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NASA gunman: police blame work grudge

Performance review triggered shooting

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A NASA employee who killed a colleague, took another hostage and then turned his gun on himself, was lashing out at the man he thought was responsible for his poor work review, police investigators have said.

William Phillips, 60, took a revolver to work with him at the Johnson Space Centre on Friday. He then barricaded himself in communications building 44, an area that houses tracking systems for the space shuttle.

Police say that he taped colleague Fran Crenshaw to a chair. He then confronted fellow civil servant David Beverly, 62, about a poor performance review. Police say Beverly tried to calm his attacker, but Phillips shot him twice before turning the gun on himself.

He bought the gun used in the shootings on the same day as he printed off a copy of his appraisal, police said.

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt told reporters: "The suspect blamed Mr Beverly for being responsible for his negative job-performance situation."

The police added that Crenshaw, who was slightly injured during her ordeal, provided a calming influence and prevented a bad situation from becoming even worse.

NASA says it is reviewing its security procedures. ®

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