March 22, 1995 in Nation/World

Four Killed During Post Office Holdup Suspect Escapes After Opening Fire At Small New Jersey Branch

Associated Press
 

An afterhours holdup at a post office Tuesday left four people shot to death and a fifth critically wounded. Police searched the quiet suburban town door-to-door for suspects.

Two of the victims were employees and two were customers, as was the wounded man, Police Chief Thomas Russo said.

The victims were found after a postal worker entered the Upper Montclair post office just before 5 p.m. and saw a body on the floor. He left and called police, who arrived to find the carnage, and the attacker or attackers gone.

The post office is in the Watchung Plaza shopping district, and rush hour commuters from New York City arrived at the nearby New Jersey Transit train station to find police and panic.

Howard Finney told WCBS Radio that he got off a commuter train and saw police with weapons drawn near the post office.

He said he watched as police knocked down the post office door around 5:15 p.m. A few minutes later, he said, about 10 people left the post office or an adjacent doorway and were rushed down the street by authorities.

He said one wounded man was brought out on a stretcher about a half-hour later, carried to a nearby playground, then evacuated by helicopter.

A relative of the wounded man, David Grossman, said he might have stopped by for stamps or to pick up mail from a postal box.

Bill Murphy, 25, an employee at Watchung Booksellers a few stores down from the post office, said he heard what may have been three shots.

“I thought it was a car backfiring. Then someone came in and told us what happened,” he said.

A crowd quickly gathered on the street as word spread. Some townspeople, a few with their dogs on leashes, watched as police with metal detectors and dogs went door-todoor searching for leads.

Police set up a command post Tuesday night in the shopping center’s color lab.

The four-block square contains nearly 50 businesses, including several restaurants, a florist and a pharmacy.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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