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Friends shocked, town in mourning following shooting at post office

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HALE, Mo. -- The United States Postal Inspection Service is now investigating a shooting that happened Wednesday afternoon at a small town’s post office.

Forty-two-year-old Michelle Bell was the assistant postmaster at the Hale, Mo. office and was shot by her ex-husband, Billy Bell, according to investigators. He then turned the gun on himself and passed away on Thursday.

People in Hale say this isn`t the family they knew. Pictures show smiling faces and memories of happier times for the Bell family. Memories that seem long ago compared to the somber scene that played out Wednesday.

“It`s just hard to think, you know?  My small town had this happen?” Derick Warner, friend of the Bell family, said.

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Billy Bell walked into the post office and shot his ex-wife. Their divorce had only been finalized a day earlier on Tuesday according to online court records. Later, Billy was found by the Carroll County Sheriff`s Department with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  He died Thursday morning.

“It`s just very sad,” Warner said.

Warner is shocked that this happened to two people he loved.

“They loved each other, you know, from a small town and things, everybody knew them, they said hi.  Always nice, they`d both do anything for you,” he said.

Michelle is recovering from her wounds as the people of Hale, Bosworth, and Carrollton do what they can to help her and the children she and Billy raised.

“I pray for Shelly, and I pray for Billy, too,” Warner said.

The post office was closed on Thursday. An inspection service representative said it will operate with other employees filling in for Michelle.

A fundraiser has also been set up to help the family:

Carroll County Trust Company
Hale, MO Location
Account set up under Trey and Trent Bell

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