Lawyers mourn slain colleagues Employees press for gun control

July 07, 1993|By Los Angeles Times

SAN FRANCISCO -- With the bloodstains washed away and the bullet holes repaired, employees of the Pettit & Martin law firm returned to work yesterday for the first time since last week's high-rise shooting and immediately began pushing for stricter gun control laws.

An impromptu memorial with dozens of flowers and cards greeted employees outside the 48-story office tower. A team of four counselors was on hand to help the lawyers and staff members cope with their return to work.

But many of the firm's employees found that the best therapy was in trying to prevent such a shooting -- which claimed nine lives and injured six -- from ever happening again.

Joining with advocates of gun control across the nation, members of the firm formed a new group called Legal Community Against Violence. Within hours, the firm had received dozens of calls from other law firms and companies offering to help.

"We feel so helpless about what happened," said Michele Marinaro, manager of attorney recruiting who is helping coordinate the gun control effort. "It's really gratifying to hear all the support. The outpouring has been massive."

During a 15-minute rampage Thursday, Gian Luigi Ferri roamed through three floors of the financial district high-rise, shooting lawyers and office workers. Ferri, 55, killed himself in a stairwell after he was cornered by police.

A letter found on Ferri's body showed that he blamed recent financial setbacks on lawyers at the firm, which represented him more than a decade ago in a real estate transaction.

Yesterday, the San Francisco Police Department disclosed that there was a four-minute delay in dispatching officers after receiving the first 911 call. For some reason, ambulances were sent one minute after the emergency call came in.

Once police were dispatched, they arrived within 27 seconds, city officials said. The police department was at a loss to explain the delay in sending officers, but the city's 911 system has long been criticized for delays and inefficiency. Police said they were investigating.

Gun experts said yesterday that two of the weapons Ferri used, two Intratec TEC-DC-9s, are virtually identical to the TEC-9, which is banned under California law as an assault weapon.

After the state enacted its assault weapon ban in 1989, the manufacturer changed the name of the semi-automatic pistol to the TEC-DC-9.

Because that name is not on the state's list, it is legal to possess the gun in California.

Ferri's guns also had a "hellfire switch" -- a spring action to increase the firing speed, which is legal under California law.

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