The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is asking for the public’s help finding an SUV that may be linked to the slaying last year of a postman who was shot as he was delivering mail after dark in Prince George’s County.
The Postal Inspection Service released surveillance video Tuesday of what officials believe is a Jeep Grand Cherokee that was seen in the area where Tyson Jerome Barnette, 26, was slain on Nov. 23, 2013.
The video is the latest development in Barnette’s killing. The Upper Marlboro resident was delivering mail in the 1600 block of Jutewood Avenue, near Cheverly, when police were called to the area for a shooting around 7:20 p.m., according to authorities.
The video released Tuesday shows a dark SUV quickly driving down a street with a time stamp of 7:25 p.m. the same evening Barnette was found dead.
The video is from a camera along Englewood Drive, about 100 yards from the crime scene, said Tom Ouellette, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Authorities have had the video since the start of the case but did not immediately release it since it was evidence in an ongoing investigation, Ouellette said. “We felt this was the appropriate time to reengage the public in this investigation of one of our postal letter carriers,” he said.
Inspectors hope the video will spark more tips that will help bring closure to the case. “We’re hoping that the individual who either owns the vehicle or anyone who knows something about the vehicle will step forward and provide information that will bring a resolution,” Ouellette said. “Any information, no matter how small would be greatly beneficial.”
Postal inspectors are offering a reward of up to $100,000 is available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. Prince George’s County police is offering a $25,000 reward in this case, for a possible combined reward of up to $125,000.
Barnette’s death sparked concerns from mail carriers nationwide about the safety of delivering mail after dark. The case also prompted the Postal Service’s inspector general to review late delivery in the District and Maryland suburbs.
The report showed that the number of letter carriers still delivering mail after 5 p.m. — often in the dark during winter months — has grown to the point that the Capital District ranks as one of the worst places in the nation for late mail service.
Anyone with information is being asked to call 877-876-2455. Callers can remain anonymous.