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Neighboring couple describes Brookfield shooter as angry, controlling

Police officers are posted Sunday at the corner of Clover Leaf and 65th Streets in Brown Deer near the home of Radcliffe F. Haughton.

Police officers are posted Sunday at the corner of Clover Leaf and 65th Streets in Brown Deer near the home of Radcliffe F. Haughton. Photo By Angela Peterson

Oct. 23, 2012

Sandra and Ernest Polk, neighbors to Brookfield spa shooter Radcliffe F. Haughton, recall seeing numerous conflicts between him, his estranged wife, Zina, and her now 20-year-old daughter Yasmeen Daniel.

Sandra, who lives in the 6500 block of Glenbrook Road, said Radcliffe, who killed three and injured four Sunday morning before taking his own life, argued with his wife outside of their home on multiple occasions, and they sometimes ended up throwing objects around the front yard.

"We were definitely aware of some things that went on when they were outside, such as some verbal abuse," Sandra said, "and some throwing, but not at each other. We never really saw anything really physical. No hitting or anything like that."

There were, Sandra recalled, times when "things happened inside, after dark," necessitating police involvement. Ernest recalled seeing Zina staying away from the house intermittently for extended periods of time.

"She'd be gone for a few weeks," Ernest said, "and then she'd be back."

He recalled seeing Zina visit the house to retrieve clothes and other possessions recently, between the time she got a restraining order against Radcliffe in early October and the shooting on Sunday. According to Ernest, she had police protection.

"They were just set up out there, in case he came home," he said.

Conflicts with daughter

Sandra said Radcliffe butted heads with Zina's daughter, Yasmeen, and once threw her clothes out across their front lawn. Both Sandra and Ernest recalled seeing Radcliffe repeatedly parking in Zina and Yasmeen to keep them home, though that wasn't always the case with Yasmeen.

"(Radcliffe) would get angry and kick her out," Sandra said. "We think there was a little difference of opinion between him and her (daughter)."

The Polks, both retired and in their 70s, interacted briefly with the Haughtons, when their granddaughter played with the Haughtons' now 13-year-old daughter, and when they did yard work, but otherwise didn't know them. Ernest was surprised to see Radcliffe, a father, speeding around the neighborhood and noisily revving up his motorcycle.

"We thought he was an angry person, and loud," Ernest said.

Despite the conflicts across the street, the Polks said they couldn't have predicted the shooting.

"I don't know what kicked him off," Ernest said. "You wouldn't suspect he was planning anything like he did."

"I just feel very, very bad," Sandra said, "not only for the people who survived, but for everyone. I don't know why things have to get this far."

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