'All Available Squads': How Duty Officers Took Charge at Azana Spa
When a quiet Sunday exploded into a scene of mass terror at the Azana Spa and Salon in Brookfield, officers from the western suburbs took the initiative to save lives — while risking their own.
Through a door marked "Quiet Zone" and along a long, turning hallway on the second floor of Azana Spa and Salon are 10 massage therapy rooms, each with a name:
Serenity, Ecstasy, Bliss... Purity, Unity, Harmony... Peace, Joy, Spirit... Tranquility.
Those ideals were shattered on Oct. 21.
The mass shooting that day at Azana Spa in Brookfield has been widely reported, with a handful of witness accounts painting a jagged, partial picture of the chaos and terror inflicted that day by killer Radcliffe Haughton, who took four lives, including his own.
But a fuller view of what police officers found when they arrived, what they did in response, what more witnesses have told them, awaited the release of reports by the Brookfield Police Department from all departments involved.
This account is based on some of those voluminous reports, primarily from the Wauwatosa Police Department, which were made public on Friday. The initiatives taken and deeds performed by police officers that day, in rescuing shooting victims and others trapped inside the spa with a killer – 19 women, all told – speak for themselves.
One early-arriving Wauwatosa officer commandeered a tactical SUV belonging to Brookfield and drove it up to the spa as moving cover for other officers, then used it as an ambulance – and then he and a colleague used it as a supply store for arms and armor.
Two Brookfield officers he had shielded raced to the building to in turn shield two terrified women fleeing from the carnage inside, took them to safety and then returned to be among the first to enter the beleaguered place.
Two more Wauwatosa officers dropped their arms and armor to sprint into the open, totally vulnerable, to carry the wounded to safety.
Two sergeants, one from Brookfield and one from Wauwatosa, met briefly to split command of the situation — one inside and one outside.
And in the spa, in an atmosphere no officer had ever trained for, six officers — one from Brookfield, one from the Village of Pewaukee and four from Wauwatosa — heard six more people were hiding upstairs in two different rooms. With just the briefest pause to lay out a bare-bones tactical plan, they advanced up a spiral staircase to rescue them — two of them Wauwatosa motorcycle cops armed only with their service pistols.
These are the details so far.
The quietest time of the week
Oct. 21 was a typically calm Sunday morning for suburban police. That was the case in Wauwatosa — one of the first with officers on the scene — as well as departments in Brookfield, Pewaukee, Muskego and elsewhere.
“Traditionally, Sunday morning is a little lower staffed,” Capt. Jeff Sutter, the chief operations officer of the Wauwatosa Police Department, said in an interview. “It’s adequately staffed, but it’s usually pretty quiet.”
Then, a few minutes after 11 a.m. in Brookfield, hell broke loose.
Azana Spa and Salon, across the street from Brookfield Square at Moorland and Blue Mound roads, opened its doors to customers at 11 that morning. Moments later, Radcliffe Haughton walked in carrying a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, looking for his wife, Azana stylist Zina Haughton.
Some warning signs of trouble
After enduring years of domestic abuse at her husband’s hands in their Brown Deer home, and even protecting him from prosecution, Zina Haughton had had enough. She had finally told him she wanted a divorce. They argued about it. He went to the spa on Oct. 4, waited for her to arrive, and slashed a tire on her car. She and two other employees saw him do it and called police.
Brookfield investigated, found cause, and sent word to Brown Deer to arrest Radcliffe Haughton on suspicion of disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. Haughton was taken into custody, and on Oct. 8, Zina Haughton signed a petition seeking a restraining order against him.
It was granted and he was ordered to have no contact with her for four years. And he was not to possess a firearm during that time.
Some managers and staff at Azana Spa had become aware of Zina Haughton’s problems with her husband, and they knew he was capable of a degree of violence. After the tire slashing and the granting of the restraining order, handwritten, photocopied notices were put up around the spa.
They read: “Please!! Keep both exit doors locked at all times. Only use front door until further notice. *No exceptions.”
After buying a gun through a private dealer, Radcliffe Haughton came in through Azana's front door just after the spa opened at 11 a.m. on Oct. 21 and demanded to see his wife.
