Pennsylvania man is shot dead his former neighbor, then turned himself in, telling cops he believed the mail carrier had POISONED him and his family with cyanide in the past
Eric Kortz, 53, is charged with murder of a United States employee and a firearm charge in the killing of U.S. Postal Service worker Louis Vignone
Vignone was delivering mail in Collier Township, Pennsylvania, Thursday when Kortz allegedly shot him multiple times, including in the head
Kortz then drove to the local police station and turned himself in
Kortz allegedly confessed to the crime, telling cops he believed Vignone poisoned him and his family with cyanide when they were neighbors in Pittsburgh
A neighbor who lived near Kortz and Vignone in Pittsburgh said there were rumors the two men did not get along
If convicted of killing a federal employee, Kortz could face the death penalty or life in prison
Vignone was considered a beloved figure in the community
A U.S. Postal Service worker was delivering mail in Pennsylvania on Thursday when officials say he was shot dead by his former neighbor, who then surrendered and confessed to the police, claiming he believed the letter carrier previously poisoned him and his family with cyanide.
Eric M. Kortz, 53, was charged with one count of murder of a United States employee and a firearm charge for the shooting death of Louis Vignone while the victim was on his route in Collier Township.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Stephen Kaufman made the announcement Friday
Vignone, 58, was shot around 10 a.m. on Thursday while he was delivering mail along Columbia Avenue, in Collier Township.
The victim reportedly, was wearing his postal uniform and working his regular shift as a carrier when he was shot. Investigators found a gun and seven spent shell casings in a yard near the mail truck.
The mail carrier was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the head.
Federal authorities said Kortz told investigators that he drove up and stopped in front of Vignone’s USPS vehicle to block him, then got to pump bullets into him.
A gunman in Collier Township, PA, opened fire on his neighbor, a postal worker as he delivered mail on Thursday morning.
Federal officials said Eric Kortz confronted Vignone in his USPS truck and opened fire, shooting him multiple times, including in the head .
After the shooting, Kortz said he dropped the gun, got back in his van and headed straight to the Carnegie Borough Police Department to report what he did and turn himself in, according to an affidavit.
Investigators located a firearm and seven spent shell casings in a yard near the shot-up USPS vehicle.
Collier Township resident Debbie Bock told KDKA the shooting took place just steps away from her home.
‘I was sitting in my chair watching TV this morning and I heard the shots and [it] kind of puzzled me because I knew it was close,’ she said. ‘I knew it wasn’t from the gun club which is up the road.’
A contractor who was working on the Bock family’s property at the time of the attack heard the gunshots and rushed to Vignone’s postal truck to administer aid, but it was too late.
Bock’s husband, Ken, described Vignone as a beloved figure in the community.
‘He’s been here for as long as I can remember, and I’ve lived here 20 years,’ Ken Bock said.
Kortz also told investigators that he and Vignone used to be neighbors. Kortz said he believed Vignone and the mail carrier’s family poisoned him and his family with cyanide when the families lived close to each other.
Sheilla Kirkpatrick, who used to be a neighbor of both Kortz and Vignone in Pittsburgh until the latter moved away in 2018, said she heard rumors that the two men did not get along.
‘I did not see them interact with each other. They kept their distance,’ Kirkpatrick said.
Kortz allegedly said he believed Vignone previously poisoned him and his family with cyanide while the two were neighbors in Pittsburgh
Another neighbor in Pittsburgh said that a couple of months ago, Kortz told them that something big was going to happen and the whole city would hear of it.
Kortz is charged with murder of a United States employee along with possession and discharging of a gun during a crime of violence.
He appeared briefly on Thursday afternoon by zoom before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy, who ordered him detained in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Tuesday, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Kortz was assigned a public defender, who told the judge his client was unemployed.
If convicted of killing a federal employee, Kortz could face the death penalty or life in prison.