Phoenix police: 3 shot at office complex
Authorities believe the shooting was not random, and don't know the whereabouts of the shooter
By Jacques Billeaud
PHOENIX — A gunman remained at large Wednesday after opening fire at a Phoenix office building and wounding three people, one of them critically.
Authorities believe there was only one shooter and don't think it was a random act.
A SWAT team surrounded a house 7 miles from the shooting scene that police said is connected to the shooting. Officers were talking to someone who was not the suspect, Sgt. Steve Martos said.
Police didn't immediately release the name of the possible suspect or a motive for the shooting, which left two other victims with non-life threatening injuries.
They also wouldn't identify the three people wounded.
The gunfire prompted terrified workers throughout the complex to lock the doors to their offices and hide far from the windows. SWAT 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.
Sood said authorities evacuated the office about 30 minutes after she first heard the popping noises.
The shooting took place on the same day that hearings on legislation to address gun violence were convened in Washington, with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords testifying for stricter gun controls.
A gunman shot Giffords in the head during a shooting rampage in Tucson in January 2011.
Around 10:30 a.m., the gunman arrived at the office building and got into a dispute with someone, a conflict that escalated to the point where he drew a gun and shot three people, Thompson said.
Vannessa Brogan, who works in sales support at an insurance business in the three-story complex, said she heard a loud bang that she thought at first was from somebody working in or near the building.
She said others at the business thought they heard multiple loud noises. She said people locked themselves in offices until authorities evacuated the complex that houses insurance, medical and law offices.
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.
Watching from her second-story office, she saw people leaving the building.
"Someone yelled, `We have a shooter,'" she said. She saw two victims lying on the ground outside the back side of the building. She said health care workers who have offices in the complex came out to help.
Don Jaksa, a software consultant who works in the building, said he was listening to the radio when he suddenly heard "two pops." He said he didn't think they were gunshots.
"My co-worker goes to the range all the time," he said. "He identified it as gunfire."
His co-worker then locked the door. After five minutes, they left and ran into police and someone carrying a stretcher. The police escorted them back to their office and told them to lock the door again.
They were eventually evacuated, and as he sat on a rock outside the complex, his wife called to make sure he was OK after seeing the shooting on the news.
Workers were later allowed to leave the building. Two hugged each other when they got outside.
"You don't expect this when you come to work," worker Lindsa Rincon said.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press
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