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 M1911 (.45 ACP) semi-automatic pistols
Ruger (.22-caliber) semi-automatic pistol[1]
Deaths 15 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
6
Motive Unknown

The Edmond post office shooting occurred in Edmond, Oklahoma on August 20, 1986. During a deadly rampage that lasted less than fifteen minutes, postal worker Patrick Sherrill pursued and shot twenty co-workers, killing fourteen of them, before committing suicide. Sherrill's attack inspired the American phrase "going postal".[2]

Shooting[edit]

Shortly after 7:00 a.m., Sherrill killed Richard Esser, Jr., one of two supervisors who had verbally disciplined him the previous day. Sherrill then sought out Bill Bland, another supervisor who had reprimanded him. (Fortunately for Bland, he overslept that morning and arrived an hour late to work, by which time the shootings were already over.) Not finding Bland, Sherrill then killed Paul Michael "Mike" Rockne (grandson of famous University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne).

100 workers occupied the small facility at the time of the attack. Fourteen people died at the scene, and six others suffered wounds requiring hospitalization. The day's violence ended when Sherrill shot himself in the forehead.[1]

Possible motives[edit]

Sherrill's job title was relief carrier, meaning he was often required to work alternate routes on different days, a position dictated by his rank on the seniority list. His lack of a permanently assigned route meant that he 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 supervisors Esser and Bland reprimanded Sherrill for his behavior. Anger over this reprimand, coupled with anxiety that he was likely to be fired, could have been possible motives behind the attack the following morning.[3]

Victims[edit]

Memorial to the 1986 post office incident in Edmond, Oklahoma

Fourteen people were killed in the shooting, while six others were injured. The victims are:[1]

Memorial[edit]

The Yellow Ribbon, the memorial to commemorate the victims of the shooting, was dedicated on May 29, 1989, currently located outside the post office, where the shooting occurred. The memorial contains the bronze statue of a man and a woman standing atop the fountain's center base and holding the ribbon of the bow attached to the base. To represent the victims killed in the shooting, the fountain also contains fourteen water jets and the plaque on the front of the base listing their names.[4] The memorial was built by the Edmond community and the United States Postal Services;[5] the statue, by sculptor Richard Muno (1939–2015).[5][6] People have gathered at the memorial to commemorate the victims, especially on the 25th (2011)[7] and 30th (2016)[8] anniversaries.

The memorial was surveyed in May 1996 as "well maintained," categorized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.[4] Over the years, the memorial slowly deteriorated with apparent "cracks in the concrete."[9][10] Throughout early 2010s, operations of the fountain were halted for, according to USPS, "a damaged water supply line."[9] As of now, the fountain still operates.[8][10]

Perpetrator[edit]

Patrick Henry Sherrill (November 13, 1941 – August 20, 1986) was born in Watonga, Oklahoma and had served in the United States Marine Corps.[11] 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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Justus, Dale (8 August 2011). Fifteen Minutes of Terror: Massacre at the Edmond Oklahoma Post Office. iUniverse, Incorporated. p. 34. ISBN 978-1462041985. 
  2. ^ Staff (September 4, 1994). "Shootings Seal Post Office Rep". Chicago Sun Times  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Staff (May 1, 2005). "On August 20, 1986, a part-time letter carrier named Patrick H. Sherrill, facing possible dismissal after a clear troubled work history.(RESOURCES AND REFERENCES)(Brief Article)". The Journal of Employee Assistance  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "The Yellow Ribbon, (sculpture)". Art Inventories Catalog. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved November 24, 2016.  IAS OK000160.
  5. ^ a b Everett, Dianna (2009). "Edmond Post Office Massacre". The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  6. ^ Funeral of Richard Carl Muno (July 2, 1939 – July 28, 2015). Matthews Funeral Home and Cremation Service. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  7. ^ "Saturday Marks 25th Anniversary Of Edmond Post Office Massacre". News9.com. August 20, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Hermes, Grant (August 20, 2016). "Residents Gather For 30th Anniversary Of Edmond Post Office Massacre". News9.com. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Torp, Karl (August 13, 2012). "Memorial Fountain For Edmond Post Office Shooting Victims Runs Dry". News9.com. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Hermes, Grant (September 21, 2016). "Going Postal: How Safe Are We At Work?". News9.com. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Hanley, Robert (October 11, 1991). "4 Slain in 2 New Jersey Attacks And Former Postal Clerk Is Held". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ "A former postal worker commits mass murder.". The History Channel website. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  14. ^ Levin, Doron P. (November 15, 1991). "Ex-Postal Worker Kills 3 and Wounds 6 in Michigan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  15. ^ Gregory K. Moffatt, Blind-Sided: Homicide Where It Is Least Expected, at 37 (2000).
  16. ^ "DEATH IN THE POST OFFICE: THE OVERVIEW; Former Montclair Postal Worker Charged With Killings in Robbery". New York Times. March 23, 1995. 
  17. ^ 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]