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Royal Oak Remembers Post Office Tragedy

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Royal Oak Post Office (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

Royal Oak Post Office (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Monday marks the 20th anniversary of a tragic event at a local post office.

It was November 14 1991 when the recently fired 31-year-old Thomas McIlvane walked into the Royal Oak Post Office and shot eight people, killing four before turning the gun on himself.

Some who were there that day still blame management for the attack. Clark French, who was struck by one of McIlvane’s bullets, said management harassed McIlvane.

“It wasn’t an effort to get more production, it was just a matter of trying to intimidate and put people in their place,” said French. “They had power and they wanted to wield it.”

WWJ Newsradio 950′s Mike Campbell reported was to be a public dedication of a memorial tree, but management opted instead for a private moment of silence.

“Some employees didn’t want to actually be on camera,” said Detroit Postal Communications Manager Ed Moore.

“So, what was decided by management here was to move the moment of silence inside so that everybody who wanted to take part in that could take part in that, and they could remember the incident and find their own individual comfort,” he said.

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Several postal workers who survived the 1991 attack said they can still remember it clear as day.

post office tree Royal Oak Remembers Post Office Tragedy
This memorial tree was planted last week.

“He just didn’t say nothing. He just came in … I heard ‘pop-pop’ and I knew something was going on because we knew something was gonna happen,” said one postal worker.

Lisa of Royal Oak said her husband at the post office when it happened, and he won’t forget it.

“He said I never heard anyone being shot before, but I knew when I heard that it was gunshots and people were being hit,” she said.  “He saw them pulling the people out. He saw the blood. He saw the whole thing.”

Workers said they knew they only thing they could do was get down and get themselves and as many people as they could out of the building safely — and that’s what they did.

- More on this story –

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