NASA Feedback: David Beverly and Fran Crenshaw

NASA shooting suspect feared being fired, police say, AP

"[Houston Police Chief Harold] Hurtt praised Beverly for his bravery while trying to protect a co-worker, and Crenshaw for her composure while trying to keep Phillips calm. "Heroes just don't fly in space," Hurtt said. "Sometimes heroes work in the next cubicle next to you." Beverly's wife, Linda, said her husband of 41 years was an electrical parts specialist who felt working at NASA was his calling."

Editor's note: Friday was certainly a horrible day for NASA. Y'all must be thinking/feeling something with regard to David Beverly's murder and Fran Crenshaw's awful ordeal. Care to express yourself? Send your comments to

Your comments thus far with regard to the victims:

I am truly saddened by the loss of my friend and fellow CBX rider, David Beverly. My thoughts and prayers are with Linda and his family. I am especially sorry not to have been able to attend a recent get-together he and Linda had at their home for those of us who enjoy classic motorcycles. Dave exemplified the best characteristics of an engineer with an attention to detail and always willing to help a friend in need.

Stephen Wirtes, Clear Lake Shores, TX

Message From the Administrator - April 24, 2007: David Beverly and Fran Crenshaw

Last Friday, April 20th, NASA engineer David Beverly was murdered in his office at the Johnson Space Center, shot by a co-worker who subsequently committed suicide. The co-worker was an on-site contractor who believed, mistakenly, that David was trying to have him fired. Another co-worker, Fran Crenshaw, was taken hostage during the incident but was not otherwise harmed.

Nearly everyone reading this message will be familiar with these facts, played out as they were on national television. What most of you will not know, but should, is the kind of man who was lost in this sad event, and how David and Fran behaved as they struggled to defend themselves and each other.

David Beverly was a long-time NASA engineer, a parts specialist widely regarded as one of the very best in this critical discipline in all of NASA. He was a quiet, thoughtful man, known for his willingness and ability to apply his knowledge, to convey it clearly to colleagues and co-workers, and for his dedication to NASA and its mission. He was simply in love with what we do at NASA. He was also known for his dedication to weekend motorbiking, in company with his JSC motorcycle club colleagues.

David was an engineer's engineer. He lived in the waterfront home that he designed, and which he maintained to exacting standards. He was known to friends as the guy who could and would fix anything that went wrong, at his home or theirs. He lived in that home with his companion of five decades, Linda, his sweetheart from junior high school days and his wife since college. Linda is a facilities management professional where, ironically, she often deals with the consequences of workplace violence.

Shortly after lunch on Friday, David and Fran were confronted in their office by the killer, a man whose own office was literally down the hall, and with whom David had had lunch that very day. Though dealing with the surreal situation of being threatened by a co-worker wielding a gun, both remained calm. David tried to reason with the attacker until the man raised the gun and shot him twice, and then left the room to lock the outer office door.

Though critically wounded, David attempted with Fran's assistance to barricade the inner office door with a desk, but was unsuccessful. The attacker returned and shot David again, this time with mortal effect.

The attacker, having barricaded himself in the office suite, then proceeded to tie Fran up, telling her that she was his hostage. After an extended conversation with Fran, and composing several suicide notes, the attacker shot himself. Hearing the shot, the Houston Police Department SWAT Team broke down the door and conducted Fran, who had freed herself, to the hospital for evaluation.

Despite her ordeal, Fran was determined to be unharmed, calm, and fully in possession of her faculties, and so was released from the hospital. She then drove immediately to the Houston Police Department, where she provided investigators with a careful recounting of the afternoon's events, after which she was dismissed.

Linda added a bit more detail to Fran's story. She told us how, after completing her duties to the police investigators, Fran then called Linda to tell her how David had died, and that David had told her that Linda was his "soulmate". Linda replied, "I knew that." I must tell you that it was very hard to hear her relate this vignette.

On Saturday, JSC Director Mike Coats and I met with Houston Police officials, who informed us of the results of their investigation. They made a point of telling us that both David and Fran had acted "heroically", that they had done all they could, each trying to protect the other, and that they had simply never seen a calmer and more self-possessed individual than Fran in any similar situation, concerning which they had all too much experience, including another case elsewhere that same afternoon. Houston Police Chief Hurtt stated that "not all of NASA's heroes fly in space."

HPD officials also made a point of complimenting NASA's handling of the incident by internal security forces, citing the manner in which the incident site was surrounded and contained by NASA security personnel until local and Federal law enforcement officials arrived, and uninvolved employees were expeditiously evacuated from the area.

