Postal worker shot, killed in Collier Township by former neighbor who believed he was poisoned

COLLIER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A postal worker was shot and killed Thursday morning in Collier Township, police said.

The shooting happened shortly after 10 a.m. in the area of Columbia and Suburban avenues.

Late Thursday afternoon, federal officials announced that Eric M. Kortz was arrested and charged in connection with the deadly shooting.

Government officials said they plan to request Kortz be held without bond.

What investigators said happened Thursday morning

The victim was identified as 58-year-old Louis Vignone. Federal investigators said he was in his marked United States Postal Service vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of multiple gunshots, including one to the head. At the time of the shooting, Vignone was wearing his uniform and working as a letter carrier.

Investigators found a gun and seven spent shell casings in a yard near the postal vehicle.

According to agents, Kortz was taken to the Allegheny County Police Headquarters to be interviewed after confessing to the murder. Officials said Kortz told them he shot Vignone because he believed Vignone and his family had poisoned Kortz and Kortz’s family with cyanide back when they were neighbors in Pittsburgh’s Sheraden neighborhood.

Vignone and his family moved three years ago to get away from Kortz, who was becoming increasingly paranoid and obsessed about them.

Kortz said he found Vignone on his mail route near the intersection of Columbia and Suburban avenues, drove toward the postal vehicle and stopped in front of him. He allegedly told Vignone he “went to put some bullets in him.” He said he then dropped the gun and drove to the police station.

“Why? Just why would anyone have something against him? It’s not fair. It’s not right. This world is sad. People don’t need to do that stuff,” said Debbie Bach who lives nearby.

Kortz faces a maximum sentence of life in prison or the death penalty. He appeared expressionless during brief virtual court proceedings Thursday evening. He was charged with murder of an employee of the United States and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime.

He will next appear before a judge on Oct. 12 at 3 p.m.

What Channel 11 found at the shooting scene

A sheet was draped over a USPS truck, which had bullet holes in the windshield when Channel 11 arrived at the scene.

Kortz was taken into custody in Carnegie after turning himself in at the police station.

Crime scene tape was seen surrounding the Carnegie Police Department, where several other departments including Collier Township, Scott Township, Green Tree and Bridgeville also responded.

Police also put crime scene tape around Kortz’s van, which he used to drive himself to the Carnegie Police Department.

Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said the shooting investigation will be handled by the United States Postal Inspection Service.

The last time a postal carrier was killed in the Pittsburgh area was in 2003. A carrier was shot in the back in Ingram and died hours later at a nearby hospital.