During the next few horrifying minutes, Haughton began a shooting rampage that would leave Zina Haughton, Cary Robuck and Maelyn Lind dead, four more women wounded, more petrified with terror inside or scattering outside, and ultimately six trapped upstairs in the building in the hysterical fear that they were being hunted.
'All available squads, respond...'
The first 911 call came in at 11:08. Someone was shooting people. The Brookfield police reaction was almost instantaneous. One Brookfield officer, who was on Moorland Road at I-94, was on the scene within 30 seconds. Two more would arrive within the next 30 seconds.
Brookfield Patrol Officer Adam Behnke came on the scene, parked on Moorland Road and grabbed his carbine. As he approached Azana Salon, he saw a man in camouflage clothing come around the corner of the building – later known to be Radcliffe Haughton.
Behnke reported that Haughton turned and ran back around the building, and a second Brookfield officer saw him run back into the salon and lock the doors.
Those two officers took up covering positions until a woman came to the door and unlocked it. Officer Behnke would be the first to enter Azana Spa.
Not far behind him was Brookfield Sgt. Mark Tushaus – brother of Police Chief Dan Tushaus – not only a patrol sergeant but also a trained tactical officer. His contribution that day would be immense.
Brookfield Officer Frank Riederer, on the scene early, ran an impromptu medical evac service. A woman came out of the spa, shot in the neck, before any ambulances had yet reached Azana. She was brought to cover to wait for paramedics, but then it was decided she needed medical attention.
Officers realized it was high time to “get her out of the ‘hot zone’…," Riederer reported.
Riederer helped the woman into his squad and started for the hospital, then flagged down an approaching ambulance and transferred her. He turned back to the spa and picked up another survivor and took her to triage as well. And he wasn't done yet, by far.
But there was also confusion. Among the first dispatches were reports that the shooting was at Brookfield Square.
At one point, a dispatcher would erroneously tell terrified callers hiding inside the spa that the shooter had left and that they should make their own ways out.
More 911 calls were coming in, and with each one it became more obvious that this was a dreadfully serious situation, calling for all the assistance anyone could offer. The call went out to law enforcement agencies across the metropolitan area: “All available squads, respond….”
'Active shooter' call spurs overwhelming response
In next-door Wauwatosa, Sgt. Brian Zalewski was on the road when the urgent call for aid came in: There was an “active shooter” at Brookfield Square, according to the dispatch.
A mall shooting situation could be mayhem. Whether that erroneous report colored Zalewski’s response, he did not mention. But he made a split-second assessment of his personnel and sent nine Wauwatosa officers, himself included, racing toward the mall, Sutter told Patch.
Eight of the nine had been on the west side of Wauwatosa at the time, nearest Brookfield, said Sutter, the Wauwatosa police captain. They all wheeled and headed west. Of those dispatched, only Officer Pat Kaine was on the east side at the time. He, too, turned his squad car toward Brookfield.
While they were en route, the word came that the shooting was actually at Azana Spa – and that there were still many people inside the spa who needed to be evacuated. The Wauwatosa officers tuned their radios to the Brookfield police frequency to better monitor the situation.
Officers, all who could be spared, were also racing from all points in Brookfield and elsewhere, even tiny Butler.
Those Wauwatosa officers who were closest to Brookfield formed a loose cavalcade on Blue Mound Road, traveling in sight of one another, lights flashing. In their reports, from which most of this account is drawn, all noted the exact time they received the call to go. None noted who arrived first or exactly when. There was no time then for small details.
Arriving before command is in place
Wauwatosa motorcycle officers Gary Raymond and Randy Simon arrived at nearly the same moment and place as Engelken, directly across Moorland Road from the spa. They found two unidentified “tactical officers” there as well.
They were Brookfield's Sgt. Tushaus and Officer Anthony Kader, racing to put on their tactical gear.
At that moment, though, there was no clear command structure in place. Random officers around the spa were calling for immediate assistance. No one knew whether the shooter was still in the spa building or how he was armed. One report suggested that he had fled into the Westmoor Country Club behind the spa. Another said he had left in his car. Everyone was, for all practical purposes, on their own.
