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Fired Employee Frees Seven Hostages at Denver Postal Center After Nine-and-a-Half Hour Armed

December 25, 1997

Fired Employee Frees Seven Hostages at Denver Postal Center After Nine-and-a-Half Hour Armed Standoff With PoliceBy MARTHA BELLISLE

DENVER (AP) _ A former postal worker who took seven people hostage on Christmas Eve at a mail center freed the group unharmed when he grew tired and ``wanted to get out of the jam he was in,″ police said.

David Jackson, 42, faces charges of kidnapping, assault and felony menacing for holding six men and one woman hostage for almost 10 hours, police Sgt. Dennis Cribari said.

Jackson, armed with a shotgun, surrendered at about 5 p.m. Wednesday. No shots were fired.

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

The hostages were questioned by police and sent home.

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

Postal Service inspector John Freeman said Jackson, a 14-year employee, was fired about 18 months ago for threatening a supervisor.

A former co-worker, Margaret Woods, said morale in the busy mail processing center was low, and Jackson believed he was driven from his job.

``I’m surprised it hasn’t happened long before that,″ she said.

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.

About 75 supervisors remained in a different part of the building during the hostage situation. Police negotiated with the gunman through the day and sent food into the office. The hostages were not tied up and were treated well, police said.

Earlier this month in Milwaukee, a postal worker turned down for promotion to a day job killed a co-worker he had feuded with, wounded a supervisor who reprimanded him and injured another worker before he killing himself.

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