MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Workplace violence has once again struck Greater Memphis – taking lives and unnerving us all. But as disturbing as this latest shooting at an Orange Mound postal sorting facility was, it was also distressing to hear little or no pertinent information from spokespeople nearly four hours after the incident occurred.
I certainly understand the need not to disclose the names of those killed or other sensitive details while the investigation was still in its early stages. But the initial appearance before the news media Tuesday afternoon by Susan Link, a postal service inspector, and Lisa-Anne Culp, a spokeswoman for the Memphis FBI office, was notable for its utter lack of information. Link read a brief statement telling reporters three postal employees were dead. But when asked if the shooter was an employee, Link repeatedly insisted she could make no further statement. Culp then followed Link to the microphones and confirmed that the shooter was in fact a postal worker, and he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. That was it.
Again, this was a horrible incident for everyone involved. And we are saddened for family members who are grieving this senseless loss of life. But there are some things the public needs to know – even as an investigation is ongoing. And it should not be difficult to say if the shooter was alive or dead. This is not about catering to the media, it’s about providing basic information.