U.S. Postal Service worker attacked; reward offered

(WJLA) - The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects who robbed a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier in broad daylight this week.

It was around 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday when Joanne Turner's husband was walking his mail route on Webster Street Northeast when police say two men in ski masks with guns forced him into a van, hit him repeatedly, tied him up, and threatened to kill him while demanding a package.

Joanne Turner is shaken, but grateful that her husband is still alive:

"According to Satan I was supposed to be a widow today, but by the grace of God, I'm not."

The victim is also a D.C. pastor who was praying out loud while the suspects pushed him out and drove off.

Alton Branson knows the victim through the letter carriers union.

"Knowing that he's a pastor and he has a heart to help people, and then to be robbed and beat up as he was, it was heart-wrenching," says Branson.

Branson adds that when he started delivering mail over 37 years ago, things were different:

"I never worried about being robbed or attacked while I was out on the street. In most cases, even in the worst areas the letter carriers were protected; they wouldn't bother the letter carrier, because he was a staple in the community."

Meanwhile, Turner is thankful her husband lives to preach another day.

"I know my husband's not finished with his work, not finished," she says.

The suspects are identified as black men in their twenties with medium builds. They were last seen driving a tan-colored, late 1980's or early 1990's model conversion van. They are considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information should contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.