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Denver Postal Center Gunman David Lee Jackson Releases Hostages and Is Taken Into Custody

December 25, 1997

Denver Postal Center Gunman David Lee Jackson Releases Hostages and Is Taken Into Custody After 9 1/2-Hour Standoff With PoliceBy MARTHA BELLISLE

DENVER (AP) _ A fired postal employee who held seven people hostage at a regional mail center surrendered on Christmas Eve after a 9 1/2-hour standoff with police.

David Lee Jackson, 42, surrendered at about 5 p.m, authorities said. The hostages were released unharmed.

``He was tired and wanted to see a peaceful resolution,″ Sgt. Dennis Cribari said. ``He wanted to get out of the jam he was in.″

Jackson held the hostages in a corner office of the building that stretches the length of 14 football fields, police said.

About 50 police officers, including a SWAT team and bomb squad, were joined by 25 FBI agents and 25 postal inspectors as authorities cordoned off the area. Hundreds of workers were evacuated.

``As a hostage negotiator you become only concerned with resolving this as peaceably as possible,″ Cribari said. ``Especially at Christmas time, people who are out of jobs, there is a lot of emotional stress that’s taking place.″

Jackson allegedly got in shortly after 7 a.m. with a shotgun, possibly through loading docks. He was holding the hostages in a supervisor’s office. The boss he had threatened was not working at the time and postal inspectors wouldn’t say whose office it is.

Police negotiated with the gunman through the day and sent food into the office.

About 75 people continued to sort last-minute Christmas packages and letters in a different part of the building during the standoff. The 24-hour plant is one of the nation’s largest and busiest, handling most of the mail for Colorado and Wyoming.

Some 3,000 people work at the center, which includes a 24-hour post office.

In the past decade, shootings by postal employees have become all too common.

In August 1986, Patrick Henry Sherrill, a part-time letter carrier in Edmond, Okla., killed 14 colleagues and himself. He had faced the possibility of being fired.

In Milwaukee earlier this month, a postal worker turned down for promotion to a day job killed a co-worker he had feuded with, wounded the supervisor who had reprimanded him and injured another worker before he put the 9mm handgun in his mouth and killed himself.

``Something is wrong,″ said Paul Mendrick, president of the postal union in Denver. ``There’s just too many of these situations happening across the country to say this is a coincidence.″