By: Tony Best
Ten days after a Jamaican musician who lived in Milwaukee was gunned down in the Bronx by his girlfriend’s ex-lover, a shooting rampage allegedly carried out by a Jamaica-born immigrant left three women dead in a spa outside of Milwaukee.
And as in the case of killings in New York where Tracy Bennett, 39, a nurse of Elmont on Long Island, and her boyfriend Wayne Hamilton, 50, lost their lives, the man suspected of pulling the trigger in Wisconsin, Radcliff Haughton, 45, committed suicide, according to the police.
Sunday’s mass shootings on Sunday morning in a Milwaukee suburb also left four other women injured. They are being treated in hospital.
Haughton was found dead in the spa where the shootings occurred and the police authorities in Brookfield said the tragedy was probably related to a domestic dispute between the Jamaican and his wife who worked at the spa. The carnage occurred less than three months after another mass shooting in Wisconsin cost the lives of seven worshippers at a Sikh temple. The gunman in the first incident was Wade Page, a 40 year old Army veteran and a white supremacist, who killed six and injured three others before turning the gun on himself in August at the temple south of Milwaukee.
The day spa is located in Brookfield, a middle class suburb west of Milwaukee, and Dan Tushaus, the town’s police chief, traced the massacre to a quarrel between Haughton and his wife, who had sought court protection four days after he allegedly slashed her tires on October 4. Back then, the police arrested the husband and a judge imposed a four year restraining order on him last Thursday. The Jamaican was ordered by the judge to hand over all of his weapons to the Sheriff’s Department but it wasn’t clear that he had complied with the weapons ban.
Tushaus said that the suspected killer was born in Kingston Jamaica and his father, whose name was also Radcliff Haughton explained to a reporter that his son had moved to Milwaukee as an adult. The last time father and son spoke was a few days before the killings but there wasn’t any indication at that time that something was wrong, Haughton Sr. said from Florida.
“This is very sad,” the father told a reporter.
Although investigations into the incident are continuing, the police chief said that they weren’t seeking any other suspects.
“I can tell you we’re not seeking additional suspects” was the way the top cop put it. “The community can feel safe.”
The mayhem began around eleven o’clock on Sunday morning at the Azana Day Spa when Haughton entered the 9,000 square foot building across the street from a large shopping mall and started firing. When the first officers arrived on the scene, they found the building filled with smoke from a fire, which they believed Haughton had set.
The authorities said that it took several hours to sort out the confusion and during that time the police had launched a manhunt for the alleged killer after interviewing witnesses. The cops had found a propane tank which they initially thought was an explosive device. That slowed down the search of the building but when it was completed officers discovered Haughton’s body. Death was attributed to a suspected self-inflicted wound, said Tushaus. The bodies of the victims were also found in the spa while the injured women were taken to a nearby hospital.
A witness, David Gosh of nearby West Allis, told reporters that he was returning from duck hunting with his father when a woman rushed out of the spa, screaming about what had happened. The four injured women were between the ages of 22 and 40 years old and it wasn’t clear if Haughton’s wife was among them or if they were customers or employees.
“She ran right out into the street and was pounding on cars,” Gosh said. “Moments later, a man with a shotgun ran out. He appeared to be chasing the woman but then went back inside.”
Sunday’s killings brought back memories of the shooting at Sikh Temple in Oak Creek in August and as word spread about the tragedy in Brookfield, worshippers held a candlelight vigil.
“Light comes from darkness, and that’s a way of healing when something tragic happens,” said Pardeep Kaleka who lost his father in the temple shooting.
Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, described the more recent killings a “senseless” act of violence.
“Our state will stand with the victims and their families, and we will provide them with the law enforcement and community support they need to heal in the coming days.”
Ten days ago, a Bennett and Hamilton spent some time together in a Bronx motel and when they emerged, Kernizan, who was from Haiti was waiting for them and shot and killed both.
“Don’t do it. Don’t do it,” Bennett is reported to have pleaded with her former lover but Kernizan pulled the trigger anyway. Hamilton, who performed under the professional name of Captain Barkey, was gunned down as he attempted to flee but to no avail. The gunman then trained the weapon on Tracey, who, incidentally, had taken out an order of protection against the father of her two children, fearing for her life.
Kernizan was later found dead in Florida and the police said he had committed suicide.