March 23, 2013 9:10:52 PM
Sarah Fowler - [email protected]
A Michigan teenager is in custody after allegedly shooting a local United States Postal worker in the course of a robbery.
Arthur Lee "Slim" Whitfield, 17, of Kalamazoo, Mich., was taken into custody shortly after 2 p.m. Friday in a joint effort between the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
The takedown occurred at 677 Yorkville Road East, Apt. L4. Whitfield had been staying at the residence for an unknown period of time. Agents recovered a gun from the apartment, but the caliber of the weapon is not being released at this time.
Whitfield allegedly had two guns on his person when he robbed rural mail carrier Doug Aldridge and shot him. Sources close to the investigation said one of Whitfield's guns was fake.
The robbery took place around 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Aldridge was placing mail in the drop boxes at the front of Providence Place, a section of low-income homes in New Hope located on William Roberts Road, less than one mile from Whitfield's residence, when a man wearing a gray hoodie and a bandanna across his face approached him and demanded money.
Aldridge was shot at least once in the chest before the shooter ran off with his wallet. Aldridge was able to make it back to his truck, where he called 911. Within minutes, law enforcement officials from both the city and the county were on the scene.
Three suspects were initially detained but then released. Those same suspects were later brought in to the sheriff's department for questioning Thursday afternoon but were again released. Thursday evening, the US Postal Inspection Service offered $20,000 for any information regarding the shooting. Friday afternoon, a little more than 24 hours after the shooting, Whitfield was taken into custody. According to sources, he is the cousin of one of the initial suspects.
Whitfield will be formally charged as an adult Monday for aggravated assault and armed robbery. Whitfield will then appear in Justice Court for a bond hearing.
Aldridge remains in the critical care unit at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.