While all involved performed to the highest of standards, we will nonetheless review the entire incident, with the intent of producing an "after-action report", with lessons on both what went well and what did not, that could be valuable should such an event ever occur again.

There will be a memorial service for David Beverly on Wednesday, 2 5 April, and flags at NASA will be flown at half-staff for a week in mourning.

No more than any of you do I know what to make of, or to take from, this awful thing, other than to realize, once again, that none of us knows the day or hour of our passing, and that the "now" is precious. David and Linda did not know when they said goodbye that morning that it would be for the last time. She told me that they almost never quarreled, and that their last words were of love and caring. She will have that as her final memory of her soulmate.

Let us all go forward with the goal of leaving behind just such memories for our family, friends, and co-workers to have when our last day arrives, as it must.


I knew David before he joined NASA. We worked together at Texas Intruments. I moved to Dallas but we still kept in touch for awhile. I would receive a birthday card from him for many years. He was at my wedding in 1980. I was in Houston on Friday for my son's wedding when I read his name in the paper. I couldn't believe it. I thought many times that I should call David and Linda but never seemed to have 'time'. Now time has run out for him. Instead of receiving a birthday greeting this year, he will be buried on my birthday. I will never forget.

Neil Gould

I meet David from the Honda CBX Club, Most every Spring he would come to the Texas Hill country and Ride. My most sincere condolence to his family, It was great to have met David and ride with him. My prayers are with him and his family.

Mike Garvin. FAA Aviation Safety Inspector

I graduated from high school with David Beverly and his wife Linda in 1964. David was very popular and served as the Drum Major for the Broken Arrow High School Marching Band.David has always been a man of honesty and integrity and full of humility.

I know Linda was the love of his life since their high school days. David also had a strong spiritualcommitment to Jesus Christ. Originally, when David graduated from high school, he was going to be a preacher, but engineeringbecame his calling.

Jeff Lester, M.D. Broken Arrow (Tulsa), Oklahoma

Dave was one of the first engineers that I worked with 20 years ago when I started working at NASA GSFC. Someone suggested that I call the JSC materials group to understand the differences between the polymers used for coating conductor wire. Though it turned out that he was to become one of the leading resources for the Agency on electronic parts technology and policy, he never hesitated to take my calls, to explain manufacturing and processing principles, and to point me in the direction of information and knowledge. He supported many of my projects not only with technical expertise but also supported them by attending working groups and making Agency-wide projects important to the team at JSC. Of course he was a great asset for JSC but he also cared deeply about the success of the entire Agency and was consistently generous with his technical and management contributions, decade after decade.

Keith, I am puzzled as to why most of the comments you have received so far are anonymous. Please do not hesitate to make it clear who contributed this.

I am so sorry. I really do not know what to say. Dave was such a kind, gentle man, there is no way this makes any sense. I guess I had known Dave for about ten years. We were both NASA electronic parts engineers. Dave represented Johnson Space Center as their senior expert; I held various positions representing NASA HQ. Dave was one of my technical resources, a first rate engineer, a fine person and a personal friend. I often called on Dave for opinions and insight and he always made time for me, no matter how busy he was and he was always busy. Over the past seven years he has been a regular contributor to my weekly NASA EEE Parts Assurance Group (NEPAG) telecons. He was one of the founders of NEPAG. We did not always see eye-to-eye on technical matters but he was always professional, courteous and patient and our discussions always ended with our close personal relationship intact. He was a very good parts engineer, very dedicated and thorough. He worked long hours doing what he could to make NASA successful. The Agency has lost an enormous asset, a dedicated employee, a terrific engineer and a wonderful human being. I have lost a good friend and I am devastated. My thoughts are with his wife and family. This is so unfair.

Michael J. Sampson,
Manager NASA EEE Parts Program
GSFC Alert Coordinator
Code 304
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

I have two memories. He was a fine electronic engineer who was outstanding in his field of EEE parts. He was also a fine man who loved motorcycles. Many have written about the engineer side. Here is my memories of the motorcycle side. Do with it as you will.

David Beverly was a respected peer, a valued friend and a surprising man. Dave walked gently and talked quietly and road a motorcycle like his hair was on fire. I knew that I was like that; but, I thought that I was just weird. Dave took it to a new level. When you saw his garage it was the ultimate guys garage with all the tools and stuff that you always wanted and you didn't have. Everything that he worked on was returned to factory new condition. I knew that he was a true believer in quality when I saw that when he finished working on a bike part, he didn't just wipe off the oil and dirt, he took it to his buffer and was happy when it shined like a mirror. I mentioned his name to a motorcycle club member in my town and he said "oh yeah, we all know Dave. I is a member of every club in this whole area as far as I know."

