A private ceremony will be held today at the U.S. Postal Service sorting facility on Storke Road to mark the anniversary of the shootings that claimed six lives at the facility, one year ago.
In remembrance of the incident – wherein ex-postal employee Jennifer Sanmarco shot and killed six of her former coworkers with a 9mm pistol before turning the gun onto one of her neighbors and later herself, bringing the total death toll to eight individuals – a private service for the victims’ co-workers and family members is being held at today at 2 p.m.
In addition, an olive tree has been planted at the facility for each of Sanmarco’s victims, and a commemorative plaque has been placed beneath the facility’s flag post, according to John Byars, plant manager for the branch.
Several local politicians were invited to the event, and 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone said he will be in attendance in order to express his sympathy for those affected by the incident.
“I think it just shows support for the victims and the families,” Firestone said. “There was a community memorial service last year in the Thunderdome, and it brought the area together with a similar expression of sympathy. If any good could come out of that horrible thing, it would be the community coming together.”
Despite high attendance at last year’s memorial ceremony at the Thunderdome, Byars said the need for a more intimate ceremony this year led to the decision to hold today’s event at the Goleta USPS facility – located at 400 Storke Rd. – where the shootings took place last year.
“It’s going to be for the postal workers only, for the six employees we lost,” Byars said. “The district manager will be speaking, a chaplain and myself.”
Richard Maher, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, echoed the sentiment to keep the ceremony simple and dignified, and that the effects of the shooting are still being deeply felt.
“I know just from people I talked to that it was a terrible shock to everyone; it went beyond the scope of the postal service,” Maher said. “The ceremony last year was very moving. It was something people felt they had to do to show that their loss was felt throughout the community.”
Maher said even though the entire community could not attend today’s memorial event, he hoped many people would still remember the powerful impact the tragedy had on everyone who was affected by it.
“It really shows us how valuable and precious life is,” Maher said. “The theme last year was ‘We will not forget.’ I think the whole community will hold all of the victims in their memory.”