On the morning of August 20, 1986, 20 Edmond postal workers went in to work, not knowing their lives would change forever.
Just after 7 a.m., 44-year-old Phillp H. Sherill entered the building. A part-time mailman, he had been given a poor performance review the day before and was angry. He walked in and began shooting. He started by shooting his supervisor and continued to track down and murder his coworkers. When it ended, 14 were dead, six were injured and Sherill had taken his own life.
On Saturday, a crowd gathered around the fountain erected to honor the memory of those victims. Thirty years have passed but the wound left on the community never seems to heal.
“Some people say sometimes time will heal all wounds. But I guarantee you there are people here today that still have holes in their hearts,” former Edmond Mayor Carl Rechman told the crowd. Rechman spoke for nearly 15 minutes in front of the crowd of just over 100 people. He was forced to stop several times because he was too choked-up to speak.
In the crowd were survivors with friends and family of the victims. Each was asked to stand by the picture of their loved one in front of their name on the memorial. For some the grief was too much to bear.
Like Carla Phillips, whose husband Lee Phillips was killed. She now lives in Kansas City, and drove around the block several times crying before taking her seat. She said she’s only been to the memorial for her husband one other time in the three decades since the shooting.
“It brings back... it brings back old memories,” Phillips said crying.
The shooting coined the phrase "going postal" and at the time it was the third largest mass shooting in American history. It filled a 7,000-page federal report and indelibly changed how Americans look at workplace violence for the better -- proving that even out of the darkest evils, there's always a sliver of good.