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katie ta achoo
Apr 20, 2007, 07:50 PM
A NASA contract worker armed with a handgun killed a hostage and then himself after a nearly four-hour standoff Friday in an office building at Johnson Space Center, Houston police said.

The slain hostage, a man, was shot in the chest and was likely to have been shot "in the early minutes of the whole ordeal," Police Capt. Dwayne Ready said. Initial reports indicated two shots were fired at about 1:40 p.m. CDT and another shot was heard about 5 p.m.

A second hostage, a woman, escaped after being bound to a chair with duct tape, Ready said.

The gunman, an employee of Jacobs Engineering of Pasadena, Calif., shot himself once in the head more than three hours after barricading himself on the second floor of Building 44, which houses communications and tracking development lab, Ready said.

None of those involved were immediately identified.

The gun was a snub-nosed revolver, either .38 or .357-caliber, Ready said.

A NASA spokesman said the agency would likely review its security.

"Any organization would take a good, hard look at the kind of review process we have with people," Doug Peterson said.

To enter NASA, workers flash an ID badge as they drive past a security guard. The badge allows the workers access to designated buildings.

Building 44 was evacuated shortly after gunshots were heard, and SWAT officers surrounded the building, which houses communications and a tracking development laboratory.

Ready said he had no idea what the man's motive was, but described him as being between 50 and 60 years old.

The gunman was an employee of Jacobs Engineering, which has an engineering technical support contract with NASA, said Jacobs executive vice president John Prosser.

"We understand it is one of our employees," Prosser said. "Beyond that, we have no comment."

Police were unable to talk to the gunman, despite repeated attempts to reach him.

NASA employees and contract workers were kept informed of the situation by e-mail, including the first one which began, "We have a report of a weapon in Building 44."

Roads within the 1,600-acre campus were blocked off. A nearby middle school also kept its teachers and students inside as the school day ended, but reopened to allow students to leave.

President Bush was informed about the incident by counselor Dan Bartlett as he flew back to Washington from an event in Michigan, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. The White House was getting regular updates from NASA, she said, with Bush's top homeland security aide monitoring it.

Another NASA spokesman, James Hartsfield, said the building was "one of the smaller" office buildings on the JSC campus, where Mission Control is based. Building 44 is not near Mission Control.

He declined to speculate on how a person would get a gun inside NASA security.

Doors to Mission Control were locked as is standard procedure.

NASA Director of External Relations Eileen Hawley said NASA would study the situation when it was defused to see if any policies needed to be changed.

Ready said the FBI would join the investigation because it is a federal facility.

"Everybody I've seen is shocked that something like this would happen here. It's almost a collegial environment," Peterson said.
story (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/4735148.html)


When I went to JSC earlier this year, I accidentally brought my can of Mace with me in my purse. The guard at the front of the space center didn't notice it, so I kept it with me. I then went on the tram tour, where if I wanted to (but didn't), I could've gotten off the tour, wandered off, and started macing astronauts.

Security, IMO, is a little lax at NASA in regards to people getting around with freaking CANS OF MACE.

Uhm.. discuss? I didn't see a thread about it anywhere. Do you think this'll delay the next shuttle launches?

Allotriophagy
Apr 20, 2007, 08:04 PM
Uhm.. discuss?

This will be forgotten by tomorrow. No young people killed. No "foreigner kills natives" angle. No pictures of fruity smiling girlies for news-reading strangers to mournjerk over.

After the Virginia Tech shootings this is, to paraphrase Jo Moore, "a good time to shoot murder bad news".

I am all discussed out now.

zap2
Apr 20, 2007, 08:29 PM
Come on...enough is enough!

To quote Fannie Lou Hamer

"I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired."

xparaparafreakx
Apr 20, 2007, 08:41 PM
More people dead.

Abstract
Apr 20, 2007, 08:54 PM
When I went to JSC earlier this year, I accidentally brought my can of Mace with me in my purse. The guard at the front of the space center didn't notice it, so I kept it with me. I then went on the tram tour, where if I wanted to (but didn't), I could've gotten off the tour, wandered off, and started macing astronauts.

Security, IMO, is a little lax at NASA in regards to people getting around with freaking CANS OF MACE.

Just another day through a crappy, disgraced organisation.

More funny NASA news.



DOUBLE POST, BABY!

joepunk
Apr 23, 2007, 10:33 AM
I prefer Dirty Space News myself.


I remember a time when I was on those tour buses going to the launch sites and the closest we could get was several miles away, basically just a speck on the horizon is pretty much all one could see. Just recently (as in a few years ago) one could get very, very close and I saw some tourists camped w/cameras at the closest observation tower, waiting for the launch of the day.

phillipjfry
Apr 24, 2007, 11:36 AM
Incidents like this tend to happen in three's

Probably one more incident will come to fruit in the coming days :(

katie ta achoo
Apr 24, 2007, 11:39 AM
Incidents like this tend to happen in three's

Probably one more incident will come to fruit in the coming days :(

In the Houston area, at least, there was a guy that went nuts and shot one person and killed himself at his apartment complex because he just learned that he was getting evicted.

WildCowboy
Apr 24, 2007, 01:13 PM
When I was there last month, I set off the metal detector at the tram ride...I think it was my belt. It was a fairly windy day, and I walked through just as there was a good gust of wind. The guard waved me on, saying that the wind frequently sets it off.

I know there's a certain degree of profiling they do and I think I probably looked like an okay guy, but it's a bit silly to have a great big metal detector only to ignore it because there was a bit of a breeze.

princealfie
Apr 24, 2007, 02:19 PM
Sounds like Texas to me... :eek: