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Official at housing regulator threatens former boss, faces charges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An official at the agency that regulates mortgage fund distributors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allegedly threatened to kill its former acting head last week and is now facing felony charges, according to police and court documents.

Richard Hornsby, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's chief operating officer, was angered by an issue regarding job performance ratings and made violent remarks on April 29 to another employee, in which he threatened former acting director Edward DeMarco, a source familiar with the incident told Reuters.

Hornsby said he would "blow the brains (of DeMarco) and then off himself," a Metropolitan Police Department report said.

After learning of the threat, DeMarco was escorted from the agency headquarters to a secure location, according to the police report.

DeMarco, who left the agency as previously planned on April 30, declined to comment on the matter. A spokesman for the agency said he could not comment on a personnel matter.

Hornsby was arrested and appeared before D.C. Superior Court on April 30, and was released on bond with a restraining order to keep him from approaching DeMarco, according to court documents. He faces felony charges.

The incident and charges were first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

Hornsby started at the agency in 2011 after working 26 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. DeMarco served as the agency's acting head from August 2009 until this January, when he agreed to stay on until May to help the new director, Mel Watt, in the transition.

(Reporting By Julia Edwards and Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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