WOODLAWN, MD., OCT. 12 -- A recently fired mechanic returned to a Chevrolet dealership here today, shot a mechanic and two managers of the firm, fatally wounding two of them, then killed himself with a shot to the head, Baltimore County police said.

The gunman, Wilton Al Reed, 25, a Woodlawn resident, had been fired Wednesday from Fox Chevrolet after refusing to redo disputed repairs on a car, the management told police.

Reed's best friend, Fox Chevrolet mechanic Gary Washington, said in an interview that Reed had been upset in part because he could not immediately find a new job with comparable pay.

Washington said he had had an hour-long phone conversation with Reed, known as "Al," Thursday night. Reed had been angry about being ordered to redo about five hours of repairs on his own time, Washington said, and was upset that his girlfriend was not being more supportive.

"He was disturbed emotionally and feeling real down, real low," said Washington, who said he had originally helped Reed find the job at the dealership. "He sounded real depressed. He was a very sensitive, emotional person."

Reed walked into the service area of the dealership on Security Boulevard, just west of Social Security Administration headquarters, shortly before noon today, spoke briefly and casually with several employees and then, without warning, pulled out a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, according to police spokesman E. Jay Miller.

Reed moved to a service bay and shot veteran mechanic Robert Daughton in the head, killing him instantly.

Daughton, 38, a resident of Randallstown, had worked for Fox Chevrolet for 17 years and had two children, family members said.

Reed then shot service manager David Laird, 35, of Lansdowne, who had fired Reed, and fatally wounded general manager William Bishop, described as in his early forties and a resident of the Middletown area.

Reed then pointed the gun at a customer nearby, but the customer ducked behind a car, police said. Reed then shot himself in the head.

Police said Reed legally bought the gun in Annapolis in June 1989.

Bishop died at 8:45 p.m. at the Shock-Trauma Center at University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore, where Laird was reported in critical condition.

Owner Benno Herwitz closed Fox Chevrolet after the shooting and refused to speak to reporters. At one point he began shoving a television cameraman off the property.

Current and former employees said there had been considerable turnover at Fox in the last six months.

At least 10 workers had been fired or had quit since late winter, said one former maintenance employee who would not give his name.

One employee said that Daughton, the mechanic who was killed, had told the service manager that Reed had refused to redo some faulty repairs. Daughton had trained Reed, who was hired as an apprentice, to be an on-line mechanic, employees said.

Washington said Reed had gone job hunting at auto service stores Thursday but couldn't find anything that paid more than $7.50 an hour.

"He had been making $10.50, so that bothered him," Washington said.

"I told him, 'If you have to, go find two jobs and let her {Reed's girlfriend} know that it will be all right, even if it wasn't mechanics jobs.' "

Reed and his girlfriend, a Social Security Administration clerical worker whose name was not available, lived with their 4-year-old son in the Chadwick Manor town house development in Woodlawn, Washington said. Police said company records indicated that Reed lived in south Baltimore.

Washington said Reed had bought his gun "because I had one." Washington said that he had bought a handgun to protect his family and for target practice, and that Reed followed suit.

"We used to go to the gun range at Aberdeen to practice," Washington said.