Motorcycle cops take matters into their own hands
Azana Spa looms over Moorland Road, its two-story façade filled with windows and doors, a fenced moat fronting the street side. There is nothing but open pavement and a clear field of fire between it and where the officers gathered on the west side of the road. From a tactical point of view, it resembles a fortress.
The two Wauwatosa motorcycle officers were armed only with pistols and had no ballistic shields, only the vests they always wear while on patrol. Patrol officer Engelken did not take time to retrieve his shield from his squad car. Reports said the situation was dire, with numerous shooting victims — maybe more than a dozen — and many more in harm's way.
Motorcycle officer Raymond jumped into the driver’s seat of Tushaus' Brookfield Police tactical SUV, a Chevy Tahoe, and called to Tushaus and Kader, and to Tosa Officers Simon and Engelken, to take cover behind it.
Fully exposed to a shot through the windshield, Raymond drove the Tahoe slowly across Moorland Road as a moving shield, the makeshift squad of officers running crouched alongside it. He turned up the shared driveway between the spa and the McDonald’s restaurant to the north of it, and delivered the mixed, impromptu force to the northeast corner of the spa.
As they arrived, he reported, a woman, clearly wounded, tumbled out of the north door of the building, an emergency exit. Two more unwounded women ran out the main, east doors. Raymond said that Tushaus and Kader bolted toward the building to retrieve those two women, bringing them back under the cover of their shields.
Raymond’s commandeered Brookfield SUV now became an evacuation vehicle as the two women were hustled inside it. Raymond drove them away, dropped them safely under the cover of the north side of the McDonald’s building, then immediately returned to the spa.
Meanwhile, his colleague, motorcycle officer Simon — underarmed and unarmored — “took up a perimeter position on the northeast corner area of the building.”
There was no cover on the northeast corner area of the building.
Officer drops arms, races to rescue victim
At the same time, Wauwatosa Sgts. Zalewski and Jeff Farina were arriving in separate squad cars, and the two detectives, David Hoppe and Paula Roberson, pulled up together in an unmarked car.
Zalewski, farther north on Moorland, grabbed his rifle and ballistic shield and sprinted across the wide expanse of pavement toward a masonry-based McDonald’s sign 150 feet north of the spa. There were already two unidentified, uniformed officers covering behind it.
Hoppe and Roberson, like the motorcycle cops armed only with pistols, and wearing the department’s oldest, most outdated vests, followed, heading for the McDonald’s sign as well.
Engelken, who had apparently peeled off from the cover of Raymond’s borrowed SUV, joined them at the sign, the only cover north of the spa.
Farina parked just across Moorland from the northwest corner of the spa. He grabbed his shotgun and ballistic shield from his squad and also ran toward the growing contingent of officers gathering behind the McDonald’s sign.
As Farina was racing toward them, Raymond, Engelken and the others saw the woman stumbling out the north spa door, falling and rolling down the slope, shot in the leg. According to some reports, she just fell. Others say that officers shouted at her to drop and roll.
Farina didn’t say either way. He wrote in his report: “When I arrived at the McDonald’s sign, I observed an unknown white female lying in the grass area just north of the entrance of Azana. This unknown female was screaming that she had been shot and it was very obvious that she was severely bleeding and she was in a lot of pain.
“I put down my shotgun and shield and asked Officer Engelken to cover me.”
Farina sprinted into the open, picked up the wounded woman, and began to carry her back to the cover of the sign. Detective Roberson ran to assist him. Together they brought her briefly under the cover of the sign.
A crime scene with elements of a war zone
Ambulances were arriving as fast as police cars, setting up a medical emergency assistance and evacuation area north of and under the cover of the McDonald’s.
Farina and Roberson could see that the woman they had pulled to cover needed immediate medical attention. Just then, who should arrive but Brookfield's Officer Riederer, still running med-evac.
Farina and Roberson carried the wounded woman to Riederer's squad, and Farina pulled her into the back seat, hugging the bleeding victim to his chest, and Riederer peeled away again.
