Larry Naman, who shot former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox in 1997 over a stadium vote, appeared to threaten Phoenix City Council members on Wednesday before they took action on a different stadium.
Naman has said he shot Wilcox over her 1994 vote for a sales tax to partially fund the $238 million construction of what is now Chase Field. On Wednesday, the council considered, then passed, a $235 million renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix.
During the meeting’s public comments, Naman stepped up to the microphone and introduced himself as the man who shot Wilcox.
This was just a few minutes after Wilcox herself had taken the microphone, saying she supported the proposal to renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Naman, his face haggard and his hair thin and gray, warned, “The public must be allowed to vote on this matter.” The fact that the public was not, he said repeatedly, amounted to “an act of violence.”
He stepped down from the microphone, eliciting no more response than a “thank you” from interim Mayor Thelda Williams.
Half an hour later, Michael Johnson, a former city councilman, took the microphone and suggested that someone get the police to review video of Naman’s comments.
Phoenix police say that that is precisely what they are doing.
“The Phoenix Police Department is aware of Mr. Naman’s statements at today’s city council meeting,” Armando Carbajal said in an email to Phoenix New Times on Wednesday. “Mr. Naman’s statements are currently being reviewed.”
“The Phoenix Police Department has coordinated and implemented appropriate security measures to ensure the safety and security for all community members who attend our public meetings,” Carbajal added.
He declined to elaborate on those measures, saying that doing so “may degrade the effects of the measures taken.”
In August 1997, Naman shot Wilcox in the buttocks as she was leaving a Supervisors’ meeting, shattering her pelvis.
As Wilcox told New Times in 2014, she was leaving the board’s Phoenix auditorium when Naman approached her. She couldn’t remember exact details, but at some point, sensing a gun against her back or perhaps her head, she screamed.
A security guard and another supervisor tackled Naman, but he’d already fired a hollow-point bullet.
“It felt like a hot bolt of oil going through my leg,” Wilcox told New Times.
During his sentencing in 1998, Naman appeared remorseless. He told Wilcox, “I will say I’m sorry I shot you the day you stand before the court and admit what you did was an act of violence.”
Naman served 12 years of a 15-year sentence and was released in 2010.
Chase Field is next door to Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns. Despite fierce backlash from the public, the Phoenix City Council voted 6-2 Wednesday to move forward with the $235 million deal, of which $150 million would be taxpayer funded.
Wilcox continued to serve on the county’s five-member board of supervisors after being shot, re-elected four times and serving 20 years before quitting in 2014 to run for a seat in Congress. Ruben Gallego beat her in the Democratic primary for Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. Wilcox continues to serve the public on the board of the Maricopa County Special Health Care District.