Edwin James Grace
Edwin James Grace
Background information
Occupation Security guard
Born (1939-01-29)January 29, 1939
United States

July 8, 1972(1972-07-08) (aged 33)
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States

Cause of death Suicide
Attack information
Date June 21, 1972
2:30 p.m.
Location(s) Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States
Target(s) Workers at the Heritage Building
Killed 6
Injured 6
Weapon(s) Two sawn-off AR-7

Edwin James Grace was an American security guard who killed six people and wounded six others in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States on June 21, 1972, before committing suicide.[1][2][3][4]


Grace was born on January 29, 1939 as the son of a police officer and grew up in a brick house at 1510 East 29th Street, Flatbush, Brooklyn. According to one of his neighbours he was a quiet, respectful person. He dropped out of St. Francis College after two years and afterwards enlisted in the army, where he was honorably discharged three and a half years later. In 1970 he was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida for being drunk and disorderly.[5]

On June 30, 1969 Grace began to work as court clerk, but resigned on October 29 the same year. Later he wrote to the Judicial Conference requesting his reinstatement, however, he was not restored to the employment list, because his superiors were not happy with his work. At one point he asked a court employee how soon he could get a gun.[5]

In August 1971 Grace was hired by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, which assigned him to the midnight shift at a power substation in New Jersey. Four months later he resigned due to the illness of his father, but on April 25, 1972 reapplied and was reinstated. According to William Linn, vice president at Pinkerton, he had an excellent work record, with no demerits for sloppiness or lateness. At the time of the shooting Grace worked at the Atlantic City Electric Company in Atlantic City.[5]

Presumably, he sought a job at the Key agency at the time he was off the Pinkerton payroll.

filed an application with Key Personnel, Inc., one of the eight companies with offices in the Heritage Building, at 383 Kings Highway. He had sought “a job in his line of work, secourity,” failed to get him a job earlier this year.

Turnersville, 15 miles south of here, where Grace was living tat the Saxony Motel, In Grace's motel room, a business card from the Key Personnel was found. In his Volkswagen sedan, which he had parked behind the Heritage Building, a map was found with X's marked over Cherry Hill and Pennsauken, which is about 10 miles west, The police learned that Grace had bought his two guns in New York, reportedly at a military surplus house, and had at least nine clips holding a dozen bullets each. The two weapons are 22 caliber rifles called AR‐7's, or survival rifles. Their stocks are of plastic and can float. In the motel room the police found gunstocks and barrel extensions. Grace had apparently sawed the barrels shorter, making the guns look like oversized Luger pistols. Grace did have a New York gun permit but that it was valid in New Jersey only when Grace was on duty—and he was not on duty at the time of the shooting.


Heritage Building - Cherry Hill

The Heritage Building after the shooting

On June 21, 1972 Grace drove to Cherry Hill, where he parked his Volkswagen sedan behind the Heritage Building, which housed eight companies with 40 employees present at the time. Shortly after 2:30 p.m. he entered the building, armed with his two AR7 and more than 100 rounds of ammunition, and went to the office of Key Personnel, Inc. on the first floor. The four men present there grabbed chairs to shield themselves and begged Grace not to shoot them, however, he ignored their pleas, killed Robert Bertone and Stephen Robinson, and critically wounded the third, while James Ashmen managed to escape by leaping out of the window as Grace reloaded.[5]

Afterwards Grace went from office to office, shooting people at random for several minutes and then retreated into a basement office where he shot himself in the head. By that time he had fired 50 to 70 rounds, killed five people and wounded seven others, five of them critically. One of them, Theodore Hall, died in hospital of a bullet wound to the head the same day.[5]

Grace was taken to the Cherry Hill Medical Center in critical condition and underwent surgery during the night. He was put under guard there.

Stephen Robinson, a personnel executive, had called his wife as the shooting began. He screamed into the telephone, “Call somebody for help! People are shot!” Mrs. Robinson then heard gunshots and never again heard her husband's voice.


  • Joseph Boyd, 48
  • Robert Bartone, 22
  • Joseph A. DePalma, 44
  • Theodore G. Hall, 38, shot in the head
  • Charles Merkel, 37
  • Stephen B. Robinson, 42

Those wounded were:

  • William Maynard, 25, shot in the chest
  • Charles (Big Pinky) Collins, 24
  • Gary Davis, 23, shot in the chest
  • Val Risco, shot in the chest
  • James R. Slimmer, 44
  • Wayne Stroup, shot in the chest
  • Walter Wilkes, broke his wrist, forearm and elbow when jumping out of a second floor window


Edwin J. Grace was for mally charged today with mur dering six men and wounding another six in Cherry Hill on Wednesday afternoon charged Grace with six counts each of mur der, assault with a deadly weap on and atrocious assault and battery and one count of pos session of deadly weapons. After Wednesday's 30‐ minute shooting spree, Grace walked into the two‐story building shortly after 2:30 P.M. Wednesday and shot 12 men in offices or corridors in the basement, first and second floors before shooting himself. last year Grace had been refused a job as a bank guard by an inter viewer for Key Personnel, an employment company in the Heritage Building. The first two persons killed were in the company's offices, the prosecutor said, adding that the job rejection may have been a mo tive for the killings. The per son who interviewed Grace only worked there one month.[6]


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