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) 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 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]


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 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

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]


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]


  • 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
Born November 13, 1941
Watonga, Oklahoma, United States
Died August 20, 1986(1986-08-20) (aged 44)
Edmond, Oklahoma, United States
Cause of death Suicide
Occupation Postal worker
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.[4] He was considered an expert marksman and was a member of a National Guard pistol team.[1]

Subsequent postal shooting incidents

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

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Justus, Dale (8 August 2011). Fifteen Minutes of Terror: Massacre at the Edmond Oklahoma Post Office. iUniverse, Incorporated. p. 34. ISBN 978-1462041985.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Staff (September 4, 1994). "Shootings Seal Post Office Rep". Chicago Sun Times  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 22 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Hanley, Robert (October 11, 1991). "4 Slain in 2 New Jersey Attacks And Former Postal Clerk Is Held". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "A former postal worker commits mass murder". The History Channel website. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Levin, Doron P. (November 15, 1991). "Ex-Postal Worker Kills 3 and Wounds 6 in Michigan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Gregory K. Moffatt, Blind-Sided: Homicide Where It Is Least Expected, at 37 (2000).
  9. "DEATH IN THE POST OFFICE: THE OVERVIEW; Former Montclair Postal Worker Charged With Killings in Robbery". New York Times. March 23, 1995.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links