Patrick Henry Sherrill was born on 13 November 1941 and 44 years later committed the worst massacre in postal history. Sherrill worked for the United States Postal Service but he was a terrible postman and on the verge of being sacked.
One former colleague said, “He couldn’t even find the WalMart and that’s the biggest store in town.” He was a social misfit with no friends at work or outside work — he lived alone in a house that didn’t even have an extra chair for a visitor.
He was nicknamed “Fat Pat” or “Crazy Pat” by the local children, the latter possibly because he had a habit of wandering the neighbourhood and staring in windows at people. He was also sensitive about his baldness. He had spent two years in the US Marines, leaving the service in 1966, and often boasted of his tour of duty in Vietnam although the records showed that he never left mainland America. Despite this he wore army fatigues every day.
At 7.05am on 20 August 1986 he arrived at work in his postman’s uniform and in his mailbag were a .22 and two .45 calibre pistols. Silently Sherrill stalked through his workplace, shooting colleagues as he went. One woman screamed, “Get out of here, you crazy son of a bitch” so Sherrill shot her three times. Bill Bland, the supervisor who was going to sack Sherrill, was late in that day and so survived the massacre. The co-supervisor Rick Esser, 38, was the first to die. The one colleague that Sherrill’ liked had been advised by him to take a day off so she, too, survived.
US Post Office, 200 North Broadway, Edmond, Oklahoma, USA
7.05am Wednesday 20 August 1986
In just 15 minutes and using 50 bullets Sherrill murdered 14 and wounded six more employees before committing suicide with a shot to the head.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The expression “going postal” is derived from the Sherrill case.