Officials say at least three people were shot in a building on the 7300 block of 16th Street in Phoenix. This image made from a video still shows the building. / KPNX, azcentral.com
PHOENIX - One of three people shot Wednesday morning at a north-central Phoenix office building is dead, officials said, and police continue to search for the gunman.
Police identified the suspect as 70-year-old Arthur Douglas Harmon. They said his motive is unclear.
Harmon fled the scene in a white vehicle and fired shots at a witness who was giving chase, police said.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said officers are now searching for Harmon's 2013 Kia Optima, license plate AVS 2052. He added that Harmon is considered armed and dangerous.
Steven D. Singer, 48, the CEO of Fusion Contact Centers, a Scottsdale call center, was killed. He had been attending a mediation with the suspect in a law firm at the office building.
Mark Hummels, a partner with Osborn Maledon and president of the Phoenix chapter of the Federal Bar Association, had surgery Wednesday afternoon and is among the survivors, said Larry Hammond, a partner with the firm. Hummels was shot in the neck and lower back.
He was wounded after leaving the mediation session, according to an email 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.
According to Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson and other sources, Harmon, Hummels and Singer had attended a mediation proceeding Wednesday morning at the offices of DeConcini, McDonald, Yetwin & Lacy. Lisa Anne Davis, managing partner, said one of the firm's lawyers presided over the session as a court-appointed judge pro tem.
Mark Harrison, who works with Hummels at the firm of Osborn Maledon, said he was told the session was interrupted when Harmon announced he needed to go outside to his car. When Harmon failed to return after a prolonged wait, Hummels, Singer and others assumed he was not coming back. They headed downstairs, and as they were leaving, they were shot.
Nichole Hampton, 32, had gone outside to take pictures for business purposes and was caught in gunfire near the building entrance. She is hospitalized with a wound to her hand.
Police said a shot was fired at a fourth victim who pursued the shooter from the scene, but the person was uninjured. Two other people also were taken from the scene to a hospital with unspecified medical issues related to the shooting.
Hampton is director of human resources at MD Home Health LLC, another business in the complex. In a phone interview from the hospital, Carol Hampton said her daughter, who is married and has two young children, got caught in the shooting frenzy.
"She was at the wrong place at the wrong time," Carol Hampton said. "She started walking to the lobby, and she saw four men come running out, saying, 'He's got a gun.'"
At that instant, Hampton said, her daughter heard a shot and saw a window shatter. Nichole Hampton, initially unaware that she had been wounded, ran into the nearby business.
Carol Hampton said Nichole and others looked out a window to see the shooter's white vehicle screech out of the parking lot with its trunk open.
Carol said her daughter was struck in the wrist, and two bones were broken. "She has two metal plates and pins in her hand. She's pretty shook up. But someone died in this, so we feel very lucky."
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. MST 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.
"This doesn't appear to be a random type of incident," Thompson said. At about 10:30 a.m. MST, the gunman arrived at the office building and got into a dispute that escalated to the point where he drew a gun.
The shooting took place on the same day that Congress convened hearings in Washington on legislation to address gun violence. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was severely wounded along with 12 others two years ago outside a supermarket in suburban Tucson, Ariz., was among those testifying. Six died in that shooting.
In Phoenix, witnesses who worked in the three-story office complex in the 7310 block of 16th Street where the shooting occurred 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."
The gunfire prompted terrified workers throughout the complex that houses 10 to 15 businesses including insurance, health care and law offices, to lock their doors and hide far from windows. SWAT team officers searched the building.
"Everyone was just scared, honestly, just scared," said Navika Sood, assistant director of nursing at First at Home Health Services who, along with her co-workers, locked the entrances to their office.
Becky Neher, who works for a title company in the building, said the two gunshots she heard sounded like two pieces of metal banging against each other.
"Someone yelled, 'We have a shooter,'" she said. She saw two victims lying on the ground outside the back side of the building.
Rob Hayter, who works at Pioneer Title Agency, said he heard five or six shots before calling 911, looked out his office window and 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 Alvardao Realty, said the shooting happened in the lobby. The 92,000-square-foot, three-story office building is more than 85% leased.
Abruzzo paid $10.2 million in cash for the office building in December 2011.
According to Larry Ruch, who operates out of a law office across the street, 50 police cars, seven to eight fire trucks and K-9 units converged 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.
In Washington, former astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords' husband, told the Senate panel about the Wednesday shooting during his time at the microphone: "There is another what seems to be possibly a shooting with multiple victims ... with multiple shots fired."
Contributing: Amy B Wang, Lindsey Collom, Catherine Reagor and The Associated Press
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Read the original story: 1 dead in Phoenix office shooting; shooter at large