Paramedics met them behind the McDonald’s and performed triage while the woman lay bleeding on top of Farina in the back of the squad.
“After several minutes,” Farina wrote, “we took her from the squad car and placed her on an awaiting stretcher."
And then, matter-of-factly: “I returned back to the McDonald’s sign to see if anyone else needed assistance.”
'She had a blank look in her eye'
While Raymond and Farina were evacuating their charges, Wauwatosa Sgt. Zalewski and officer Engelken made a move toward the northeast corner of the spa, briefly covering behind another Brookfield squad car. Then they charged the main entrance, on the east side of the building.
As they did, two women appeared just inside the doors, then pushed their way out. One, uninjured, was barely holding up the other, who was badly wounded. The shooting victim had been hit in the neck, shoulder and leg.
Zalewski ran forward and found the victim barely conscious and hardly able to stay upright. "She had a blank look in her eye," he said.
Zalewski picked the woman up and carried her back to the cover of the Brookfield squad car, propping her as comfortably as he could against a tire, “to keep her protected from the building and any angle the suspect may have (had) from an upper window.” Then he turned and went back – went inside Azana Spa.
“As I was going in, an officer dressed in tactical gear was dragging a victim out of the door,” Zalewski wrote. “There were still radio calls requesting more officers inside and the need to get more victims out.”
Officers converge and enter the spa
Wauwatosa patrol officer Luke Vetter either arrived even earlier than his colleagues or didn’t hear the report that the shooting was actually at the spa.
He went first to the northeast parking lot of Brookfield Square, then began to direct traffic away from the corner of Blue Mound and Moorland, only to hear that officers were needed across the street.
Officer Pat Kaine, with the farthest to go, arrived just in time to relieve Vetter at the intersection before he, too, heeded the call for more help and headed for the spa. With that, all nine Wauwatosa officers were engaged at the point of crisis.
Vetter and Kaine would both find themselves called inside the spa, in the thick of things, and for the duration.
When motorcycle officer Raymond came back from delivering evacuees in the Brookfield SUV, he could see that the situation had not changed or improved much. There were still calls coming in for more officers needed on scene, more officers needed inside the building.
Motorcycle officer Simon plunged into the Brookfield SUV, looking for a “long gun,” a shotgun or rifle that might give him an edge. He didn’t find one, but he did find a ballistic shield. He grabbed it, and still armed only with a pistol, he and Raymond charged into the spa – Raymond without even a shield.
“Once inside, we found the building was filled with smoke,” wrote Raymond. “The fire alarms were sounding and the fire sprinkler systems were activated. I immediately observed two gunshot victims on the south side of the business and one gunshot victim lying at the bottom of the stairs and checked (her) for a pulse. I determined that she was also deceased."
Brookfield, Tosa sergeants take command
When Wauwatosa officer Vetter arrived at the spa, there was still no command in place, only calls for help. Vetter vectored in on an Elm Grove squad car that had pulled up close to the entrance. Then an officer in tactical gear – Brookfield Sgt. Mark Tushaus – emerged from the spa.
Tushaus “asked for any available supervisor to meet him near the Elm Grove squad car,” Vetter wrote. “I summoned Wauwatosa Sgt. Jeff Farina from across the parking lot to my location via police radio. Sgt. Farina met with (Tushaus) and took incident command of the scene.”
Farina, who had just thrown down weapons and armor and rescued a woman, carried her to safety and held her bleeding in his arms while paramedics prepped her in the back seat of a squad car, now was being asked to take command.
“Specific events and details of what happened next are very cloudy at best,” Farina wrote. “My main objective at this point was to get the officers as many resources as possible to accomplish their mission inside of Azana Spa. There were repeated requests for more help inside of Azana Spa due to the volume of victims and possible victims inside."
A scene of human carnage
Brookfield Sgt. Tushaus had by no means relinquished command – he had in fact established it, based on the demands of the situation. Because he, himself, was going back inside. There was no way he could command the whole scene from the chaos in there.
