Gunman who killed 8 workers at FedEx Indianapolis site arrested for mental illness By Reuters
By Maria Caspani and Mark Hosenball
(Reuters) – The 19-year-old gunman who killed himself and eight workers at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis (NYSE 🙂 was a former employee who was taken into psychiatric custody last year after his mother had done so. part of his fears that he could kill himself by a police officer. The police and the FBI said.
Four members of the Sikh religious community – three women and a man – were among the dead in Thursday night’s rampage, according to a local Sikh leader who said he had been informed by the families of the victims.
Law enforcement officials said they did not immediately determine whether racial or ethnic hatred was behind the killings. But a Sikh civil rights group has called for an investigation into any possible hateful bias involved in the crime.
The incident – the latest in a series of at least seven deadly mass shootings in the United States over the past month – took place at a FedEx operations center near Indianapolis International Airport after 11 p.m. local time, police said.
It only lasted a few minutes and was over by the time police arrived at the scene, Craig McCartt, deputy chief of the Indianapolis Police Department, told a press briefing on Friday.
Witnesses described a chaotic attack, as the shooter opened fire with a rifle in the parking lot before entering the facility and continuing to shoot, leaving casualties inside and outside the building . Officers found the suspect dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A spokesperson for FedEx and police identified the gunman as Brandon Hole, a former employee of the facility. McCartt told reporters the suspect would have last worked at the plant in the fall of 2020.
Asked what brought him back to the facility Thursday night, McCartt replied, “I wish I could answer that.”
‘SUICIDE BY COP’
The FBI said the suspect was remanded in mental health custody by Indianapolis police in March 2020 after his mother contacted law enforcement to report that he may attempt “suicide by a cop”.
A shotgun was then seized from his home, and based on “evidence seen in the suspect’s room at the time” he was questioned by the FBI in April 2020, the special agent said. Indianapolis FBI Paul Keenan in a statement.
“No racially motivated violent extremist ideology” was identified during this assessment, and no criminal offenses were found, but the shotgun was not returned, Keenan said.
The massacre is the most recent in a series of mass shootings in the United States that has once again pushed the issue of gun violence to the political front.
Indianapolis – the capital of the midwestern state of Indiana – has seen two mass shootings alone this year. In January, police said a teenager shot dead four of his family and a pregnant woman.
Thursday’s gun violence at the FedEx center was the second mass shooting in recent weeks targeting workplaces employing a high concentration of people of Asian descent.
Sikhs, whose religion hails from the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, are behind four of the eight killed and at least one injured, according to Gurinder Singh Khalsa, businessman and leader of the local Sikh community.
Singh Khalsa told Reuters that the majority of employees at the FedEx site are Sikhs.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office later identified the dead as: Matthew Alexander, 32, Samaria Blackwell, 19, Amarjeet Johal, 66, Jaswinder Kaur, 64, Jaswinder Singh, 68, Amarjit Sekhon, 48, Karli Smith, 19, and John Weisert, 74.
The New York-based Sikh Coalition, which describes itself as the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States, said it expected authorities “to conduct a full investigation – including the possibility bias as a factor “.
Coalition executive director Satjeet Kaur said more than 8,000 Sikh Americans live in Indiana.
The recent spate of mass shootings in the United States began on March 16 when a gunman shot dead eight people, including six Asian women, at three Atlanta-area day spas before being arrested.
The outburst has escalated tensions already sparked by an increase in hate crimes and discrimination directed against Asian Americans in recent years, fueled in part by inflammatory racial rhetoric about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in China.
‘TASK OUR CHARACTER’
Reacting to the latest tragedy, US President Joe Biden ordered the flags to be reduced to half staff and reiterated his call on Congress to enact tighter gun restrictions.
“Too many Americans die from gun violence every day,” he said. “It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation.”
Earlier this month, Biden announced limited measures to tackle gun violence, including a crackdown on self-assembled “ghost weapons”. But tougher measures face an uphill battle in a divided Congress, where Republican lawmakers have long opposed any new gun limits.
There were 147 mass shootings in 2021, defined as incidents in which at least four people were shot, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit website that tracks gun-related incidents.
Friday also marked the 14th anniversary of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history at Virginia Tech, which left 32 people dead.
Olivia Sui, a FedEx employee in Indianapolis, told Reuters by text message that she and some colleagues had just left the building after collecting their paychecks and were sitting in a car in the parking lot when gunshots rang out.
“That’s when I looked around and saw the shooter with a rifle running around the building,” followed by more shots, she said. . “I panicked and started backing up from the parking lot as fast as I could.”
Another employee, Levi Miller, told NBC’s “Today Show” that he ducked when he saw a hooded figure holding what appeared to be an AR-style semi-automatic rifle screaming and opening fire outside the establishment.
Five people were taken to hospitals with gunshot wounds, including one in critical condition, police said. Two others were treated on stage and released.
As relatives, friends and coworkers of employees gathered at a nearby hotel afterwards, some expressed frustration at not being able to reach workers at the site, where company policy prohibits many employees from being able to reach the site. ” have a cell phone to avoid distractions.
In a message to staff, FedEx CEO Frederick Smith said the eight people killed were employees.
“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families, friends and co-workers of these team members,” said Smith, who added that the company was cooperating with investigators.