Edmond post office shooting
|Edmond post office shooting|
|Location||Edmond, Oklahoma, United States|
|Date||August 20, 1986
~7:00 a.m. (UTC-08)
|Mass shooting, murder-suicide|
|Weapons||Two Remington-manufactured M1911 (.45 ACP) semiautomatic pistols
Ruger (.22-caliber) semiautomatic pistol
|Deaths||15 (including the perpetrator)|
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".
Shortly after 7:00 a.m., Sherrill killed Richard Esser, Jr., one of two supervisors who had verbally disciplined him the previous day for showing up to work, seemingly, intoxicated on several occasions, for disruptive behavior with other employees, and attendance issues due to marital problems. Sherrill then sought out Bill Bland, another supervisor who had reprimanded him. (Fortunately for Bland, who has never had an issue of punctuality, he overslept that morning and arrived an hour late to work, by which time the shootings were already over.) Not finding Bland, Sherrill, who had many complaints about behavior from other employees, then killed Paul Michael "Mike" Rockne (grandson of famous Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne.)
80–100 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.
Sherrill's job title was relief carrier, meaning he was often required to work alternate routes on different days. 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, understood to have marital issues, punctuality issues, and a drinking problem; 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 and marital issues, could have been possible motives behind the attack the following morning.
Fourteen people were killed in the shooting, while six others were injured. The victims are:
- 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)
|Born||November 13, 1941
Watonga, Oklahoma, United States
|Died||August 20, 1986
Edmond, Oklahoma, United States
Cause of death
|Target(s)||United States Postal Service employees|
Patrick Henry Sherrill (November 13, 1941 – August 20, 1986) was born in Watonga, Oklahoma and had served in the United States Marine Corps. He was considered an expert marksman and was a member of a National Guard pistol team.
Subsequent postal shooting incidents
The 1986 Edmond incident was the first of several highly publicized postal shootings.
- 1991, Ridgewood, New Jersey
- 1991, Royal Oak, Michigan
- 1993, May 6, Dearborn, Michigan
- 1993, May 6, Dana Point, California
- 1995, Montclair, New Jersey
- 1997, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- 2006, Goleta, California
- Justus, Dale (8 August 2011). Fifteen Minutes of Terror: Massacre at the Edmond Oklahoma Post Office. iUniverse, Incorporated. p. 34. ISBN 978-1462041985.
- Staff (September 4, 1994). "Shootings Seal Post Office Rep". Chicago Sun Times – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- 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.
- Thomsen, Ian (November 26, 1987). "No Escaping For Knute Rockne III". Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- 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.
- Hanley, Robert (October 11, 1991). "4 Slain in 2 New Jersey Attacks And Former Postal Clerk Is Held". The New York Times.
- "A former postal worker commits mass murder.". The History Channel website. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- Levin, Doron P. (November 15, 1991). "Ex-Postal Worker Kills 3 and Wounds 6 in Michigan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
- Gregory K. Moffatt, Blind-Sided: Homicide Where It Is Least Expected, at 37 (2000).
- "DEATH IN THE POST OFFICE: THE OVERVIEW; Former Montclair Postal Worker Charged With Killings in Robbery". New York Times. March 23, 1995.
- 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.
- Going postal
- "Crazy Pat's" Revenge, Time Magazine (June 24, 2001)
- The loner: From shy football player to "Crazy Pat", The New York Times (August 22, 1986)
- Aug. 20, 1986: Just an ordinary day, EnidNews.com (August 20, 2006)
- 15 die in post office rage, The News-Journal (August 21, 1986)
- Former marine kills 14, self, Lodi News-Sentinel (August 21, 1986)