At the center of Wednesday's shooting at a Valley office is a breach of contract dispute; Arthur Harmon was suing a local call center, saying they scammed him after hiring him to do some contractor work.
This civil suit is pretty complicated, but it starts in February of last year, when Fusion Contact Centers, a call center based here in the Valley, hired Harmon. The deal went sour and is likely the motivation behind Wednesday's horrific acts.
"It was a business litigation, it was not a family court matter," said Colin Campbell, the law partner of one of the shooting victims.
According to court documents, in February of last year, Fusion hired Harmon to refurbish some furniture in their Santa Maria, CA, office.
Fusion alleges, in doing so, Harmon damaged hundreds of voice and data cables, costing them $30,000. Harmon then gave Fusion a bid proposal for the new furniture but Fusion said they were going with someone else, instead.
Steve Singer, the CEO of Fusion and a victim in this shooting, told Harmon to either accept $4,200 and walk away or get sued. But Harmon refused and filed suit against Fusion in April.
Fusion then counterclaimed, saying Harmon was paid for work he didn't do.
The parties purportedly had a settlement conference Wednesday.
"Apparently, the person on the other side was very upset about the lawsuit and I understand after the mediation, came out of the parking lot and started shooting," Campbell said.
Harmon wrote Mark Hummels, Fusion's attorney, a fiery letter in this dispute. Harmon called Hummels several profanities and said, "I (sic) going after you with every fiber in my being, and I won't rest until I see you behind bars." Hummels was shot and is in critical condition.
"We're shocked, this is one of our partners," Campbell said. "He's been injured and we're all very concerned."
And it gets messier; Fusion alleges Harmon sold his house to his son around this time in an attempt to defraud the company. Harmon admitted to selling the house to his son, but denied any malicious intent. He bought the home back from his son after his son was also named in the lawsuit.
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