Maybe it's just another public coincidence since the Newtown massacre, or maybe shootings in safe places occur so frequently these days that it's impossible to hold a public meeting with the National Rifle Association without a bunch of people getting shot at the same time. But a search is underway to find a suspect who, according to multiple reports from local media in Phoenix, opened fire on multiple victims at an office building starting around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, just as the Senate Judiciary Committee's first major hearing of the year was getting underway. "Police have responded to reports of a shooting with multiple victims at a business complex near 16th Street and Glendale Avenue in Phoenix," reports KTVK TV. "The suspect reportedly fled from the scene and a search is under way." At least three are injured, according to AZCentral.com, while Reuters cites a local Fox TV report that four people have been shot.
While gun violence both major and minor have surely continued across the country over the last two months, today marks the third time since December's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that a multiple-victim shooting has occurred while the public's attention was focused on government-related hearings, meetings, and announcement addressing the problem of gun violence in America — all of them involving the NRA. On December 21, uring the first press conference by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre (who is also testifying today), a gunman killed four on a rural road in central Pennsylvania. On January 10, a shooting at the Taft School in California hurt three people as CNN cut away from Vice President Joe Biden's meeting with gun-rights groups including the NRA. President Obama acknowledged the frightening coincidence during remarks at the White House three days later, when he addressed gun violence and signed into action 23 executive actions:
Just last Thursday, as TV networks were covering one of Joe’s meetings on this topic, news broke of another school shooting, this one in California. In the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary, more than 900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun — 900 in the past month. And every day we wait, that number will keep growing.
We'll be keeping this post updated as more information from Phoenix comes in.