Friday breakfast shows appreciation for Longmont postal workers in wake of fatal shooting

·4 min read

Nov. 20—Monty Moore is still getting used to the fact that Jason Schaefer is not working by his side anymore at the post office in Longmont.

Moore, a rural carrier, worked with Schaefer for more than seven years. He said Schaefer was the kind of person who always showed up half an hour early to his shift.

"He was an awesome individual," Moore said. "He was one of the best carriers we've had."

Schaefer, 33, was fatally shot Oct. 13 while he was delivering mail in southwest Longmont.

Even as Moore and his coworkers have coped with the aftermath of Schaefer's death, the team has still continued to serve their community and deliver the mail.

To show its thanks, the Longmont post office hosted an appreciation breakfast Friday for its more than 100 employees, as well as Longmont police, firefighters and investigators across agencies who have been working to achieve justice for Schaefer.

Before digging into plates of steak, eggs and potatoes, Vicki Stephens, acting postmaster at the 201 Coffman St. office, shared her appreciation for those at the breakfast Friday.

"That was the hardest time that we will hopefully ever go through at the post office in Longmont," Stephens said. "You guys came together. You came to work. I know you were hurting and you got the job done, so I appreciate you."

Moore said because the postal office was short handed, he worked with Schaefer six days a week. He described Schaefer as a dedicated employee and father to his son.

"He had a good heart," Moore said. "He was nice to everybody. He would say hi to everybody."

Outside of work, Schaefer offered to teach Moore how to play the video game Rocket League. Both got into playing the vehicular soccer game together after work.

Now, Moore said he's still adjusting to Schaefer's death, but said he appreciated the breakfast Friday.

"They've never done anything like this — it's awesome," Moore said.

Communications Specialist James Boxrud, who lives west of Longmont, and serves as a postal office spokesperson for Colorado and Wyoming, said there were lots of people to thank for providing support in the wake of Schaefer's death.

"In this area we've never had anything like this happen before. It was such a tragedy," Boxrud said. "How do you react to something like this? We were pleased to see the way so many people came out in support of us."

Boxrud said Longmont police connected postal workers with victims advocates — a resource he said workers still have access to. Boxrud added that postal workers can also get support through the employee assistance program, which provides free counseling service to them and their families.

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty attended the breakfast Friday to talk with postal workers about progress in the investigation. He reiterated that the case will be heard by a Boulder County jury, after it was decided in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney's Office that it will be prosecuted at the state and not the federal level.

"At this point, based on that evaluation, we're prosecuting this at the state level, because we believe that's the best mechanism for us to secure justice for Jason and U.S. Postal (Service) and Jason's family," Dougherty said. "If anything were to change with the case, federal prosecutors are united with us in ensuring we secure justice, so they would take whatever action we need them to."

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with Schaefer's death.

Devan Schreiner, 26, was charged with first-degree murder after deliberation in Schaefer's death. Schreiner was Schaefer's ex-girlfriend and had been involved in a custody battle with him, according to an arrest affidavit.

Andrew James Ritchie, 34, has been named a co-defendant by investigators and is suspected of complicity. He was also charged with first-degree murder after deliberation in Schaefer's death.

Dougherty emphasized that the sentencing the defendants face, if they are found guilty, would not differ at the state or federal level of prosecution.

Several U.S. postal inspectors, who are part of the federal law enforcement arm of the U.S. postal services, also attended the breakfast Friday.

Steve Hodges, Denver division assistant inspector in charge, said that when they learned about the shooting, roughly 50 inspectors from across the country were called to Longmont to support the investigation.

Hodges said he came to the breakfast Saturday to honor Schaefer's memory and reinforce the strength of the partnership between investigating agencies.

Stephens said it wasn't just first responders and investigators who've offered their support following Schaefer's death. She said the Longmont community has also shown they care for postal workers by sending in cards, calling to thank workers and hosting vigils to remember Schaefer and celebrate his life.

Stephens, who used to work at a post office in Chicago, shared her gratitude for the teamwork she's seen during a challenging time.

"Postal inspectors don't come together like what I've seen here in Longmont," Stephens said. "They were here. They were diligent. Anything you needed, they were willing to go out there."

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