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Background check missed suspected shooter's prison stint

Police say Nathaniel Brown opened fire on his co-workers at a university maintenance building.
Police say Nathaniel Brown opened fire on his co-workers at a university maintenance building.
  • Background check performed in September 2009 turned up no criminal record
  • Ohio newspaper says shooting suspect spent five years in prison between 1979 and 1984
  • School president said hiring procedures will be evaluated in wake of the shooting

(CNN) -- A background check conducted in 2009 on an Ohio State University employee suspected of opening fire Tuesday on his co-workers turned up no criminal record, even though he apparently served five years in prison.

The background check, released by the university Wednesday, was performed by third-party vendor OPENonline in September 2009 after shooting suspect Nathaniel Brown applied for a job as a janitor in the school's Facilities Operations & Development Department.

Under the criminal records section, the check shows "No records found" nationally or locally. A check by CNN on Wednesday by a different vendor also revealed no criminal past. However, according to The Columbus-Dispatch, records show Brown spent five years in prison between 1979 and 1984 for receiving stolen property.

Police say Brown, 50, was apparently angry over a poor performance evaluation when he entered a university maintenance building early Tuesday and opened fire, killing a manager before turning the gun on himself and ending his own life. Another employee, Henry Butler, was wounded in the shooting. His injuries weren't life-threatening, and he has since been released from the hospital.

Ohio State President Gordon Gee expressed condolences Wednesday to the family of victim Larry Wallington, calling his death "a significant loss."

"We can't replace him, but we certainly can learn from what has happened here," Gee said at a news conference.

Video: Two dead in Ohio St. shooting

Gee said the school will evaluate hiring procedures in wake of the shooting, saying there are lessons to be learned.

"We hire lots of people," he said. "We do check everyone, and we go through a very substantial effort to make certain that those who come here are worthy of this institution and the institution is worthy of them.

"Our intent is to take a look at that process because when something like this happens, as hard as you work, and as clear as you think you're processes are, we can learn and we will."

Background check guidelines posted on the university Web site show checks are required only for certain positions -- typically high-level administration jobs -- and that job applicants are required to disclose any criminal convictions.