March 22, 2013 11:05:16 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
The United States Postal Service is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the shooting of a rural mail carrier Thursday afternoon.
While a name has not officially been released, sources close to the investigation have identified the victim as Doug Aldridge, a veteran of the U.S. Postal Service.
Initial reports said that around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, a black male approached Aldridge and robbed him as he was putting mail in the mailboxes at Providence Place, a section of low-income homes located off William Roberts Road in New Hope.
During the course of the robbery, Aldridge was shot by the gunman, who had concealed his identity by tying a bandana around his face. According to scanner traffic, the mailman was shot once under the left armpit. He was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle via ambulance. As of Friday morning, Aldridge was in the critical care unit.
Numerous law enforcement officials responded to the scene of the shooting and began searching for the gunman. He was described as a black male in his 20s, approximately six feet tall and wearing a gray hoodie with a bandanna over his face. He was armed with an unknown caliber handgun.
Around 3 p.m. Thursday, three suspects were taken into custody for questioning but were later released.
Because Aldridge is a federal employee, the postal service has joined in the investigation.
Postal Inspector Susan Link held a press conference at the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department Thursday evening to address the media. Link said she and several other postal inspectors will be conducting a joint investigation with the sheriff's office.
"Our people are our greatest asset," Link said.
Chief Deputy Marc Miley said deputies are increasing patrols in the area.
Link noted that postal workers rarely carry cash and added that shooting a postal worker carries additional federal charges.
Anyone with information about the shooting or the location of the suspect is asked to call the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department at 662-328-6788 or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-811-876-2455 and select option 2. All information will be kept confidential.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah