October 22, 2014

Brookfield shooting highlights dangers of domestic violence

A mass shooting in Brookfield over the weekend is a reminder of the dangers faced by many victims of domestic violence and those around them. Police say Radcliffe Haughton entered a spa in Brookfield Sunday morning and opened fire, killing three people and wounding four others. He eventually turned the gun on himself.

One of the those killed was 42-year-old Zina Haughton of Brown Deer, the estranged wife of the shooter. Court records show a series of conflicts between the two, including the husband threatening to throw acid on his wife’s face and slashing her tires.

Tony Gibart with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence says it’s a shocking and tragic case. He says “violent incidents like this are really the most extreme tip of an iceberg that represents all of the violence that is occurring behind closed doors and in homes across Wisconsin every day.”

Zina Haughton was granted a restraining order against her husband last Thursday. Gibart says it’s an important reminder that restraining orders are not fool-proof protection, although he believes they are effective in most cases. He says research has shown that they do have a positive impact for many victims in helping them escape and preventing future violent situations. However, Gibart notes that they will not stop someone who is “bound and determined to take the ultimate step of taking another’s life.”

Gibart says any victim of domestic violence who is worried about their safety should contact local organizations that can offer help. They can also call a national hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:08)