At least seven people have been injured in a shooting spree at a spa near a mall in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a hospital spokeswoman says. Officials said this is a “mass casualty” situation, local WISN 12 News reports. The shooter remains at large.
The shooting occurred at 11:00 am local time on Sunday at the Azana Day Spa near the Brookfield Square Mall., Police told Fox6 News.
A spokeswoman at the local Froedtert Hospital says it has received four patients from the shooting, none critical, and expects three more.
Area hospitals have been put on alert as more casualties could be coming, though Froedtert said they were unaware of any other local hospitals taking in patients.
The identities of the shooting victims have not been released.
Authorities are looking for a suspect described as a heavy-set, bald black male in military fatigues who is possibly driving a a 2003 Black Mazda. Other witnesses believe the shooter might still be in the area, possibly in the mall. Several roads in the area have been blocked off and police are holding tactical positions at the scene of the shooting. At least 16 emergency vehicles have been dispatched to the scene.
The Brookfield Square Mall and an adjacent country club were initially put on lockdown. As of 1:20 PM local time, however, people were allowed to leave the mall. Several entrances at hte Froedtert Hospital have been blocked off as the location of the shooter remains unknown.
Milwaukee FBI spokesman Leonard Peace told AP its SWAT team, hostage negotiators, command staff and victims specialists had been dispatched to respond to the shooting.
ATF spokesman Robert Schmidt said 10 agents were at the scene. The area was also swept for bombs.
David Josh, a witness to the incident, said they said a woman run out into a nearby road screaming amidst the traffic.
“She ran right out into the street was pounding on cars,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quotes him as saying.
Gosh said a large black man armed with a handgun ran onto the street in pursuit of the woman. Police then showed up, at which point the alleged shooter ran back into the building, or possibly the woods behind the building.
“He was the shooter,” Gosh said. “He was looking for an escape route,” Gosh continue.
Several other witnesses reported seeing a barefoot woman fleeing the scene
Christopher Pfeiffer, who was parked outside a nearby Barnes & Noble bookstore, said he saw a young woman running between the parked vehicles.
She was screaming, yelling, crying hysterical. She was pleading for help,” said Pfeiffer said. “She kept saying, ‘My mother was shot.’ And she mentioned that there was a gunman. She ran into the bookstore and I followed her. But I watched her from afar.”
The Brookfield Patch reports the suspect is apparently the estranged husband of one of the hair stylists at the spa. The unemployed man had allegedly slashed tires in the parking lot of the complex and put up signs on the spa’s doors warning employees to keep them locked.
Sunday’s incident was the second mass shooting in Wisconsin this year. In August, Army veteran and white supremacist Wade Page killed six people and injured three others before taking his own life at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee.
Brookfield was also the scene of another infamous mass shooting. In 2005, Terry Ratzmann walked into a local Sheraton Hotel and shot dead seven members of the Living Church of God before turning the gun on himself.
Four others were wounded in the shooting, one critically. Ratzmann, who was reportedly about to lose his job, had been sent into a rage by a sermon given at the church two weeks prior.