MILWAUKEE (AP) – A man who shot his estranged wife and six others before killing himself at a Wisconsin salon asked a taxi driver on the way there for marital advice, according to police reports released Friday.
Radcliffe Haughton told taxi driver Jesse Thomas on Oct. 21 that he suspected his wife was cheating on him and he had bought a gun, according to the reports.
Haughton asked Thomas “what he would have done if this was his wife,” according to police reports. Thomas him he would do nothing because it “wasn’t worth it,” police quoted the driver.
Details of the moments before Haughton fatally shot his estranged 42-year-old wife, Zina, and two others at Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield are among the hundreds of pages of police reports released Friday. The department also released 911 calls, photos, security video from nearby businesses and squad video.
Thomas noted to police that Haughton was wearing a fatigue jacket and fatigue-colored backpack when he picked Haughton up. Haughton told the driver that he suspected his wife was cheating and he was behind on bills and lost his job.
Reports also said Haughton told Thomas he was going to have lunch with his new girlfriend who began work at 11 a.m. at Azana. They initially drove past the spa and he did not see the car he was looking for, the report said, so Haughton bought Thomas lunch at a nearby Burger King drive-thru. Thomas told investigators that Haughton appeared very nervous.
They drove by again and Haughton saw the car and instructed the driver to take him to the rear of the building. The report says Radcliffe gave him a $20 tip but he tore it because he was shaking. Thomas watched him put the hood of his jacket up and carry the backpack inside.
Zina Haughton, a hair stylist at the spa, had just greeted her 11 a.m. client, Elizabeth Brunner, the report said, and while she was getting Brunner coffee, Brunner saw Radcliffe Haughton come in.
“He had a revolver in his hand pointed straight in the air,” she told police. She said Haughton pointed the gun at the employees behind the reception desk and yelled “Get down! Get down! Everybody get down!”
Brunner laid on the floor and heard Zina Haughton calmly talking to her angry husband. She heard her say, “It’s okay, sir, these are good people here,” as well as “What do you want?” and “This is a peaceful place.”
She told police he grabbed his wife by her right arm and pulled her into another room and Brunner then heard seven or eight shots. Radcliffe also wounded four other people.
Haughton, a 45-year-old former car salesman and former Marine, bought the .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun the day before from a private individual.
Court records show Haughton had terrorized his wife for years, including threatening to throw acid on her face, dousing her car with tomato juice and slashing her vehicle’s tires.
Three days before the spa shooting, Zina Haughton obtained a restraining order. She wrote in her request for the order that her husband had accused her of cheating and had threatened to kill her if she ever left him.
Radcliffe Haughton’s friend Jeffrey Simmons told police that on Oct. 16 while they were riding in a car together he had overheard Haughton’s phone conversation with his father, in which he said, “If I had a gun, I would shoot her.” Simmons said he tried to calm him down.
Haughton also later told him “She’s not the only one I’m going to get,” according to police reports, which also said Simmons told them Haughton had made statements about “sitting on a hill and picking them off one by one.”
In one of the videos of Haughton’s house after the shooting, a law enforcement official stopped in the room of Haughtons’ daughter, Tatiana. He said a note on her dry erase board might be relevant: “T.T. I love you. Sorry for all this. Keep singing.” It then had “Follow your dreams” enclosed in a heart.
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