LANDOVER, Md. (WUSA9) -- The investigation into the murder of a mailman on his route is intensifying, and so has bitter criticism of the Postal Service management policies that have carriers routinely out on the street well after dark.
Twenty-six-year-old Tyson Jerome Barnette was shot to death in the 1600 block of Reed Street in Landover, around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Postal Service has offered a $125,000 reward trying to solve a crime that critics say wouldn't have happened if Postal Service cutbacks didn't put carriers out routinely at night.
Bewildered neighbors say night deliveries are obviously risky.
"It was unusual. Never got that mail that night, never. My mom said she heard a pow, a pause, and then a pow, pow, pow, pow. Wait a couple minutes, looked out the windows, no cars went up the street. She'd seen a truck and said they done killed the mailman," said a resident of the neighborhood.
"This was always my concern that something like this would happen with carriers working in the dark," said Alton Branson, a member of the Letter Carriers Union.
Sad and bitter union representatives are saying the district manager in charge has blood on his hands.
"I want to make sure that we do something to make sure nobody is going to die tomorrow or next week when you have most of your letter carriers carrying at night in D.C. and the area I epresent, Montgomery County."
Barnette was covering an unfamiliar route and working late. Common practice union officials say full-time staff has been relentlessly reduced in the past five years, shrinking union ranks more than 30%.
"Bring the carriers in early. Most of the carriers don't start anymore until 8:00, 8:30 in the morning, some as late as 9:00," said Branson.
Monday, postal police shadowed carrier William Moore for protection as he made his rounds on the same street where Barnette died.
Investigators are going door to door handing out flyers offering a $125,000 reward hoping someone saw something that will lead them to a motive and a killer.