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Postal shooting update: Shooter, victims identified

The puzzle of three people dead at the USPS East Lamar Carrier Annex became came a bit more in focus with the identification of those who died in the apparent double murder-suicide.

In a news release issued on Thursday (Oct. 13), U.S. Postal Inspectors identified the shooter as Johntra Haley, 28, who shot James Wilson, 47, and Demetria Dortch, 37, with a gun he bought in 2017.

According to the inspectors, Haley then turned the weapon on himself.

The shooting occurred just after 2 p.m., Tuesday. Wednesday morning, the facility located near the intersection of Park Ave. and Pendleton Street, was reopened and fully operational.

Wilson had been with the postal service since 2001. Dortch joined in 2015. Haley, who was hired as a letter carrier in July, had no negative reports or complaints filed against him. Haley’s mother, Tracey Haley of Memphis, said her son had complained that he felt “his bosses” were bullying him.

After the name of her son was released, Tracey Haley did confirm publicly that the shooter at the facility in Orange Mound facility was, indeed, her son. She said Haley called and told her he was being bullied at his workplace.

Haley worked directly under Dortch, a facility supervisor, and Wilson, a manager.

Tracey Haley told the Associated Press that she was sorry for the families of the victims and apologized for what her son had done.

Haley said her son was “a churchgoing person,” who would come home feeling stressed because “they were talking to him any kind of way.” She described him as a “faithful worker,” who reported to work every day and put in long hours.

Haley spoke to an AP reporter at the apartment complex where her son lived. Investigators searched the apartment for any clues pertinent to the double murder-suicide as his sister was taken aside for questioning.

Postal inspectors declined to comment on the statements by Tracey Haley.

The multi-agency investigation also involves the Memphis Police Department, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Shri Green, area vice-president for the National Association of Postal Supervisors, said postal employees are experiencing heightened stress from working six or seven, 12-hour workdays and that the added pressure of working in a COVID-19 pandemic “has not helped.”

Carrier annex facilities house the sorting operations of letters and packages. Retail services, such as stamp sales and post office mail boxes, are not offered. Letter carriers load up in the mornings for route deliveries of the mail. No consumers are served in the annexes.

U.S. Post Office officials said free counseling services are available to all employees.


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