Mail carrier shot dead in Pennsylvania, authorities say suspect thought victim was poisoning him

Authorities said the suspect told investigators that he was aware of where the mail carrier worked and said he located his mail route and "went to put some bullets in him."


A postal worker was shot and killed Thursday morning in Pennsylvania. Authorities said the man charged with his murder said he believed the postal worker was poisoning him and his family.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh identified the victim, a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, as 58-year-old Louis Vignone.

Authorities said Eric M. Kortz, 53, is charged with Vignone's murder. Kortz appeared for his arraignment before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Eddy at 5 p.m. The U.S. Attorney's Office said it will ask that Kortz be held without bond.

The shooting in Collier Township was reported shortly before 10:15 a.m., Allegheny County police said.

Authorities said that during an interview with investigators, Kortz said he shot Vignone because he believed that Vignone and Vignone's family had poisoned him and his family with cyanide when they were previously neighbors.

Authorities said Kortz told investigators that he was aware of where Vignone worked and said he located Vignone on his mail route and "went to put some bullets in him."

Authorities said Kortz told investigators that he then dropped the firearm at the scene, got into his van and drove to the Carnegie Borough Police Department to turn himself in.

Investigators found a firearm and seven spent shell casings in a yard near the USPS vehicle, authorities said.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Allegheny County Police Department and the Collier Township Police Department.

Residents close by reported hearing gunshots and seeing a white van leaving the area. A white van was later seen parked outside the Carnegie police station, surrounded by yellow police tape, after the suspect turned himself in.

Debbie Bock says she and a contractor working on her house, heard the gunshots and found Vignone on the ground and tried to help, "he reached for him to see if there was a pulse and see if there was anything could do but it was clear that he was deceased."

Residents describe Vignone as friendly and a very familiar face in the neighborhood after delivering mail there for at least 15 years.