Everyone loved Dave because he was so honest, open, helpful and easy to get to know. Dave is one of those people that I will have a question and reach for the phone and then remember that Dave is not here - anymore. I will see a bike and think I should drop Dave a note and then remember that he is not here - anymore.

My world is a colder lonelier world because of that stupid man who seems to have had no idea how to deal with his problems without taking this fine engineer and man from us.

Dave's friend Dave.

David Beverly was one of the finest engineers I've had the privilege of working with. David expected the best work possible every day - especially from himself as well as from those working with him. Making NASA's programs and engineering practices the very best they could be was his life's work. He loved the space program. He loved the work he did. It was truly a calling and David gave everything he could to keep the best ideas, the best research, and the best solutions for engineering at the forefront. He was always learning, trying harder to understand internecine issues, and coming up with practical yet quality solutions that would enable space exploration to move forward with confidence and reliability.

On a personal level, David was a very unpretentious yet gifted. He had a marvelously self-deprecating and dry sense of humor, a gentle soul who always tried to find common ground with everyone. He would listen attentively and seemed to truly care what everyone had to say. I will miss him terribly, and the NASA family will feel his absence sorely and deeply. He also knew how to find joy in the common everyday pleasures of his life. He was a true visionary and inspiration to all of us who knew him.

My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family. We will miss David very, very much!

A Friend and JSC Colleague

I work at JSC butwas off work today, soI watched with interest the news reports this afternoon as events unfolded. It sounded tragic and hit close to home, but since I don't work with many folks who hang out in Building 44,it didn't seem too personal to me. Then I saw the name of the victim and my heart sank. David Beverly was one of the nicest and most competent engineers I have ever worked with. I can't imagine anyone having a heated argument with him, much less something that could set off a tragedy like this. My heart is broken tonight.

I am saddened about Dave Beverly's premature death. I knew Dave since I began as a NASA employee working in building 44 in the early 80's. He was a highly competent and conscientious engineer. More importantly, he was a kind and humble person that I had the privilege of working with. He helped meunderstand the subject of choosing the right parts for a design in anunpretentious and kind way.His knowledge will bemissed but, more importantly,Dave the person will bemissed even more.

JSC engineer

Dave was the second NASA person I met when I first started working at JSC. We soon discovered that we both spoke the same technical language and shared a passion for helping the projects and programs get the best hardware possible. He and I worked together to get training upgraded, and processes in place to correct and prevent workmanship and design issues. Wayward project engineers knew they were likely to lose the argument when Dave and I showed up as a tag-team at a meeting.

Dave was well respected for his knowledge, but he was also one of those engineers that was self-confident enough to know when to ask questions. His self-effacing sense of humor was sometimes difficult for others to fully appreciate, and I wouldn't be surprised if his last comment when shot was "Well, that's not right!".

Dave was more than one of my NASA customers. He was my colleague. He was my friend.

Many of my coworkers and myself knew both Bill and David. Both were experts in their field of space electronics. I had gotten advise on projects from David several times. He was like the "nice old guys" at NASA that were full of great stories and always willing to tell a tale. He had lots of knowedge and was not presumpuous. When we heard what was going on real time, neither myself or my coworkers could believe what happenend. We couldn't believe anyone could get mad at David, let alone shoot him. In any event, we will miss him. We will miss being able to talk to a trusted source who made you feel special no matter your age or experience. The space program will miss him because he was one of the governing authorities in space electronics.

Keith, I am a civil servant at JSC. The first I heard about the shooting was when speaking to a person in anotherbuilding who was told to shelter-in-place. I turned on NASA TV and saw information about the shooting. Then I turned it to the local news channel where it was being discussed. We did not receive an e-mail notice until about 30-45 minutes later. Everytime we have a storm we get notices on bad weather by e-mail but we didn't get an e-mail about this shooting!!! Heck, we even received our OSHA VPP Star certificaton but we can't get an e-mail out immediately on a shooting onsite!! I've knownDave Beverly for many years and he was a great guy, easy going, sharp engineering and a friend. He will be missed.

I have known Dave Beverly since I started working at NASA in the early 1980's. An excellent engineer and dedicated NASA employee, Dave was also extremely personable, trustworthy, and always willing to help you. Dave had a passion for motorcycles as well as practicing safe riding habits: he successfully lobbied for a "Motorcycle Safety Exhibit/Booth" at JSC's second Safety & Total Health Day.

He will be missed, but not forgotten.

JSC Employee

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 22, 2007 10:11 PM.

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