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Flags At Half-Mast For Mailman

At the post office where Joseph Ileto worked, the flag flew at half-staff. And his co-workers wept when they learned that the man suspected in the Jewish community center shooting confessed to his slaying.

A substitute carrier who took the routes of sick or vacationing co-workers, the 39-year-old Ileto had just started walking a mail route in the city's Chatsworth section when he was gunned down in a driveway and left to die.

"He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Postal Service spokesman David Mazer said.

Ileto had worked for the Postal Service for two years. His colleagues "really liked him. He seemed to be a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, always smiling," Mazer said.

Although there were no witnesses to his slaying Tuesday, authorities said he was shot to death by Buford O. Furrow about an hour after the white supremacist opened fire in a nearby Jewish community center, wounding three boys, a receptionist and a teen-age camp counselor.

Furrow was charged by federal prosecutors with murder and illegal possession of a firearm in Ileto's death. Authorities have not specified what they think the motive was.

At his mother's home in suburban Monterey Park, sister Raquel Ileto said her brother was a devoted family man who cared for their mother and was willing to help when his siblings needed him.

"They don't come any nicer," she said.

Ileto was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States when he was 14, she said.

If the shooting was a hate crime, "I want justice done," Ms. Ileto said. "It's sad that there are people out there that think that way."

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