Tyson Barnette vigil held in Cheverly
Updated: November 25, 2013 - 06:08 pm
CHEVERLY, Md. (WJLA) - Two days after a United States Postal Service worker was shot and killed on his route, authorities are still looking for who was involved in the slaying.
A vigil for 26-year-old Tyson Barnette was held in Cheverly on Sunday night, where friends and family gathered to remember a hard-working man.
"Mr. Barnette was a wonderful person," Stanley Johnson, who was once Barnette's manager, said. "(He's) the kind of person that would do anything for you."
Barnette was shot and killed at about 7:15 p.m. Saturday while on duty in the 1600 block of Reed Street in Landover. Prince George's County Police officials are still trying to identify suspects and establish a motive.
Fellow letter carriers are saying there is no reason Barnette or any carrier should have been working in the dark – especially on a street with so few lights and mailboxes, which requires carriers to do the job on foot.
Union representatives are saying stations are understaffed and starting times are too late, forcing carriers to cover too much ground too late in the day.
Letter carrier William Moore works the same Cheverly route 26-year-old postal worker Tyson Barnette was on when he was murdered.
However, on Monday, Moore said he isn’t scared.
“People are real nice to postmen,” he said.
But even though Moore isn’t nervous, he is still being followed by several postal police officers for protection. And area residents who live in this generally quiet neighborhood say the thought of a killer on the loose is terrifying.
"To kill the mailman doesn't make any sense," said Tashea Helms.
Tyson Barnette was covering a vacant postal route on Saturday night at about 7:20 p.m., well after dark, when area residents up and down Reed Street heard gunfire.
Barnette was shot multiple times by both a shotgun and a handgun before he died on the scene. Now, his co-workers and union officials are speaking out in anger and blaming cutbacks, which have fewer carriers working longer routes into the night.
"We've warned them. When you have 80-percent of the carriers in the dark every night, we warned them a carrier would be seriously injured or worse," said Kenneth Lerch with the National Association of Letter Carriers.
But the fact remains that the reason for the murder is still a mystery. Police are passing out flyers and postal inspectors are searching nearby woods and even storm drains for clues. Police cannot recall such violence directed at a letter carrier – and neither can William Moore.
"I've only been doing this six months, but yeah, people have been really nice -- could have been lots of different things," he said.