He and Brookfield officer Behnke had been joined in the spa by an assortment of officers, none of whom knew who the others were. There were two Waukesha sheriff’s deputies who had appeared early on the scene. An Elm Grove officer. One from the Village of Pewaukee, Pete Latona. And the Wauwatosa contingent that had charged in with pistols drawn.
Once he saw what conditions were like inside, Wauwatosa motorcycle officer Raymond realized how vulnerable he was, along with other unprotected officers. He called out for ballistic shields for himself and others.
Wauwatosa detectives Roberson and Hoppe and patrol officer Engelken responded, grabbing three discarded shields from behind the McDonald’s sign and rushing them in to the officers inside the spa.
Roberson turned over her shield to Raymond at the door and then took up a close covering position, with only her pistol – no shield. Engelken and Hoppe went in.
“As I entered, I immediately observed a gunshot victim lying at the bottom of the stairwell, and two other gunshot victims on the south side of the business,” Engelken wrote.
These were Cary L. Robuck, 35, of Caledonia, a receptionist; and Zina Haughton, 42, of Brown Deer and Maelyn M. Lind, 38, of Oconomowoc, both stylists.
Wauwatosa Sgt. Zalweski had already seen that, and more.
“I went in the building and moved to the left (south) as another officer on that side yelled for me to come that way,” he wrote in his report. “There is a large, spiral staircase in the middle of the business. Some officers were covering up, with their guns pointed up towards the top of the stairs.
"When I moved into and through the business, the fire sprinklers were on and water was spraying down, the audible fire alarm was loudly sounding and there was smoke in the air. I did not know if there was fire inside the building or whether the smoke was from all the gunshots fired."
“As I continued to move towards the left back, I noticed two adult female bodies lying on the floor," Zalweski continued. "One of the females appeared to have been shot in the head. The other female was face down and there was a large volume of blood pooling around her upper body and head. I started to bend down towards that female and was going to check for signs of life when Officer (Adam) Behnke of the Brookfield PD yelled to me that the female was dead.”
Everything you've never planned for
Brookfield officers Tushaus and Behnke, along with Wauwatosa officers Zalewski, Raymond, Simon, Engelken and Hoppe, were now inside along with several unknown officers from other departments. The confusion was so great that in some instances, Wauwatosa officers, in their initial reports, did not recognize their own long-time colleagues on the force even when they were right next to each other.
The building was filled with smoke. A fire alarm was howling. Water was cascading down, and with it came soggy ceiling tiles.
“The falling ceiling tiles, they were hitting them, they were falling everywhere,” said Wauwatosa Capt. Sutter, who debriefed his officers personally and reviewed their written reports. “But they said the worst were the ones that fell behind them. They’d fall down and knock something else over, and they didn’t know what it was. A loud noise behind you – that’s not a welcome thing.”
Then there were the bodies, and the blood. There were shell casings all over the floor, a shooter still in the building as far as anyone knew. All of it was real, and almost none of it could have been trained for.
“We all train for ‘active shooters,’ at least once a year,” Sutter said. “All of us – even I do. Alarms, too.
"But do we train for smoke, and fire, and water? No. Because nobody will let us destroy a building. No, these were not conditions you can train for.”
Calls for help from the second floor
Azana Spa, designed for peace and relaxation, for comfort and elegant pampering, had been transformed into a place of hellish chaos, and it was being demolished. Bodies, blood, noise, smoke and fire, water and collapse. And a spiral staircase.
“Stairways are always bad,” Capt. Sutter said. “Straight stairways are bad. There’s no place to hide. Once you’re in, you’re in. But a spiral stairway – that’s really bad. You’re totally uncovered. Anybody could be above and behind you."
And the lower building was by no means yet secure. The first floor, with multiple back rooms and two more stairwells, was still being cleared when officers began to hear over their radios that 911 dispatchers were on the phone with women huddled in terror on the second floor.
There were at least two groups of them, two women hiding in a locker room and four more in a small massage room – the room called “Peace.”
There was a brief parlay. The officers — Brookfield’s Sgt. Tushaus, Officer Pete Latona of the Village of Pewaukee, and Zalweski, Raymond and Simon of Wauwatosa — gathered at the foot of the spiral staircase that dominates the layout of Azana Spa and decided there was no time to spare.
