Radcliffe Haughton called his father in Florida and said he needed to leave Wisconsin. His father said he could come stay with him, and, "Whatever you do, don't do anything stupid."
MILWAUKEE — Radcliffe Haughton wanted to get out of Wisconsin.
After his wife filed a restraining order against him last week, he called his father in Florida and said he needed to leave the state.
His father said he could come to Florida and stay with him.
“I told him, ‘Whatever you do, don’t do anything stupid,’ ” said the elder Radcliffe Haughton, who shares the same name as his son.
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But the younger Haughton never made it to Florida.
On Sunday morning, the 45-year-old from Brown Deer went on a shooting rampage at a Brookfield spa where his estranged wife worked, killing three people and injuring four others before killing himself. Police did not identify any of the victims but did say the shooting was driven by domestic violence.
Haughton’s wife, Zina, had obtained a four-year restraining order against him on Thursday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The restraining order required that Haughton surrender his guns to the sheriff, according to online court records.
On Oct. 4, Zina Haughton had reported to police that her tires were slashed while she worked at Azana Salon & Spa, where the shooting took place. Her 20-year-old daughter, Yasmeen Daniel, may have worked at the salon as well.
Although the Haughtons live in a relatively quiet neighborhood on Glenbrook Road in Brown Deer, their home has been known as one with conflict.
“In my son’s words, ‘it is real messed up over there,'” said Daniel Montenero, 58, a neighbor whose son is friends with Zina’s older daughter from a previous relationship.
Montenero’s son had repeatedly described the Haughton home as “chaotic” and said there were bullet holes in walls.
Another neighbor, who did not want to be named, said police surrounded the Haughtons’ home last winter.
A former neighbor, who also did not want to be named, said the couple frequently got into quarrels, some of which turned into physical fights. Haughton’s wife had accused him of not being faithful to her, the neighbor said.
The elder Haughton said his son had told him few details about the problems in his marriage. He just knew his son wanted to relocate.
“Sometimes we as parents have to allow our children to come home with no questions asked. All we need to do is greet them in love,” the elder Haughton said. “And that is what I told him. ‘If you need a place to stay, come by me.”
The younger Haughton grew up in Wheeling and Northbrook, Ill., and spent four years in the Marines after high school, his father said.
He later became a general manager of a Fields car dealership in Illinois and also may have worked at dealerships in Milwaukee and Madison. He is listed online as a manager of the Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Madison.
The younger Haughton lost his job few years ago and might have had another job working in sales, his father said.
Radcliffe and Zina Haughton had a 13-year-old daughter together, who police said is safe, along with Zina’s 20-year-old daughter.
Bernard Frye, who went to Wheeling High School with Haughton in the mid-1980s, said he was shocked to see his friend’s name and face on national news as police searched for him Sunday afternoon.
“I’m in disbelief,” he said.
Frye said Haughton had run track in high school and was a “nice, very personable” guy. He hadn’t seen Haughton in about 10 years, but they kept in touch through Facebook. Haughton had given no indication that he was having problems in his marriage, Frye said.
On Oct. 8 and 9, the younger Haughton wrote on his own Facebook page: “Need to get out of Wisconsin, HELP … “occurred “can anyone help me get out of Wisconsin.”
The elder Haughton said he is at a loss to explain what his son had done.
“I am so saddened,” he said. “I don’t know what to tell you. As his father, I am very, very sorry and I did not expect this from my son.”
John Diedrich, Crocker Stephenson and James Causey of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed to this report)