Oct. 21, 2012— -- A man who had been ordered to stay away from his estranged wife barged into a Wisconsin spa where his wife worked and shot seven women, killing three of them, before shooting himself to death, police said today.
It wasn't yet clear whether the wife of Radcliffe Haughton, 45, was among the dead.
Police said that it appears that Haughton started a small fire in the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield, Wisc., that was extinguished by the building's sprinkler system. Initial reports that Haughton left behind a bomb turned out to be false.
"We believe this incident is domestic violence related," Brookfield Police Chief Daniel Tushaus said at a news conference this evening.
Tushaus said that on Oct. 4 police were called to the spa because Haughton allegedly slashed the tires of his wife's car. She sought a restraining order on her husband on Oct. 8 and on Oct. 18 a judge issued a four-year restraining order, Tushaus said.
Today's shooting erupted 11:09 a.m CT in Brookfield, and shortly after SWAT teams surrounded the spa with their guns drawn, preparing for a gun battle.
Witnesses described screaming women, at least one bleeding, fleeing the spa, with one rolling down a slight hill before police scooped her up and got her out of the area.
Tushaus said that police rescued up to 12 clients and employees when they first arrived and began a painstaking search of the 9,000 square foot building that includes two floors. The chief said the building included many treatment rooms, often locked.
"We were expecting an armed encounter," Tushaus said.
They found Haughton in a locked section of the building where he had apparently shot himself, the chief said.
The four injured women ranged in age from 22 to 40 and were taken to Froedert Hospital with what were described as non-critical injuries.
The hospital was briefly placed on lock down and only patients with a police escort were being accepted. Employees wishing to enter had to show identification.
Sheriff deputies searched the hospital before lifting the lockdown, apparently worried that the gunman had followed the victims to the hospital.
A "be on the lookout" alert was issued for Haughton and hours later, a black 2003 Mazda driven by the suspect was recovered outside of Brookfield, however police declined to say where it was found.
Tushaus said police believe the gunman took a taxi to the spa.
Authorities swarmed Haughton's home in the suburb of Brown Deer, and sent in a robot to search the residence, ABC News' affiliateWISN reported.
The Westmoor Country Club, which shares a parking lot with the spa, was put on lockdown along with other businesses in the area, said the club's chief operating officer Joe Coen.
"We didn't hear anything but ventured to the north toward the spa and we could clearly see police officers with what looked like to be a rifle and a few attendants were coming out of the building," he said. "We quickly retreated back to the building where authorities have told us to stay."
Gov. Scott Walker pledged his support for the victims and the community.
"Senseless acts of violence leave us with heavy hearts and many questions," Walker said in a statement. "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."
This is not the first time a violent shooting has rocked the area.
On Aug. 5, Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran and white supremacist, killed six people and injured three others before fatally shooting himself at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee.
In 2005, less than a mile away, a gunman killed seven people and wounded four more at a church service at the Sheraton Hotel. Terry Michael Ratzmann, the 44-year-old gunman, then committed suicide.
ABC News' Jack Date and Richard Esposito contributed to this report