Thursday, October 07, 2021

Pittsburgh Man Charged in Death of U.S. Postal Service Worker

 PITTSBURGH – Eric M. Kortz, 53, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged today with the murder of a United States Postal Service mail carrier, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

The criminal complaint was filed just minutes ago in federal court in Pittsburgh. Kortz is expected to make an initial appearance before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia R. Eddy today at 5 p.m. at which time the government will request he be held without bond pending further criminal proceedings.

The complaint alleges that on October 7, 2021 United States Postal Inspectors and local law enforcement were informed that a shooting had occurred in Collier Township, located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Investigators arrived on scene and observed the victim of the shooting, Louis Vignone (“Vignone”). Vignone, who was a United States letter carrier, was in his marked United States Postal Services (USPS) vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the head. At the time of the shooting, Vignone was wearing his USPS uniform and working his shift as a letter carrier. Investigators located a firearm and seven spent shell casings in a yard near the USPS vehicle.

Shortly after the shooting, Kortz arrived at the Carnegie Borough Police Department, where he stated that he shot someone and wanted to turn himself in. Kortz subsequently was transported to the Allegheny County Police Department Headquarters.

At the Allegheny County Police Headquarters, U.S. Postal Inspector Erik J. Bohin and Allegheny County Police Detective Patrick Kinavey interviewed Kortz. Prior to the start of the interview, Kortz agreed to be interviewed and signed the USPIS agency-issued Miranda Warnings and Waiver Form.

The interview was audio and video recorded. During the interview, Kortz informed Investigators that he shot Vignone. Kortz claimed that he shot Vignone because Kortz believed that Vignone and Vignone’s family had poisoned Kortz and Kortz’s family with cyanide when Vignone and Kortz were previously neighbors.

Kortz informed Investigators that Kortz was aware of where Vignone worked. Kortz stated that he located Vignone on his mail route, drove his vehicle toward Vignone’s USPS vehicle, and stopped in front of the vehicle to stop Vignone. Kortz then stated that he “went to put some bullets in him”, referring to shooting Vignone. Kortz stated that he then dropped the firearm at the scene, got into his van, and drove to the Carnegie Borough Police Department.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of life imprisonment or death.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Allegheny County Police Department, and the Collier Township Police Department.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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