Edmond post office shooting

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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
Date August 20, 1986
Location(s) Edmond, Oklahoma
Target(s) United States Postal Service employees
Killed 14
Injured 6

Patrick Henry Sherrill (November 13, 1941 – August 20, 1986) was a United States Postal Service employee who shot twenty co-workers in Edmond, Oklahoma, killing fourteen of them, before committing suicide.

On August 20, 1986 Sherrill attained national infamy, becoming the United States' third worst single-gunman spree killer. To date, his attack remains the deadliest incident of workplace violence in American history; Sherrill's explosive reaction to working conditions has been credited with inspiring the American phrase "going postal".

The attack[edit]

Shortly after 7:00 a.m., Sherrill began his deadly rampage by shooting Richard Esser Jr., one of two supervisors who had verbally disciplined him the previous day. 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.)

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.

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 Aug. 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.



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)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]