UPDATE: Chattanooga postal worker assaulted - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Chattanooga postal worker assaulted

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: We have all become frustrated before when the mail is late. But one Chattanooga man took his anger to an extreme. Police say the man punched his mailman in the face over not receiving a package.

Twenty-five-year-old Travis Smith could be facing federal charges for attacking his mailman. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says it is taking this investigation "very seriously."

"We're technically federal employees so anything you do to a federal employee falls under a federal crime. It's not just like a state crime or a city crime," says R.J. Hoffman.

R.J. Hoffman is the vice president for the Tennessee Postal Workers Union.

"To have to deal with enraged customers should not happen. In no business should that type of thing happen," he says.

Police say the USPS worker was on his normal route along Long Street Saturday. Twenty-five-year-old Travis Smith walked up to his vehicle, upset that a package he was expecting did not arrive, and started punching him in the face.

The mailman drove himself to the hospital in a blood-soaked uniform.

"It's a shame that it happens and it really shouldn't happen," says Hoffman.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Office tells Channel 3 assaults on mail carriers "are rare" and notes that this attack is "unusually violent."

Hoffman says carriers are already under pressure to deliver the mail on time.

 "With the way the mail service is now, they've got them...they're time frames to deliver have been compressed. They want the carriers to get out there and get back and do it as fast as they can. Some of them even skip lunches and breaks," says Hoffman. 

He says if more sorting centers like the one on Shallowford Road close, delivery times will only get worse.

"We've already seen how it's taken effect now with just the closings they've had," he says.

In the meantime, he has a message to those who mess with the United States Postal Service.

"It shouldn't happen and if it does, then that person really really needs to be prosecuted. Sure there are circumstances behind it and everything but there's always avenues other than violence," says Hoffman.

Channel 3 spoke with the victim's wife earlier today. She says her husband is home from the hospital and is in great pain. He may need plastic surgery after getting punched in his left and right jaw.

Travis Smith, who has no criminal history, could face federal charges.

No word on what was in the package.

PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga Police say a man assaulted his postal worker when a package he was expecting to be delivered did not arrive.

Officers responded to a local hospital around 11:00 Saturday morning and interviewed a USPS worker who says he was attacked.

The mail carrier says he was delivering mail near 2600 Long Street when he says 25-year-old Travis G. Smith became enraged over not getting the package delivery. He says Smith started punching him in the face.

The mail carrier received serious injuries but was able to drive himself to the hospital.

Smith was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

Inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Services are also involved with the investigation and Smith could potentially face federal charges.
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