Arizona Shooting Unfolds at Same Time as Senate Gun Hearing

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 30 2013 2:29 PM

The Latest Mass Shooting Occurred While the Senate Was Debating What To Do About Guns

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Shooting survivor and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) (L) is seated next to her husband Captain Mark Kelly, USN (Ret.) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, January 30, 2013 in Washington, DC

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A quick flashback: At a Dec. 21 press conference, NRA executive Wayne LaPierre did his best to place a relatively small frame around the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., suggesting the deaths of 20 elementary students and six school staff members was a problem mostly about school shootings specifically, and not gun violence in society at large. At roughly the same time, however, breaking news out of Pennsylvania about the nation's latest mass killing offered something of a counterpoint to his argument: A gunman killed three people and injured three police officers before turning the gun on himself. Clearly, not the best timing for the NRA and its messaging machine.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Flash-forward to today: LaPierre was again in the national spotlight, this time testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to plans to impose stricter federal gun laws. Meanwhile, in Arizona, this was unfolding (via the Arizona Republic):

Five people are injured, three of them shot, in a shooting at an office complex in north-central Phoenix Wednesday morning, officials said. Around 10:30 a.m., officials reported that three people had suffered gunshot wounds in a building on the 7310 block of 16th Street, near Glendale Avenue, officials said.
Tommy Thompson, of the Phoenix Police Department said officers believe one suspect is responsible for the shooting and that the suspect is still on the loose. Thompson said one man walked into the building and shot several people. It’s unclear, Thompson said, what the motive for the shooting was and how many total victims there are.
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While much is still unknown about the Phoenix shooting, its timing and location in the same state in which former Rep. Gabby Giffords was nearly killed during a mass shooting two years ago provided a powerful, immediate anecdote for Mark Kelly, who had been joined earlier in the day before the committee by his wife. TPM has the clip:

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