Thursday, 3 September 2015

Patrick Sherrill - Spree Killer

Patrick Sherrill was one of those people that explodes in not just the American consciousness but also the world.  Yet he is one of the many that nobody has heard of.  Infamous incidents on both sides of the Atlantic; Hungerford, Dunblane, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Clock Tower in Austin, Texas, we all know about.  But a man running amok in a postal delivery office?  Actually, Sherrill has not been the only aggrieved employee to go into work with a small arsenal and open fire on anybody who got in their way.  Sherrill was a former marine, obtaining marksman status and becoming a firearms instructor.  He was 44, unmarried and had lived with his mother in Oklahoma city.  She died in 1978, with Sherrill opting to carry on living in the family home.  He did have some issues.  He was not one for forming friendships and became known as a loner.   He went through a series of jobs but was unable to adapt to working in civilian employment.  He ended up working for the US Postal Service as a relief delivery man.  This meant covering for any duties that fall open, due to holidays, sickness, etc.  He was a cover man and nothing more.  It was eating him up inside.

    August 19th 1986 was the day that the fuse was lit for an explosion.  Sherrill received a reprimand from two supervisors.  This tipped him over the edge.  But showing that he still had control, he spoke to a female colleague, who was friendly with him, and asked not to come into work the next day.  Most of the staff were unfriendly to him.  Why this was, seems to be unknown.  He duly arrived into work the following morning, in full uniform.  But he did not have work items in his delivery bag.  He had three handguns and considerable ammunition.  His first kill was one of the supervisors who chastised him.  He then moved about the office, firing at will.  Fourteen were killed and six were badly wounded.  A Police SWAT team tried to negotiate with him, but at 8.30am decided to forcibly enter the depot.  Sherrill was found with a self inflicted head wound.  Like other spree killers, once the mission was over, he finished himself off.  Years later, postal worker, Jennifer Sanmarco did the same.