“Officer Latona, along with Sgt. Tushaus from Brookfield PD, decided we need to go upstairs and get the females out,” Zalewski wrote. “This was urgent because the suspect was still at large and believed to be upstairs as well."
Wauwatosa officer Luke Vetter would cover them and then follow them up. Wauwatosa Detective Hoppe, Officer Kaine and others would maintain gun cover from below and stand by to receive evacuees.
“A plan was formulated and about five of us began moving up the main spiral staircase," Zalweski wrote. "At the base of the staircase, there was a deceased female lying, and we had to step over the body to get on the stairs.”
A rescue operation in a maze
The top floor of Azana Spa is a labyrinth of hallways leading away from the central stairway to a waiting room, locker rooms, and rows of small massage rooms. The two locker rooms are each a smaller labyrinth within itself. Inside one of those locker rooms were two women, huddled in fear in the farthest corner, in the toilet stalls.
Sgts. Tushaus and Zalewski, followed by officers Simon and Engelken, entered the women's locker room and made their way back to the women, tried to calm them and escorted them out and to the stairway. Engelken hurried the women down the stairs and all the way to the McDonald’s command post, then returned.
The impromptu squad, with Engelken replaced by Vetter, then moved through the door marked “Quiet Zone” and found another door in front of them, a dangerous back stairway to their right, and a hallway with more doorways to their left. A shooter could be hiding anywhere.
They leapfrogged from one corner and doorway to the next, covering one another, clearing the rooms one by one. At the northeast corner, the hallway turned left again and ran the length of the long side of the building – with seven more rooms on the right and more openings to the left.
The Peace room was near the far end.
“I asked dispatch to have the females bang on the door of the room they were in when we were in that hallway,” Zalewski wrote. “The females were located and opened the door for us. Officers were able to get the females out of the hallway and eventually downstairs and outside.
Then they approached the room named Bliss. There had been a report that someone, thought to be the shooter, had briefly been seen glancing through the blinds of that room.
“I held coverage on that door from down the hallway with other officers rotating in to assist, including Officer Vetter, Officer Simon and a Waukesha County deputy," Zalewski reported.
'We're going to get them out'
By the time the first coordinated tactical team entered and relieved the patrol officers who had taken the spa – all but that final locked room – it was all over but for the final act. All the living women in the building had been found and taken to cover.
The Lake Country Special Response Team took over, with the Wauwatosa SRT backing them up on perimeter. The fire, and a propane gas canister left near it in a hallway, would delay things while the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department Bomb Squad cleared up that problem. Finally, the body of Radcliffe Haughton would be found, dead by suicide, in the room called Bliss.
Before that, one by one, officers from Brookfield, Wauwatosa, Elm Grove, Village of Pewaukee, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department, others – men and women who had been on quiet Sunday morning patrols when they started their shifts – gave up their positions to tactical officers and left Azana Spa after two hours of suspense.
“They tell us we were in there for two hours,” said Wauwatosa Officer Gary Raymond. “As far as I knew, it could have been 20 minutes or 20 hours.”
Capt. Sutter of Wauwatosa said that while officers train for every situation they can think of, this was one that went beyond any training and all experience.
“You can’t train for that,” Sutter said. “We try. We even train for spiral stairways. But every situation is different, and this one – I’ve never been involved with anything like it. I’ve certainly never been in anything like it.
“Some of them are tactical officers, like Zalewski, but most of them are not. Dave Hoppe, he’s been in plain clothes for so long… he’s wearing the department’s oldest vest, it’s probably 20 years old, it's all frayed. He’s way out of his comfort zone.
“But he went in there, and he stayed. All of them. Detectives, motorcycle officers, patrol officers. We don’t wait. If there’s a shooter and victims, we go in. If the shooter is contained, and we know everyone else is clear, yeah, then we’ll wait for a tactical team.
“But if there are people in there, we’re going in to get them out.”
“I’m very, very proud of what our officers did,” Sutter said. “All of them. A lot of it was training. A lot of it was instinct.
“But a lot of it was just heart.”