Body of suspected Phoenix workplace shooter found; wounded lawyer 'will not survive'


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols and Bruce Haffner, Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 9:23 AM

MESA, Ariz. -- Police say the body of suspected workplace shooter Arthur Harmon was found near Bass Pro Shops in Mesa Thursday morning.

"Mesa Police have informed us they have located the suspect vehicle involved in yesterday's incident (Kia Optima)," Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department wrote in an email to media outlets. "In addition, they have located an individual matching the suspect description nearby with what appears to be a self inflicted gunshot wound."

According to Sgt. Tony Landato of the Mesa Police Department, a landscaper discovered the body shortly before 8 a.m. Because the body matched the description of Harmon, officers fanned out and found the Kia Optima Harmon was last seen driving.

Aerial video from the scene showed the car's license plate to be AVS2052. That is the license plate of the Optima for which police had been searching since the shooting.

Police received a 911 call from somebody claiming to have spotted the car at Broadway and Ellsworth roads overnight. That's about 10 miles from where the car and body were found hours later.

Officers are on the scene and have taped off the areas surrounding the car and the body, which were found in a parking lot near Dobson Road and Loop 202. The body was found in some bushes just south of the car.

Landato said investigators also found a weapon near the body.

Detectives do not yet know what time Harmon parked his rented Optima near the Bass Pro Shops nor do they know what time he died.

Mesa police are handling the death investigation because the body has not been officially identified. That will come from the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office.

Still, Phoenix police are no longer searching for Harmon.

"It is our belief and the belief of the Mesa Police Department that in fact it is Harmon," Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said a little more than two hours after the body and car were discovered. "We've got to go through the confirmation process."

Sgt. Steve Martos, also of the Phoenix Police Department, offered confirmation in a tweet posted at 10:14 a.m., right as Thompson and Landato were talking to the media at the Mesa crimes scenes.

Talking about what a difficult and frightening day Wednesday was, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said he hoped people could be more at ease now that there is no longer a shooter on the loose.

"I'm hopeful that when final identification is made that families in this community can have their minds at rest, be at peace and know that they are once again safe," he said, thanking the Mesa Police Department for its help as Phoenix investigators continue to piece together events leading up to and following the shooting.

While Mesa detectives are handing the body at this point, Phoenix police have taken over the investigation involving the Optima because it is already connected to their shooting case.

Triple shooting: Former co-worker described suspect as 'a little bit hostile'

Police believe Harmon shot and killed one person and wounded two others after a mediation meeting at an office complex at 16th Street and Glendale Avenue at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

An unidentified person followed Harmon as he fled the scene, giving up only when Harmon opened fire at him. That person was able to give police valuable information about Harmon's vehicle.

Detectives said Harmon, 70, specifically targeted two of the victims and that the shooting was connected to a lawsuit filed by Harmon.

Police raided Harmon's North Phoenix home Wednesday afternoon. After removing several items from the house, they later cleared that scene. Investigators did not elaborate on what evidence was collected.

A man who worked with Harmon at one time, but did not want to be identified, spoke out in the wake of the shooting, saying he had his concerns.

"He has exhibited behavior in the past that would seem to be a little bit hostile and erratic," the man said. "I think that those should have been a little bit more of a warning sign."

While searching for Harmon, police pointed out that he had a military background and was to be considered armed and dangerous.

The victims

One of the shooting victims, identified as Steve Singer, 48, died from his injuries. He is the CEO of a global company headquartered in Scottsdale called Fusion Contact Centers. That is the company Harmon sued over a $20,000 payment dispute.

A 43-year-old man is listed in critical condition. Police did not identify that victim, but the Osborn Maledon law firm said he is attorney Mark P. Hummels.

On Thursday, Osborn Maledon issued a news release stating that Hummels, who is married and has two children, would not survive.

"Our friend and partner, Mark Hummels, was severely injured in yesterday’s senseless shooting," the statement read. "We have been informed that Mark will not survive from the shooting. We are devastated at this news about our beloved friend. ... Mark is what all of us aspire to be on our best days."
(Read entire statement)

Osborn Maledon represented Singer and Fusion Contact Centers.

"The loss of Mark and Steve in any circumstances would be a tragedy," Thursday's statement read. "For this to happen to them, while participating in mediation, is beyond understanding, a terrible loss for us all."

The third victim, Nichole Hampton, 32, suffered non life-threatening injuries and could be released from the hospital some time Thursday. Police believe Hampton, who was outside taking pictures when bullets started flying, was an unintended victim.

There are reports that two additional people were transported to the hospital for non gunshot-related reasons.

Jennifer Thomas contributed to this story.