MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Two U.S. Postal Service workers were fatally shot Tuesday at a Memphis postal facility and a third employee identified as the shooter died from a self-inflicted gunfire, authorities said, the third Large-scale shootout in or near West Tennessee City in weeks.
United States Postal Inspector Susan Link said three postal workers were found dead after the shooting at the East Lamar Carrier Annex in a major Memphis neighborhood.
The alleged shooter is one of three deceased employees, said Lisa-Anne Culp, spokesperson for the FBI. The shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she added.
Authorities did not provide any reason for the shooting or the identity of the victims during a first press briefing late Tuesday afternoon.
The FBI also responded to the shooting, an FBI spokesperson said, in part because the office is a federal building, where the office has jurisdiction. The FBI also has the power to respond to shootings in places of public use.
The Postal Service is saddened by the events that took place today in Memphis, ”the agency said in an emailed statement at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday. “Our hearts go out to family members, friends and colleagues of those involved. The Postal Service will provide resources to all employees of the East Lamar Carrier Annex in the days and weeks to come. “
The agency did not respond to questions about the victims or suspects of the shooting.
The police department said the scene was no longer active and had been secured. A white Ford sedan was towed from the property’s parking lot at around 3:40 p.m., but it was not known who owned it.
The facility, called the East Lamar Carrier Annex, is used by employees and is not a post office where customers come for postal services, the local union president said by phone Tuesday afternoon.
“He was a humble soul”: family remembers long-time worker
While waiting outside the facility, Roxanne Rogers cried and spoke on the phone. She identified one of the deceased as her cousin, James Wilson.
Wilson was a longtime USPS employee, she told the Commercial Appeal, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
“He was a humble soul, one of the nicest supervisory managers you could wish for,” she said. “He didn’t treat anyone differently. He treated everyone the same. He had compassion for people. If you had a problem, he would fix it for you. He was a member of the post office family.
Rogers, who is also a postal worker but at a different location, said she was a “post office family”. Wilson worked for USPS for several years, following in his mother’s career footsteps.
He has just returned to this facility after filling a position at another location, she said. Wilson was married without children, she added.
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“He didn’t mind going the extra mile for his job or the workers there,” Rogers said. “He wasn’t just a manager, he was everyone’s friend.”
Melvin Richardson, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 96, did not provide specific details about the shooting. He said carriers leave from annexes in the morning and staff stay all day with tasks such as sorting mail.
In more than a dozen years with the Memphis union, Richardson said he didn’t remember a shootout like this.
“We are simply asking everyone to keep the victims and their families in prayer as they attempt to deal with this tragedy,” said Richardson.
It was the third high-profile shooting in or near this western Tennessee city in a matter of weeks.
The violence follows other shootings in the Memphis area in recent weeks. The franchise owner of a sushi counter inside a Kroger grocery store shot dead and injured 14 others before killing himself on September 23, investigators said. A week later, a teenage boy was seriously injured at a school in Memphis, and police arrested a second boy who was believed to be the shooter.
On October 18, 2010, two courier workers were shot and killed in a robbery at a post office in the rural town of Henning, western Tennessee. The post office was named in honor of employees killed last week.
Contribution: The Associated Press