U.S. Postal inspectors and D.C. police officers are investigating a brazen attack on a postal carrier as he went about his job in broad daylight Feb. 25 along a route where he has worked for years in Northeast Washington.
It was about 4 p.m. and the carrier, whose name was not released because he is a victim, was delivering the mail in the 100 block of Webster Street NE when he was approached by two men wearing ski masks and brandishing guns, according to a U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) news release.
The carrier was forced into a vehicle, tied up, beaten and robbed. After he was able to summon help, he was taken to an area hospital, where he was treated and released that night. According to news reports, he is also a preacher.
The USPIS took jurisdiction over the investigation. Inspectors and D.C. police officers combed the neighborhood using canine units looking for clues as to the identity of the culprits. The attack took place in a residential area.
The incident marked the second time a postal carrier was attacked in the Washington area in recent months. On Nov. 23, postal carrier Tyson Barnette, 26, of Upper Marlboro, was fatally shot as he delivered mail about 7 p.m. on his route in the 1600 block of Reed Street in Cheverly.
Barnette, who had been a postal carrier for six years, died at the scene. The person or persons responsible for his death have not been arrested.
In another recent attack on a USPS employee, two days before Christmas, a postal worker in Boston was forced to take off his uniform, “pistol whipped” and shot in the arm in his mail truck, according to a story in the Dorchester Reporter. The mailman was able to provide police with a description of the suspect and to describe the attack.
Postal Inspector Frank J. Schissler told Fox 5 News Feb. 27 that attacks on postal carriers are rare in the D.C. area and slayings also are unusual. He said only four postal carriers have been murdered nationally in the last four years—two in 2010 and two in 2013.
The suspects in the Webster Street NE attack are described as two Black men, 20-30 years old, with medium builds and weighing 165-175 pounds. They fled the scene in a tan late 1980s to early 1990s conversion van, the news release said.
Attacks on postal workers are federal offenses. Committing an armed robbery of a postal worker is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, according to the USPIS website.
The U.S. Postal Service has offered a $50,000 award for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits responsible for the Feb. 25 assault and robbery. There is a $100,000 reward in the killing of Barnette. The USPS offer rewards of up to $50,000 for assaults on postal employees and up to $100,000 for murder and manslaughter. It also offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction in cases of mail theft and post office burglary, the website said.
Anyone with information about the Webster Street attack or Barnette’s slaying is asked to call the USPIS at 877-876-2455 and press 2.