the mall lot near U.S. Bank and watched.
"We heard some lady shrieking. We saw a woman crawling out the front door and on the ground," Remshak said. "The cops scooped her up and put her in the back of the squad."
Running Late for Pedicure Appointment
Sally Flaschberger, of Brookfield, is counting herself lucky after she was running late for her pedicure appointment at the salon Sunday morning. She was about to turn into the salon when a police officer running with a rifle caught her eye.
“She was a very brave woman whoever that cop was,” Flaschberger said. “She was the only person there. … She looked pretty alone at that point.”
Flaschberger turned into the Brookfield Square parking lot instead. That’s when she saw the Brookfield Police Department responding. She can’t believe that something like this would happen at the salon where she’s been a client for years.
“I am just very lucky, very, very lucky,” Flaschberger said. “I can’t imagine the poor people who were there, just trying to enjoy their day on a Sunday.”