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Death toll at 8 in ex-postal worker's rampage

Former neighbor was first victim, investigators say

GOLETA, Calif. -- A woman wounded in a rampage by a former postal worker died yesterday, and investigators said the shooter also killed a former neighbor just before the attack, bringing the death toll to eight.

A former plant worker said the attacker had made racist comments in the past, and at least six of the victims were minorities, but investigators have not discussed a motive in the slayings.

The eighth victim, Beverly Graham, 54, was found Tuesday, dead of a gunshot wound to the head, at a Santa Barbara condominium complex where former postal employee Jennifer San Marco lived until a few years ago.

Sergeant Erik Raney of the sheriff's department said authorities believed Graham's death was ''the beginning of this rampage."

A neighbor of Graham's reported hearing a gunshot Monday evening, before San Marco went to the mail processing center.

San Marco fatally shot six postal employees, then committed suicide, in what was believed to be the nation's deadliest workplace shooting by a woman. It was also the bloodiest shooting at a US postal installation in nearly 20 years.

A postal worker who was shot in the head, Charlotte Colton, 44, died of her wounds yesterday, said Teresa Rounds, of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Jeff Tabala, a former plant worker, said San Marco seemed particularly hostile to Asians while working for the Postal Service.

He said six of the dead were minorities: Three were black, one was Chinese-American, one was Hispanic, and one was Filipino.

In 2003, Tabala said, he saw sheriff's deputies pull San Marco out from under a mail sorting machine and take her away in handcuffs after a disturbance. She returned several months later but ''people started coming to me and saying, 'She's acting erratically,' " Tabala said. ''She was screaming. She was saying a lot of racist comments. It was pretty ugly."

Graham's boyfriend, Eddie Blomfield, said San Marco would often go outside singing loudly, which led to arguments between the women. Graham's brother, Les Graham Jr., said his sister had complained about a woman who ''used to come out and rant and rave in front of her building."

Investigators gave no motive for the shooting rampage, but said San Marco had been put on medical leave in 2003 for psychological reasons and had to be removed from the building once.

Authorities in New Mexico, where San Marco moved in 2004, also described what they called her increasingly bizarre behavior after she lost her job. Police were contacted about San Marco at least twice after she was accused of harassing an office worker and appearing naked at a gas station.

A deputy clerk for the city of Milan, N.M., said San Marco applied for a business license in 2004 for a publication called ''The Racist Press" that she said she planned to launch.

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