MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two U.S. Postal Service workers were fatally shot Tuesday at a postal facility in Memphis and a third employee identified as the shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot, authorities said, the third high-profile shooting in or near the west Tennessee city in weeks.
U.S. Postal Inspector Susan Link said that three postal workers were found dead after the shooting at the East Lamar Carrier Annex in a prominent Memphis neighborhood.
The suspected shooter is one of the three employees who have died, said Lisa-Anne Culp, a spokesperson for the FBI. The shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she added.
Authorities did not provide a motive for the shooting or the victims’ identities at an initial news 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 bureau has jurisdiction. The FBI also has the authority to respond to shootings in places of public use.
The Postal Service is saddened at the events that took place today in Memphis,” the agency said in an emailed statement at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday. “Our thoughts are with the family members, friends and coworkers of the individuals involved. The Postal Service will be providing resources to all employees at the East Lamar Carrier Annex in the coming days and weeks.”
The agency did not respond to questions about any victims or suspects in the shooting.
The police department said the scene was no longer active and had been secured. A white Ford sedan was towed from the facility’s parking lot around 3:40 p.m., but it was not clear who it belonged to.
The facility, called the East Lamar Carrier Annex, is one used by employees and is not a post office retail location where customers come for mail services, said the local union president by phone Tuesday afternoon.
‘He was a humble soul’: Family remembers long-time worker
Waiting outside the facility, Roxanne Rogers cried and talked on the phone. She identified one of the people who died as her cousin, James Wilson.
Wilson was a longtime employee of the USPS, she told the Commercial Appeal, part of the USA TODAY Network.
“He was a humble soul, one of the nicest supervising managers you could ever wish there was,” she said. “He treated nobody different. He treated everybody the same. He had compassion for people. If you had a problem, he’d work it out for you. He was a post office family person.”
Rogers, who is also a postal worker but at a different location, said her’s is a “post office family.” Wilson worked for USPS for several years, following in the footsteps of his mother’s career.
He just came back to this facility after filling in at a different location, she said. Wilson was married with no children, she added.
“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 a friend to all.”
Melvin Richardson, president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 96, did not provide specific details about the shooting. He said carriers depart from annexes in the morning and staff remain throughout the day with tasks such as sorting mail.
In more than a dozen years with the Memphis union, Richardson said he does not remember a shooting like this taking place.
“We just ask that everybody keep the victims and their families in prayer as they try to deal with this tragedy,” Richardson said.
It was the third high-profile shooting in or near that west Tennessee city in 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 fatally shot one person and wounded 14 others before killing himself on Sept. 23, investigators said. A week later, a teenage boy was shot and critically wounded inside a Memphis school and police detained a second boy believed to be the shooter.
On Oct. 18, 2010, two mail workers were fatally shot during a robbery at a post office in the rural West Tennessee town of Henning. The post office was named in honor of the slain employees last week.
Contributing: The Associated Press