“If we had hesitated 30 seconds or a minute, I wouldn’t be here," said retired postal worker Jerry Reed. He was talking about that day 30 years ago when the eyes of the nation were transfixed and horrified at what was happening at the Edmond Post office.
Patrick Sherrill, a part-time mail deliverer, walked into the post office on Broadway in downtown Edmond with 3 handguns early in the morning of August 20th 1986. When he was finished firing, 14 Edmond postal workers lay dead, six wounded. Then Sherrill turned the gun on himself.
Sherrill would become infamous as the first “disgruntled employee” to wreak deadly havoc in a place of business.
He had been reprimanded the day before by a postal supervisor.
The Edmond post office shooting was when the term “going postal” became part of the national lexicon.
Jerry Reed remembers hearing a pop and thought it was somebody dropping a case of mail on the floor, “But then we realized it wasn’t, it was gunfire."
Reed continued, “Me and another employee hid behind a desk as the gunfire continued then I said we gotta get outta here. We ran for our lives down the aisle and to the outside door. Just as we got there, I glanced back and Pat Sherrill was right there. Getting ready to come down that aisle.”
Jerry and his friend escaped. But the emotion of what happened to his co-workers would haunt him for years.
Retired postal worker Herb Rettke was not at the post office that morning but just happened to be on the phone with a supervisor who was inside the building when Sherrill suddenly came in and opened fire. He heard several pops.
“A clamor, the phone dropped and disconnected,” said Rettke.
Herb helped organize the 30 year remembrance of the shooting by bringing survivors, family members and friends back together at the site of the shooting to mark the occasion and to help the healing 30 years later.
The ceremony acted as a tribute to those who lost their lives that terrible morning three decades ago.
“We remember everything about all of them because we saw them every day,” says Rettke. “For 30 years we’ve never forgot them.”