Arizona office gunman found dead
on 01/02/2013 09:37:16
The discovery ended a nearly 24-hour manhunt for Arthur Harmon, 70.
A landscaper found his body among some bushes in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa yesterday. Harmon died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
A handgun was found near his body, and a rented Kia Optima sedan that he drove from Wednesday's shooting scene was found in a nearby car park.
Authorities had been searching for Harmon since Wednesday morning, when they say he drew a gun and shot two men at the end of a mediation session at a north-central Phoenix office building.
Steve Singer, 48, died hours later. The law firm that employs Mark Hummels, 43, said yesterday he was on life support and was not expected to survive.
A third person, mother-of-two Nichole Hampton, 32, was caught in the gunfire near the office building's entrance and was wounded in her left hand.
Ms Hampton works for another company inside the office complex and was not involved in the contract dispute. She said yesterday that she never saw Harmon or the two men who were shot.
"We believe the two men were the targets," Sgt Tommy Thompson of Phoenix police said. "It was not a random shooting."
Harmon also fired at someone who tried to follow him to get his car registration number, authorities said.
Mr Singer was chief executive of Fusion Contact Centres, which had hired Harmon to refurbish office cubicles at two call centres in California.
According to court documents, Harmon was due to go to a law office in the building where the shooting took place for a settlement conference in a lawsuit he filed against Fusion in April.
Harmon represented himself in the lawsuit, and Mr Hummels represented Fusion.
Colleagues of Mr Hummels described him as a smart, competent and decent man who was a rising star in his profession and dedicated to his wife, nine-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son.
"This is a day of just unspeakable sorrow," said 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals judge Andrew Hurwitz, who hired Mr Hummels straight out of law school to serve as a law clerk from 2004 to 2005 while the judge was serving on the Arizona Supreme Court.
The response to the shooting first centred on that building - home to insurance, medical and law offices - but soon spread to a north-Phoenix home and a central-Phoenix high-rise where Mr Hummels' office is located.
SWAT teams and two armoured vehicles surrounded the house. Police served a search warrant to enter the home, which county property records show was sold by Harmon to his son last year for 26,000 dollars.
For a time, officers used a megaphone to ask Harmon to surrender, believing he might be inside the residence.
Harmon's body was eventually was found near a shopping area about 14 miles from the office building where Wednesday's shooting occurred.
The shooting took place on the same day that hearings on legislation to address gun violence were convened in Washington, with former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords calling for stricter gun controls.
A gunman shot Ms Giffords in the head during a shooting rampage in Tucson in January 2011.