MIAMI (CBS4) – The U.S. Postal Service has increased the $25,000 reward to $50,000 Thursday in an effort to find the person who shot and killed a mail carrier on Monday before taking off in his postal truck.
Bruce Parton, 60, was shot twice Monday afternoon just before 3 p.m. in the 400 block of Northwest 165 Street in North Miami-Dade County.
Despite paramedics best efforts to save his life Parton did not survive. Just a few blocks away from the shooting, police found Parton’s delivery truck abandoned. The killer took off running. Somehow he eluded dozens of federal agents and police officers.
After the news conference earlier this week, postal service police and inspectors scoured the area where Parton was killed, passing out flyers offering the $25,000 reward and looking for evidence. They also passed out flyers outside the Norland post office where Parton worked.
But on Thursday that reward was increased.
Miami-Dade Police Department spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said that in order to qualify for the reward, the public must call the Postal Service number at 1-877-876-2455.
“If you only call Crimestoppers it is possible you may only qualify for the $1,000 reward,” he said. “The postal service is offering the $50,000 reward separate from us. So people have to make sure they call that 877 number and it’s important that the media stress this.”
Parton’s brother-in-law Albert Salvador, who said Parton was a “good-hearted person,” pleaded to the public’s help.
“It is shocking,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. Who would do something like that? Everyone liked him. He was very generous, helpful and loving.”
Salvador said he hopes the reward increase will help police find the person who shot his brother-in-law.
“It would be a big relief to get the person who did this awful thing, for the good of the family,’ he said. “It’s not going to make this any less painful for them, but at least it will mean some relief, some closure.”
Enrique Gutierrez, the inspector in charge, said the case is their highest priority.
“This will make this a case of highest interest,’ he said. “This additional reward may just do it. This means everything to us. This is the highest priority.”
Earlier, Parton’s widow, Patricia Parton, spoke to CBS4’s Peter D’Oench about her husband.
“He was one of the kindest persons I have ever known,” Patricia Parton said. “He was a loving husband, a wonderful father, a devoted postal carrier. Why anyone would do this to my husband is beyond me. This makes no sense at all.”
She said they were married for 14 years and “had a great life.”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do now,” she said. “It’s just so hard to understand and make sense of.”
Patricia Parton said her husband planned on retiring in January. She is trying to cope, but finds it difficult.
The postal service did not report whether anything was stolen from his truck after the gunman abandoned it a few blocks from the crime scene.
Postal carrier Mike Segura said he worked the route on Parton’s day off and was his friend.
“I’m new to the station and he showed me the ropes,” Segura said. “We lost a good man.
He said having the gunman captured is also for the public’s safety.
The same sentiments are shared by those along Parton’s postal route.
“I feel for Bruce,” Parton’s friend Lillie Williams said. “I knew him six years. I saw him everyday. He was definitely more than a mailman.”
Francis Khan, another friend of Parton, said the killing was not necessary.
“Well, it’s such an unnecessary situation,” Khan said. “You rob someone you rob someone, but don’t kill him.”
The man who shot Parton may have been captured on surveillance tape, but no further information was released.
“If anybody knows anything at all about this, please come forward,” Salvador said. “It will provide some closure for us a lot.”
Police said the suspect is heavy set with dreadlocks and may be up to six feet, four inches tall.
There will be a visitation for Bruce Parton on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Scarano Funeral Home at 9000 Pines Boulevard in Pembroke Pines. The funeral service will also be held at Scarano on Saturday at 7 p.m.