The U.S. Postal Service employee who was shot and killed Friday while delivering mail on Milwaukee̵[ads1]7;s north side has been identified as Aundre Cross.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service of Chicago confirmed Cross’ identity to the Journal Sentinel. The agency said Saturday it is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the killing.
A spokesman for the agency said it would not be releasing any further information at this time. The Chicago-based agency will coordinate with Milwaukee Police on the ongoing investigation. Cross was 44 and a father of four, according to Milwaukee police.
A friend and former co-worker, who asked to be identified simply as Tia R., told the Journal Sentinel that she worked with Cross for seven years before leaving the USPS in 2021.
“He was a mentor to everybody,” she said. “He was always ready with a prayer, a joke or a story. He never let anyone leave (any situation) without a smile on his face.”
Tia said she met Cross when the two worked out of the Teutonia post office several years ago. They then worked together at the Hampton Avenue station.
“He has two postal families,” she said. “Two groups of postal workers both past and present remembering him.”
Aundre Cross remembered as a positive and caring person
Tia remembers Cross as someone who was always positive, always working to put a smile on someone’s face “when they were grieving or going through something.” She has many memories of “getting into trouble with him,” she said jokingly.
“We would get in trouble for singing ‘Bananas in Pajamas’ every morning at work,” she said, laughing. “Then, sometime after that, he called me and whispered from the parking lot that the bumper had fallen off his mail truck and he wanted me to come out to put it back on.
“I thought, ‘No, I’m not helping you with that.’ We only got in trouble for singing! Tia said. “He always knew how important it was to have fun at work, especially on shifts when you’re working 12, 14 hour shifts. We always said ‘you have to laugh to keep from crying.’
Before hitting Milwaukee’s northwest side, Cross was a postal worker for New Pitts Mortuary located at 2031 W. Capitol Drive in the Franklin Heights neighborhood.
Owner Michelle Pitts said she is devastated that Cross was killed. Although he left the area, he remained in contact with Pitts as recently as last month.
“He reached out and said he missed the area and wished he was still over there,” Pitts said. “He was just checking me out.”
“He was a person who could light up the room,” Pitts added. “When he went in to deliver our mail, he would literally light up the funeral home because he was always so happy. He was a man who loved God with everything in him. He would make sure he left you some kind of biblical message. »
It was a sad day when Cross left the neighborhood, Pitts said. She talked about the connection a mail carrier can have with the community.
“When you see that person, he became a part of — every day, you see this person every single day — he became a part of us, and when he transferred, we missed him so much,” Pitts said.
“But he would always reach out, sometimes he would even stop, just to let us know he was checking on us and seeing how we were doing. He wanted everyone to be happy. He had one of his biggest smiles… I can see him smiling right now. I don’t understand. I don’t understand what happened.”
Postal employees have been concerned about security, said a former colleague
Tia said the long shifts have been a concern for many postal workers concerned about their safety, something that has just been underlined by Cross’ death.
Tia said a main reason she left the postal service was that she felt unsafe carrying mail after dark. Cross was shot at around 6pm on Friday, after the sun had already set.
“We’ve been working longer hours and the volume of mail has increased,” Tia said. “I know the post office wants to be efficient, but I had to differ. I know some others who have left for similar reasons. We shouldn’t be out there after dark, it’s not safe.”
Pitts echoed Tia’s concern, saying she used to tell Cross not to deliver the mail at night and he would say “I have to do what I have to do.”
“I’d say, ‘Be safe, keep your eyes open,’ and he was just the type of guy to trust that everything was going to be okay,” Pitts said.
A link is also circulating on social media that reads, “We’re in Mourning. Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” which includes the USPS image and a black ribbon.
The fatal shooting happened in the 5000 block of North 65th Street
The incident took place in the 5000 block of North 65th Street, according to Milwaukee Police. Cross was pronounced dead at the scene by the Milwaukee Fire Department.
As of Thursday, Milwaukee police reported 205 homicides, up from the 193 recorded all of last year and the 190 reported in 2020, according to the latest data available on the department’s crime statistics dashboard.
“The shooting death of a Milwaukee postal worker is alarming,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said in a statement Friday. – My thoughts go out to the victim’s family and colleagues.
The police have no one in custody. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (414) 935-7360, the US Postal Inspection Service at (877)-876-2455, or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-TIPS or P3 TIPS.
Jessica Van Egeren is a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.