Authorities said a postal employee threatened with dismissal entered a post office with a postbag filled with rifles and ammunition and opened fire without a word, killing 14 of his colleagues and himself.
Six other postal workers were injured in the commotion.
“I just turned around and saw two of my carriers and a superintendent come down,” said letterhead Orson Cordes.
Someone shouted that a man had a gun ″ and everyone started running. Cordes said that some of them were trapped in some rooms. The gunman was only pointing and firing. When he fired the third shot at me, that was when I got out. ″
Prosecutors identified the gun as Pat Sherrill, 44, a part-time employee who was told Tuesday he would be fired if his job did not improve.
U.S. Postal Service spokesman Lou Eberhart in Washington said that Sherrill, a Marine veteran described by authorities as an expert scorer, had been advised about his work and had received several warning letters.
Richard Carleton, general manager of the postal services division of Oklahoma City, said at a press conference that Sherrill has a history of post office discipline problems.
Diane Mason, a co-worker, said Cheryl was advised on Tuesday by supervisors Rick Esser and Bill Bland. Isser was killed, but Bland got to work late and survived.
Carlton said Sherrill’s supervisor discussed doing his job with Sherrill the day before Rampage, adding that it couldn’t be more specific.
American Postal Workers Union agent Larry Faircelli said Sherrill tried to reach him on Tuesday, apparently seeking to transfer him.
Postal workers said they knew little about Sherrill and described him as a calm and reserved man. Assistant Attorney General Ray Elliott said he apparently had no criminal record.
“I didn’t hear his voice the whole time I worked here,” said the postal worker, Ms. Mason, who survived the attack. No one knows him
At a Wednesday night press conference, Police Lt. Mike Wooldridge said Sherrill was “a potential depression obsession.”
“This was a totally depressed individual,” said Woldridge. He was reprimanded. He was 44 years old and was looking for the possibility of being unemployed ″
Lt. Col. John Shotwell, a spokesman for the Marine Corps in Washington, said Sherrill had served in the Marine Corps for nearly three years, joining the Corps on January 15, 1964, and honorably discharged December 29, 1966.
Shotwell said that most of Cheryl’s active services were based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and his records showed no personal adornment, disciplinary action, and an honorable layoff.
Jane Pickett, a spokesman for Tinker Air Force Base, said Sherrill was a small arms trainer while he was a member of the 507th Tactical Combat Group until 1984, when he joined the Oklahoma Air National Guard.
Neighbors said Sherrill was living alone in a house in Oklahoma City that he shared with his mother until her death several years ago.
Delores Coleman, who lives in two houses far from Sherrill’s residence, said that when she moved 18 years ago, neighbors told her to watch out for “crazy pat”. She said she has rarely seen him outside and that he has mostly stayed with himself.
Director General of Post Preston R. Tisch ordered that the flag be hoisted on half of the employees at all post offices, and about 100 people attended the 25-minute noon prayer in this wealthy city of 34,000 people 15 miles north of Oklahoma City. Governor George Nigh ordered flags across the state to be lowered to half the staff.
It was the worst attack by a lone gunman since an attack on a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, California, on July 18, 1984, leaving 21 dead and 20 wounded.
Attorney General Bob Messi said the gunman had only one rifle in his hand when he entered the building at about 7 a.m. and opened fire without saying a word. Eberhart said he was wearing his uniform.
Police said the shooting started when post companies were sorting mail trays and preparing to leave on their daily routes. Most of the dead were found near their duty stations. One body was found in the parking lot behind the one-story brick building.
Authorities said there were usually around 90 workers in the building at that time of day. Police said there were no customers at the post office.
Vince Furlong said he heard a noise that sounded like a firecracker.
“I looked down my stairs and saw one of my close friends hit the ground and was bleeding from him,” said Furlong, a postal employee for eight years.
Jay Aghajan said he was driving when people started running, and one of them jumped in his car and said, “Go to the police station.”
″ Everyone was running out and were pulling one person out of the post office too. Aghajan said: I thought it was something like an explosion or a bomb.
Massy said that the police arrived at 7:30 a.m. A hostage negotiator tried to reach the gunman and called all the phone numbers the authorities knew they were going to call. Messi said only once someone answered, then hung up.
Lawmen began moving into the building at 8:30 in the morning, and heard one last shot on their way inside. They found three people safely in the storage room where they had taken refuge.
Woldridge said the gunman shot himself in the head one time.
Woldridge said officers found a bag with a large amount of ammunition, two .45 caliber automatic pistols and a .22 caliber pistol with Sherrill. Messi said the 22-caliber weapon did not appear to be used.
Messi said that bodies, empty bullets and bullets were strewn throughout the building, indicating that he was running through the entire area.
Six of the wounded were taken to hospitals, where three were listed in critical condition. A man was treated for shock at an Edmund hospital and a person was taken to hospital with chest pain.
Among the dead was Mike Roken, 33, the grandson of legendary football player Notre Dame and coach Knut Roken.
The deputy mayors escorted the families of the victims to Edmund City Hall where they were met by postal service officials and a minister.
″ I had never seen anything terrible in my life before. This is a good city. Just a good and good city. Lou Thomas, 22, said referring to three workers killed in a supermarket backroom last year, I thought that mess at IGA was the worst.
“I know I have some friends who died there and I really don’t want to know who died there,” said Mrs. Thomas, who lives near the post office.
“This community has suffered greatly in the past year,” said Lawrence Clayton, director of advisory services for the United Methodist Church.
In addition to the IGA killings and Wednesday’s eruption of shootings, part of Edmund was devastated last spring by a hurricane. No one was killed.
A group of churches have set up a disaster center at St Mary’s Episcopal Church to care for survivors. Chaplains and counselors were on a mission to give advice.