When Office Furniture Turns Deadly

This is one of the sadder stories we’ve covered in this space.

Earlier this year, a man shot three people in an office park in Phoenix, Arizona. One victim, Steven Singer, president and CEO of call center company Fusion Contact Centers, was killed immediately. Another, Mark Hummels, a partner with the law firm Osborn Maledon, was severely injured and later died as a result of his wounds. A third victim, named Nichole Hampton, was not badly hurt and will recover.

The alleged gunman, Arthur Douglas Harmon, targeted Singer and Hummels over a dispute involving office furniture. Yes, you read that right: this tragedy arose from a lawsuit over several thousand dollars’ worth of cubicles and office furniture.

Harmon, who runs a business called Redback Design, had signed a contract with Fusion Contact Centers to refurbish and move the cubicles and office furniture at one of its facilities in Santa Clara, Calif. The contract was worth $47,000, but partway through, Harmon discovered that he was unable to restore some of the stock. The problem? Some of the furniture he was supposed to restore “wasn’t a brand that could be rehabbed,” according to AZCentral.

After several conversations and a chain of involved emails, Fusion paid Harmon $30,000 of the contract. Harmon then sued Fusion for the remainder of the money, plus $20,000 in damages. In the end, he wound up paying Fusion slightly more than $20,000 to settle the suit.

The dispute gets more complicated from there, involving a series of legal twists and turns and shady real estate deals, but the end result was that Singer, his attorney Hummels, and Harmon met at a mediation office to try to sort out the case once and for all.

Shortly thereafter, Harmon allegedly shot both men, Hampton, and finally, himself. His body was recovered from the parking lot of a nearby shopping center.

Who knew office furniture could do so much harm?

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