Phoenix office shooting: 1 dead; 70-year-old suspect identified

10:10 PM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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Phoenix, Arizona (AZ Central) -- Arthur Douglas Harmon, the suspect in the deadly Wednesday office building shooting, fled the scene in a white vehicle and fired shots at a witness who was giving chase, Phoenix police said.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson said officers are now searching for Harmon's 2013 Kia Optima, license plate AVS 2052, and that Harmon is considered armed and dangerous.

He is suspected of shooting three people, one fatally, in an attack at a three-story office building at 7310 N. 16th Street. Three others were were taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

Steven D. Singer, 48, the CEO of Fusion Contact Centers, a Scottsdale call center, was killed. He had been attending a mediation in a law firm at the office building.

A 32-year-old female suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Mark Hummels, a partner with Osborn Maledon and president of the Phoenix chapter of the Federal Bar Association, also was wounded, said Larry Hammond, a partner with the firm. Hummels, who was shot in the neck and lower back, is in critical condition.

He also was wounded after leaving a mediation session, according to an e-mail from Andrea Marconi, a lawyer with Fennemore Craig and president-elect of the Federal Bar Association.

"The latest information I have is that Mark has a strong pulse after surgery and the doctors are optimistic about his recovery, so this is encouraging news," she wrote in the e-mail to members of the Phoenix legal community and obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Officers believe the two men were the intended targets.

Sgt. Steve Martos said officers are looking at several possible motives.

Officers had surrounded Harmon's house in the 14000 block of North 28th Street shortly after the 10:30 a.m. shooting but waited to enter because the suspect's son refused to let officers in without a search warrant. SWAT officers entered the home about 3:45 after a warrant was issued but Martos said the house was empty.

Thompson said police believe the shooting was a targeted act and that an altercation occurred prior to the shooting.

Multiple schools were locked down immediately following the shooting. The Madison School District central office and Madison No. 1 Middle School remained under watch as of 1:45 p.m. Madison Park Middle School was previously secured.

Footage from news helicopters hovering above the shooting scene showed police leading a single-file trickle of evacuees from the building.

Earlier footage showed a group of men in fatigues surrounding a red pickup truck outside a building in the office complex

Witnesses who worked in the same three-story complex, which has about 10 to 15 businesses, characterized the office building as usually very quiet.

"I heard the shots and that's it," said Karen Frasier, a receptionist at Stearns Lending in the same complex. "I wouldn't know a gunshot if it jumped up and bit me because I'd never heard one. But some other people heard them and said that's what they were."

Navika Sood, assistant director of nursing services at First At Home Health Services, said she and her coworkers heard "fairly loud" gunshots not too far away from the entrance to their first-floor office, near the front of the complex.

"We heard noises that sounded like gunshots right outside of our building and then called 9-1-1," she said.

Half an hour later, Sood said police were moving anyone who was not a witness out toward 16th Street and letting them know they could leave.

"They're not letting us back in, not even to get our cars," she said.

Rob Hayter works at Pioneer Title Agency and was on the second floor of the three-story building where the shooting occurred. No shots were fired in his office. He said he heard five or six shots before calling 911.

Hayter said he looked out his office window and said he saw two bodies lying on the ground.

"It was a little tense, everybody came and hid in the IT room," Hayter said.

A spokeswoman for the Albuquerque-based owner of the building, Louis Abruzzo of Alvarado Realty, said there are no doctor tenants in their office building at 7310 N. 16th St.

The 92,000-square-foot, three-story office building is more than 85 percent leased.

Abruzzo paid $10.2 million in cash for the office building in December 2011.

Larry Ruch, who works out of a law office across the street, said there are 50 police cars, seven to eight fire trucks and K-9 units at the location. It appeared to him that four people were taken out on stretchers; scores of onlookers took to balconies of nearby buildings to watch the scene unfold.

The area, just north of the Arizona Canal is dotted by small office complexes on both sides of the six-lane street.

The shooting was mentioned during congressional hearings about gun violence. Mark Kelly, the former shuttle astronaut and husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, told the Senate panel that there had been "what seems to be a shooting with multiple victims with multiple shots fired."

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