A 58-year-old Pittsburgh-area mail carrier who was looking forward to retirement has become the latest postal worker to be killed in the line of duty. Police and postal inspectors say Erik Kortz blocked Louis Vignone's mail truck with his van in a Collier Township neighborhood before shooting him multiple times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Kortz, 53, then drove to a police station and said he'd shot somebody, authorities say. The Department of Justice says that in an interview, Kortz claimed that he shot Vignone because he believed that Vignone and his family had poisoned Kortz and his family with cyanide when they were neighbors.
Authorities say Kortz told investigators that he was familiar with Vignone's mail route and went to find him Thursday morning. Kortz has been charged with federal crimes including the murder of a United States employee, which carries a potential death sentence. Friends and neighbors say Vignone was a devoted husband and father who "wouldn't hurt a fly," KDKA reports. Neighbor Ken Bock says he was "one of the most loved guys in the neighborhood." "He was just a laid-back guy who was ready to retire," Bock says. "He just told the neighbor across the street here he was thinking about retiring this spring. So it's a bad, bad situation. I can't believe it happened here." (Read more mail carrier stories.)