Edmond post office shooting

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Edmond post office shooting
Location Edmond, Oklahoma, United States
Date August 20, 1986 (1986-08-20)
~7:00 a.m. (UTC-08)
Attack type
Mass shooting, murder-suicide
Weapons Two Remington-manufactured M1911 (.45 ACP) semiautomatic pistols
Ruger (.22-caliber) semiautomatic pistol[1]
Deaths 15 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrators Patrick Sherrill
Motive Unknown

The Edmond post office shooting was a mass shooting that took place in Edmond, Oklahoma on August 20, 1986. Postal worker Patrick Sherrill shot twenty co-workers, killing fourteen of them, before committing suicide.

This incident attained national infamy, becoming the United States' third worst single-gunman spree killing at the time. To date, this attack remains the deadliest incident of civilian workplace violence in American history. The incident was the first of several high profile shootings in post offices across the country that took place in subsequent years. Sherrill's explosive reaction to working conditions has been credited with inspiring the American phrase "going postal".[2]


Shortly after 7:00 a.m., Sherrill entered his workplace at 200 N Broadway and began his deadly rampage by shooting Richard Esser Jr., one of two supervisors who had verbally disciplined him the previous day.[3] Bill Bland was the other supervisor; fortunately for Bland he had overslept and was an hour late to work, by which time the shootings were already over. (Notably, Sherrill's second victim was Paul Michael "Mike" Rockne, grandson of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne.)[4]

Eighty to one hundred workers were in the small facility at the time of the attack. Sherrill sealed off exits and pursued his victims in a massacre that lasted approximately fifteen minutes. Fourteen people died at the scene, and six others were wounded and taken to nearby hospitals. The day's dramatic end came when Sherrill shot himself in the forehead.[1]

Possible motives[edit]

Sherrill was a relief carrier, meaning he was often required to work alternate routes on different days and possibly did not rank the same job stability of other USPS workers. Opinions vary concerning his job performance. Some reports portray him as an erratic, irritable worker; others claim he performed well and was being picked on by management. In any case, on the afternoon of August 19, 1986, Sherrill was reprimanded by supervisors Esser and Bland. Anger over this reprimand, coupled with anxiety that he was going to be fired, could be possible motives behind the attack the following morning.[5]


In addition to investigation by local law enforcement and the medical examiner's office, the incident was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The final report issued by the service included among other items interviews of the employees and Sherril's work records. It included fifty-nine Exhibit sections and a total of 7,000 pages. Copies were made available to each postal employee upon request.[1]


Memorial to the 1986 post office incident in Edmond, Oklahoma.


  • Patricia Ann Chambers, 41, part-time clerk
  • Judy Stephens Denney, 41, part-time clerk
  • Richard C. Esser Jr., 38, supervisor
  • Patricia A. Gabbard, 47, clerk
  • Jonna Gragert Hamilton, 30, clerk
  • Patty Jean Husband, 48, supervisor
  • Betty Ann Jarred, 34, clerk
  • William F. Miller, 30, rural carrier
  • Kenneth W. Morey, 49, rural carrier
  • Leroy Orrin Phillips, 42, rural carrier
  • Jerry Ralph Pyle, 51, rural carrier
  • Paul Michael Rockne, 33, letter carrier
  • Thomas Wade Shader Jr., 31, part-time clerk
  • Patti Lou Welch, 27, clerk



  • William Nimmo (injury unknown)
  • Gene Bray (shot in back, bullet pierced one kidney and lodged in stomach)
  • Michael Bigler (shot in shoulder from behind)
  • Steve Vick (injury unknown)
  • Judy Walker (shot in chest)
  • Joyce Ingram (bullet entered chest and exited armpit, shattering bone in right arm)



Patrick Sherrill
Patrick Sherrill.jpg
Born November 13, 1941
Watonga, Oklahoma, United States
Died August 20, 1986(1986-08-20) (aged 44)
Edmond, Oklahoma, United States
Cause of death
Occupation Postal worker
Target(s) United States Postal Service employees

Patrick Henry Sherrill was born November 13, 1941 in Watonga, Oklahoma and had served in the Marines.[3] He was considered an expert marksman and was a member of a National Guard pistol team.[1]

Subsequent postal shooting incidents[edit]

The 1986 Edmond incident was the first of several highly publicized postal shootings.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Justus, Dale (8/10/2011). Fifteen Minutes of Terror: Massacre at the Edmond Oklahoma Post Office. iUniverse, Incorporated. p. 34. ISBN 978-1462041985.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Staff (September 4, 1994). "Shootings Seal Post Office Rep". Chicago Sun Times  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Morgan, Rhett (August 20, 2006). "Postal massacre remembered: It was 20 years ago today that 15 people were killed in Edmond.". Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK)  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Thomsen, Ian (November 26, 1987). "No Escaping For Knute Rockne III". Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Staff (May 1, 2005). "On August 20, 1986, a part-time letter carrier named Patrick H. Sherrill, facing possible dismissal after a troubled work history.(RESOURCES AND REFERENCES)(Brief Article)". The Journal of Employee Assistance  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Hanley, Robert (October 11, 1991). "4 Slain in 2 New Jersey Attacks And Former Postal Clerk Is Held". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "A former postal worker commits mass murder.". The History Channel website. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  8. ^ Levin, Doron P. (November 15, 1991). "Ex-Postal Worker Kills 3 and Wounds 6 in Michigan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  9. ^ Gregory K. Moffatt, Blind-Sided: Homicide Where It Is Least Expected, at 37 (2000).
  10. ^ "DEATH IN THE POST OFFICE: THE OVERVIEW; Former Montclair Postal Worker Charged With Killings in Robbery". New York Times. March 23, 1995. 
  11. ^ Holusha, John; Archibold, Randal C. (2006-02-01). "Ex-Employee Kills 6 Others and Herself at California Postal Plant". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 

External links[edit]