Some jobs are stressful enough to send a person over the edge - or "go postal," if you will. But have you ever wondered where that phrase comes from? This slang term refers to an uncontrollable anger which can lead to violence, particularly in a workplace environment. And it came to be in 1986, when an Oklahoma mail caller named Pat Sherrill walked into the post office and gunned down 20 people before taking his life.
There are a surprising amount of serial killers who worked for the postal service. These criminals who worked for the post office carried a lot more than just mail - they carried the desire to kill. From the Son of Sam to the Bra Killer, these famous post office workers sometimes used their position as federal employees to kill unsuspecting people. And while some are more famous than others, these murderous acts are seriously shocking.
Serial killer David Berkowitz terrorized the city of New York in 1976 and 1977. A shy loner, he was employed by the U.S. Postal Service after an honorable discharge from the military in 1974. In the summer of 1976, the Son of Sam killed five women and one man, and wounded seven others before his capture. He is currently serving six life sentences in prison.
It was during the time Berkowitz was employed by the Postal Service he was engaging on his vicious killing spree. In fact, Berkowitz said in 1999, had he not become a serial killer, he would have loved to work for the post office into his retirement. He told the New York Times he could have seen himself "married with a wife and kids in the suburbs, making a living, working in the post office."see more on David Berkowitz
Patrick Sherrill Inspired The Term "Going Postal"
In 1986, after being reprimanded by his supervisors for misdirected mail and tardiness for the umpteenth time, petulant postman Patrick “Crazy Pat” Sherrill finally had enough. The day after his scolding, he returned to the Edmond, OK, post office wearing his blue mailman’s uniform and toting three pistols and ammo in his mailbag. Without a word, he began shooting. He killed 14 people and wounded six before taking his own life. The Sherrill murders inspired usage of the term “going postal.”
After the shooting, neighbors told police he was a weird guy who was not well liked. He was a quiet loner who served in the U.S. Marines and hated children.
Mark Hilbun Became Obsessed With His Postal Service Coworker
In 1993, disgruntled former poster worker Mark Hilbun - who was also infatuated with a fellow employee - stabbed his mother and her dog before opening fire on the Dana Point, CA, post office where he was once employed. There, he murdered a letter carrier and injured a postal clerk.
The whole ordeal started in 1992. Hilbun was hired at the Dana Point post office and became infatuated with a woman named Kim Springer. She filed multiple complaints against him. The final straw came when Hilbun showed up to work blaring a radio and wearing underwear on the outside of his pants, after which he was promptly fired. But that didn't stop him from harassing her. She obtained a restraining order, agitating him more. And when he filed an appeal of his termination and lost, he got progressively more angry.
A month later he went on his rampage. He tried unsuccessfully to kidnap Springer, who hid under her mail case. He went on a three-day crime spree, shooting at random people and avoiding police, before he was apprehended 30 miles north in Huntington Beach, CA, at a bar.
Jennifer San Marco Went On A Rampage Against Her Former Coworkers
Jennifer San Marco was known as the "crazy lady" of her Goleta, CA, mail-handling facility. She was paranoid, racist, and all around kind of weird, but no one suspected what she would eventually do. In 2003, the California postal worker had a mental breakdown at work. After hiding from police under a mail-sorting machine, officers dragged her out on a mail cart and to a psychiatric facility.
San Marco suffered from paranoid delusions that her co-workers were out to get her. She purchased a gun in New Mexico, and took out her neighbor, Beverly Graham, 54, before driving to the mail sorting facility where she once worked and opening fire. Out of the 80 employees working that night, six people died before San Marco turned the gun on herself.