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McIlvane ‘Didn’t Mince Words Too Much,’ Former Co-Worker Says With AM-Postal Shooting, Bjt

November 14, 1991 GMT

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) _ Mark Mitchell worked with Tom McIlvane at the Royal Oak Post Office for four years after they served in the Marine Corps together. They were friends, but Mitchell didn’t want to get on McIlvane’s wrong side.

″One time at Twentynine Palms (Marine base), there was a guy he was mad at and he drove a tank over his car,″ Mitchell said.

McIlvane, 31, allegedly shot 10 former co-workers Thursday at the post office, killing three, before shooting and wounding himself.

One day before the shootings, an arbitrator had upheld McIlvane’s firing last year for timecard fraud, Postal Service spokesman Lou Eberhardt said in Washington.

Workers at the post office in this suburb northwest of Detroit said McIlvane had promised revenge if his firing were upheld.

″I was with him about a week ago,″ said Mitchell, who said he was fired from his job as a letter carrier in 1988. ″He showed me some guns and we talked about what he said he was going to do. I didn’t know when.″

Former co-worker Dave Chesnutt said McIlvane holds a black belt in karate and is an accomplished kick-boxer who won a tough-man contest in Detroit several years ago.

″Certain people walk a certain way,″ Chesnutt said. ″He walked with his chest out, head back. He didn’t mince words too much.″

″I cordially said hi to him,″ Chesnutt said. ″I’d hate to say he was my friend after he did something like this.″

On Majestic Street in neighboring Oak Park, where McIlvane lived in a small brick house once used by drug dealers before he bought it, neighbors told differing stories about McIlvane.

″He was always shooting a bow and arrow in the back yard, and he’d yell at the kids all the time for being too loud,″ said Brenda Roelle, who lives with her six children a block away.

Iron bars cover McIlvane’s side windows below a large alarm box. The small back yard is shadowed by a 10-meter satellite dish.

McIlvane regularly jogged and rode a bicycle on neighborhood streets. Foot prints mar his garage door, near the top, a result of McIlvane’s hand-stand pushups, Roelle said.

Neighbor Jackie Jones said McIlvane was always friendly to her and the two had breakfast together several times at a neighborhood restaurant.

He asked her out about two years ago, but she declined because she was considerably older than him. She had considered introducing him to her 25- year-old daughter.

″He just seemed like a really nice guy, just normal. I knew he was a letter carrier. I never knew he had problems at the post office,″ Jones said.

″When we drove by here two days ago, I remember saying, ’I wish she would’ve gone out with him,‴ she said.

Jones said she last saw McIlvane on Wednesday outside a neighborhood restaurant.

″I tooted the horn and waved to him, but he didn’t wave back. He didn’t even look up.″