The U.S. Postal Service worker who was fatally shot Friday while delivering mail on the north side of Milwaukee has been identified as Aundre Cross.
The United States Postal Inspection Service in Chicago confirmed Cross’s identity to the Journal Sentinel. The agency said Saturday it was offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the homicide.
A spokesperson for the agency said it would not provide any additional information at this time. The Chicago-based agency will coordinate with Milwaukee police on the ongoing investigation.
A friend and former colleague, who asked to be identified simply as Tia R., told the Journal Sentinel that she worked with Cross, 44, for seven years before leaving the USPS in 2021 and that Cross fathered four children.
“He was a mentor to everyone,” she said. “He was always ready with a prayer, a joke or a story. He never let anyone go (any situation) without a smile on his face.”
Tia said she met Cross when the two worked at the Teutonia postal station several years ago. They then worked together at the Hampton Avenue station.
“He has two postal families,” she said. “Two groups of postal workers from yesterday and today who remember him.”
Aundre Cross remembers a positive and caring person
Tia remembers Cross as someone who was always positive, always working to put a smile on someone’s face “whenever they were grieving or going through something.” She has many memories of “getting into trouble with him,” she joked.
“We would get in trouble because we were singing ‘Bananas in Pyjamas’ every morning at work,” she laughed. “Then one time after that he called me, whispering from the parking lot that the bumper had fallen off his mail truck and he wanted me to come and put it back on.
“I was like, ‘No, I’m not helping you with that. We just got in trouble for singing!’ Tia said. “He always knew how important it was to have fun at work, especially on shifts where you work 12 or 14 hours. We always said, ‘you have to laugh not to cry.'”
Prior to his beat on the northwest side of Milwaukee, Cross was the postman for New Pitts Mortuary located at 2031 W. Capitol Drive in the Franklin Heights neighborhood.
Owner Michelle Pitts said she was devastated that Cross was killed. Although he left the area, he remained in communication with Pitts as recently as last month.
“He was reaching out saying he missed the area and wished he was still there,” Pitts said. “He was just watching me.”
“He was a person who could light up the room,” Pitts added. “When he came in to deliver our mail, he literally lit up the funeral home because he was always so cheerful. He was a man who loved God with everything in him. He was going to make sure to leave you some kind of biblical message. .
It was a sad day when Cross left the neighborhood, Pitts said. She talked about the connection a letter carrier can have with the community.
“Once you saw this person he became a part of – everyday you see this person everyday – he became a part of us and when he was transferred we really missed him a lot” , Pitts said.
“But he always reached out, sometimes he even stopped, just to let us know he was watching us and seeing how we were doing. He wanted everyone to be happy. He had one of the biggest smiles on his face…I can see him smiling right now. I don’t understand. I don’t understand what happened.
Postal workers are concerned about safety, a former colleague says
Tia said those long shifts were a concern for many postal workers who feared for their safety, which was just underscored by Cross’ death.
Tia said one of the main reasons she left the Postal Service was that she didn’t feel safe carrying mail after dark. Cross was shot around 6 p.m. Friday, when the sun had already set.
“We’ve been working longer hours and the volume of mail has increased,” Tia said. “I know the post wants to be efficient but I had to part ways. I know a few other people who left for similar reasons. We shouldn’t be there when it’s dark, it’s not safe .”
Pitts echoed Tia’s concern, saying she used to tell Cross he shouldn’t deliver the mail at night, and he would say, “I gotta do what I gotta do.”
“I would say, ‘Be safe, keep your eyes peeled,’ and he was just the kind of guy who believed everything was going to be okay,” Pitts said.
A link is also circulating on social media that reads: “We are in mourning. Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” which includes the USPS image and a black ribbon.
A fatal shooting occurred in the 5000 block of North 65th Street
The incident took place in the 5000 block of North 65th Street, according to Milwaukee police. Cross was pronounced dead at the scene by the Milwaukee Fire Department.
Milwaukee police reported 205 homicides on Thursday, more than the 193 recorded in all of last year and the 190 reported in 2020, according to the latest data available on the department’s crime statistics dashboard.
“The shooting death of a Milwaukee postal worker is alarming,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said in a statement Friday. “My thoughts are with the family and colleagues of the victim.”
The police have no one in custody. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police at (414) 935-7360, the US Postal Inspection Service at (877)-876-2455, or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-TIPS or P3 TIPS.
Jessica Van Egeren is a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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