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Fired Postal Worker Arrested After Denver Mail Center Siege Is Held on $1 Million Bond

December 25, 1997

DENVER (AP) _ A fired postal employee who held seven people hostage at a regional mail center was a mild-mannered man who snapped after 18 months of unemployment, friends said.

David Lee Jackson, 42, made a brief appearance in court Christmas Day and was held on a $1 million bond on investigation of kidnapping, felony menacing and burglary.

Armed with a shotgun and dressed in camouflage and body armor, Jackson walked into a huge mailing facility in Denver on Christmas Eve day and held his hostages for nearly 10 hours, police said.

Negotiators said Jackson got tired and finally asked, ``How do I get out of this mess?″

Police believe Jackson was seeking revenge over his firing for threatening a supervisor. Hundreds of workers were herded out of the facility during the standoff. No one was injured.

Robert Thompson, whose mother dated Jackson about 13 years ago, said Jackson never showed signs of violence and was kind and loving.

``He might have snapped or something, but this wasn’t like D.J.,″ Thompson said. ``Maybe things in his life were falling apart and his back was against the wall.

``Christmastime probably had a lot to do with it,″ he said. ``People feel hopelessness in life. And even if it’s your fault, you feel like lashing out at people.″

Hostage Paula Peevy’s husband, Johnny, recalled meeting Jackson several years ago and remembers him as congenial, ``a pretty low-key individual, and he and my wife got along fine.″

Some of Jackson’s friends blamed his actions on the way he was treated by the Postal Service. Some felt he need not have been fired after 14 years of service and that he was being treated unfairly by the appeal process.

Postal service officials would not comment on Jackson’s employment record.

``He’s a good man,″ said Ted Hahn, a former co-worker. ``But the post office kept screwing with him.″

Another former co-worker, Bill Schmeiser, saw a different side.

``Last time I saw him, he stated to me, `If I ever step inside this building again you better step aside, because I’m going to take care of business and you know I got the weapons to do it,‴ Schmeiser said.

The lawyer who represented Jackson last year in his employment case was bewildered by the siege.

``We weren’t happy with the results. But he wasn’t agitated about it,″ lawyer John Evangelisti said.

For the families of the five men and two women held hostage, their freedom was the gift they were praying for.

``It’s the best I could ever ask for,″ Ken Martinez said after he was reunited with his wife, Jacqueline Tenorio.