Gunman in Indianapolis Kills 8 People at Fedex Facility
The gunman killed himself, according to authorities, after opening fire in the parking lot of a FedEx facility and storming the building.,
Names of the eight victims were released by the authorities.
- April 16, 2021
INDIANAPOLIS — Officials with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department identified the eight victims of the mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis on Friday night, more than 20 hours after the gunman opened fire on Thursday.
Families of people who worked at the warehouse were gathered at a hotel in the hours after the shooting, waiting for news. FedEx employees are not allowed to use their phones on the floor of the warehouse, complicating the reuniting of employees and their loved ones.
The victims were identified by the police as Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74. Some family members of victims who were Sikh provided different spellings and ages: Jasvinder Kaur, 50; Amarjit Sekhon, 49; and Jaswinder Singh, 70.
Officials said the gunman, a 19-year-old, was a former employee of the company whose mother had warned law enforcement officials last year that he might try to attempt “suicide by cop.” An F.B.I. special agent confirmed that the gunman had been interviewed by federal agents in April 2020, and that he was put on an “immediate detention mental health temporary hold.”
He was not charged with a crime, and the agent said that a shotgun was not returned to him.
As families waited for word of their loved ones, reports emerged that the FedEx facility was the workplace for many Sikh employees, some of whom were among the dead. “We are sad to confirm that at least four of those killed in Thursday night’s attacks are members of the Indianapolis Sikh community,” the Sikh Coalition, a national nonprofit organization, said on Twitter.
Two of the victims, Ms. Kaur and Ms. Sekhon, commuted to work at the FedEx facility together, said Rimpi Girn, a family member. Ms. Kaur was the mother of Ms. Girn’s sister-in-law and moved to the United States from India three years ago. Ms. Sekhon, who was Ms. Girn’s aunt, moved to Indianapolis from Ohio to be closer to family.
The violence in Indianapolis comes only weeks after mass shootings last month at spas in the Atlanta area and at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., renewing pressure on lawmakers in Washington to address America’s deep-seated problem with gun violence.
Officials used a common word — “another” — to define the tragedy.
“This is another heartbreaking day, and I’m shaken by the mass shooting at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis,” Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana said.
Mayor Joe Hogsett of Indianapolis condemned the “horrific news of yet another mass shooting, an act of violence that senselessly claimed the lives of eight of our neighbors.”
President Biden, speaking at a news conference with the prime minister of Japan, expressed support for stronger gun control measures, including universal background checks and an assault weapon ban, but said it was up to Senate Republicans to take up legislation.
“This has to end,” he said, condemning mass shootings and daily gun violence in the United States. “It is a national embarrassment.”
“Who in God’s name needs a weapon that can hold a hundred rounds? Or 40 rounds? Or 20 rounds?” he said, referring to the military-style weapons often used in such attacks. “It’s just wrong. And I’m not going to give up until it’s done. “
The gunman was identified by law enforcement officials on Friday as Brandon Scott Hole, a 19-year-old who used to work at the warehouse, and who was already on law enforcement radar.
Mr. Hole last worked at the FedEx facility in 2020, perhaps as recently as the fall of last year, said Deputy Chief Craig McCartt of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. He said he did not know why Mr. Hole stopped working there, and FedEx referred questions to the Indianapolis police.
The authorities described a chaotic scene at the FedEx facility late Thursday, when gunfire erupted about 11 p.m.
Mr. Hole arrived at the facility and quickly started shooting in the parking lot, without an immediate confrontation, officials said. “He just appeared to randomly start shooting,” said Chief McCartt, who said there were at least 100 people at the FedEx location at the time, including many who were changing shifts and on their dinner break.
He continued shooting inside the building, and eight people were fatally shot, the authorities said. Five others were taken to hospitals with gunshot or shrapnel wounds, including one in critical condition who was expected to survive, the authorities said. Two others were treated at the scene and released.
An employee at the facility said 11 p.m. was a time when employees typically take a break, and many relax in the parking lot. “Most go to their cars to listen to music, smoke a cigarette, eat some food,” said the employee, D.J. Boyles, 23, who said he has worked as a package handler there for almost five years.
Kamal Jawandha, who said his parents both worked at the warehouse and were there at the time of the shooting, said his father was bringing his mother food and getting ready to go inside when the shooting started. His mother hid in the bathroom. “She’s in deep sadness,” he said of his mother. “She could not sleep. She just can’t stop shaking. She can’t believe this kind of thing would happen here.”
F.B.I. agents helped local law enforcement officials search a home in Indianapolis associated with the suspect on Friday, said Chris Bavender, an F.B.I. spokeswoman in Indianapolis. Officials seized evidence that included desktop computers and other electronic media.
The FedEx sorting facility where the shooting occurred is on the city’s southwest side, near the airport.
The atmosphere was fraught at a nearby hotel on Friday as families of workers at the facility waited for word about loved ones, many of whom were not allowed to have their cellphones at work.