Couple looks back 30 years after shooting

Couple looks back 30 years after shooting

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - This Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the Edmond Post Office massacre that left 14 people dead and six injured.

The shooting happened August 20th, 1986 when postal worker Patrick Sherill opened fire at work.

Lawton resident Gene Bray was a postman at the time and said he survived the shooting by playing dead.

"It scared me so badly. I really thought I was going to die," Bray said. "There was no doubt in my mind at that time."

August 20th 1986 started just like any other day for Gene and Louisa Bray. Louisa was headed to work at Oklahoma Christian University while Gene was already at the Edmond Post office. He said he heard two loud bangs and thought it was someone dropping their mail tray, but soon found out he was wrong.

"Pat came around the side and then he saw Gene and so he shot him and Gene was kind of turning at the time," Louisa Bray said.

Gene said he passed out after being shot causing Sherrill to believe he was dead.

"When I woke up and came to, of course, I was hurting and all I could think of was I've got to get out of here. I've got to get out of here," he said.
That is exactly what he did, dragging himself to his feet and out the door, ultimately flagging down a policeman nearby.

Gene was then loaded into an Ambulance and taken to Mercy Hospital. About that time, Louisa had been notified and raced to the hospital for answers.

"I could hear Gene in the distance and it sounded like he was struggling and so I wanted to go in, and so OK they let us go in," Louisa said. "When we found him, he was on a gurney and he was saying 'help me. I'm not going to make it."

"I kept saying I'm going to die because I really thought I was going to die," Gene said. "That's all I could say over and over and over, I'm going to die, I'm going to die, I'm going to die.

The bullet hit Gene in the back and while it had done its damage, it could have been much worse.

"It just barely missed his spinal cord, and it did take the tip off of a kidney," Louisa said.

Louisa said doctors worked quickly to get Gene into surgery, but it wasn't until later they told him just how close he had come to death.

"Good thing they got me there when they did," Gene said. "Because I had what? 10 minutes left, I might have lasted 10 more minutes because I bled so much."

Now, thirty years later Bray said he is still haunted by that day.

"He's had many a nightmare, wakes up at night and I'll hear him and of course I have to reach over and tell him it's ok, it's ok. and he'll say he's going to get me. he's going to get me. It takes a lot to calm him down sometimes," Louisa said.

The couple says they refuse to let that fateful day ruin their lives.

"we're very grateful and we've just taken each day and it has been 30 years, it doesn't seem possible," Louisa said. We've just taken every day and been glad to have it and thank God for it and just appreciated it and appreciate each other."

The Brays and other survivors will mark the anniversary with a ceremony at the post office this Saturday at 8 a.m.

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