Space center gunman kills one hostage and himself - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Space center gunman kills one hostage and himself

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HOUSTON, Texas - Police say a contract worker for NASA took two hostages in a building, killing one and then killing himself. The second hostage had minor injuries. No word yet on motive.

Officials said reports of shots fired came in at about 1:40 p.m. and a man with a weapon was spotted inside building 44, which is the communications and tracking development laboratory, an engineering building.

Johnson Space Center security officers, SWAT, Houston police officers and the FBI were at the scene.

Authorities said the man was barricaded in a second-floor office.

KPRC Local 2 confirmed that the gunman is a contract worker employed by Jacob's Engineering Group, which is headquartered in Tennessee. His identity and the nature of his job were not released.

There are no reports of injuries.

Officials said there were reports that between five to nine shots were fired, but that has not been confirmed.

NASA is a secured facility that requires approved access.

"If you are an employee and have the correct badge and the correct sticker on your car, you can generally drive right in," former astronaut Dr. Bill Fisher said. "If this were a contractor or a NASA employee, that person would have almost unlimited access to the Space Center once you're through the gate. For someone who is not a NASA employee, they have to go through a number of security checks and they would have to get a special badge."

Johnson Space Center is located on NASA Parkway in Clear Lake.

Building 44 was described as "one of the smaller" office buildings on the JSC campus, where Mission Control is based.

Space Center Intermediate School, located at 17400 Saturn Lane, was placed in lockdown as a precaution. The lockdown was lifted by 3:45 p.m.

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