Victims Crawled, Fled to Safety, Witnesses Say
Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto praises the massive police and fire presence who responded to help as Azana Spa employees fled the shooting.
A gunshot heard by a McDonald's customer. A woman carried by police away from Azana Salon & Spa, blood around her neck and shoulder area. Another woman crawls and rolls out of the spa, scooped up by police who rushed her to one of many awaiting ambulances.
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 in the affluent suburb west of Milwaukee.
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 the shooter, 45-year-old Radcliffe Haughton, who police say killed himself.
Joe Brant, 26, of Milwaukee, was sitting in the adjacent McDonald's, pouring over Internet job listings when he heard a gunshot. A little bit later, employees were telling customers to get out. He saw a police carrying woman, her neck bleeding.
Two more females were carried by police and put on stretchers, Brant said.
A woman was "screaming that her mom was shot" and she ran into the Barnes & Noble book store in the mall, another 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 McDonalds," 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."
With the squad door still open, they drove her across Moorland to the mall lot and put her into an ambulance that took off. She said she then saw about 10 people leave the spa, their hands raised as if to demonstrate they were unarmed, some well-dressed.
"They came running out with their hands up," she said. "They ran to McDonald's. One came out of McDonald's — a girl was holding her arm and they said she needs assistance." She, too, was rushed away in an ambulance.
Geri Johnson of Wauwatosa had an appointment at Azana at 11:15 a.m. and was about to pull into the spa lot when she was turned away. "I saw a female Brookfield police officer with her rifle out," Johnson said. "She yelled, 'Just get out of her, get away, go.'"
Johnson saw an officer escorting, "half-running" a woman out of the spa. About four law enforcement officers were behind the McDonalds ground entrance sign, "hunkered down with their rifles drawn, facing Azana."
Johnson also drove left on Bluemound and back into the mall. Officers in riot gear were jogging alongside a blue suburban vehicle for protection as they approached the spa.
Like Remshak, Johnson also saw a woman, a female customer in her 30s wearing a white jogging suit, crawling and "rolling" out the door. "She couldn't walk," Johnson said. An officer scooped her up and took her to the ambulance.
Johnson stood across the street, watching and waiting for word of the woman with whom she had an appointment. "I'm keeping a vigil out here," she said.
Sally Flaschberger, of Brookfield, was 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 at about 11:15 a.m. when she was a police officer with a rifle running in the parking lot to get behind her car.
"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 lot instead. That’s when she saw the Brookfield Police Department responding in force. She couldn'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."
Marilyn Cook of New Berlin drove to the mall Sunday morning to shop and was aghast to see the sleepy suburban area become a giant crime scene. "It's shocking that something like this could happen so close," Cook said.
Lisa Taylor of Sussex was shopping inside the mall and said she was told to leave shortly after the shooting.
"I was asked to leave out the west side door but my car is in the area on the east side and I'm being told I can't leave. I don't know where to go," Taylor said.
Taylor was eventually given permission to leave the lot, but was directed toward the west side exits.
The mall's east side entrances — as well as restaurants such as Bravo! Cucina Italian Restaurant, Red Robin and Mitchell's Fish Market — were required to lock their doors and watch from windows and doors.
Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto said via Facebook: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of today's shooting in Brookfield.
"I have great confidence in the ability of our Police Department to deal with this situation, and also appreciate the assistance we are receiving from the Police of neighboring communities, the Waukesha and Milwaukee County Sheriff Departments and the FBI," Ponto wrote.
- See related: an Azana employee and others hid in a room for 45 minutes, barricading it with massage tables, as they talked to 911 until officers rescued them, JSOnline.com reported.