The Dallas Morning News
8 slain in latest mass shooting
Police say ex-employee of Fedex facility fired at random FBI had interviewed killer last year after mother raised worry about ‘suicide by cop’
INDIANAPOLIS — A former employee who shot and killed eight people at a Fedex facility in Indianapolis had been interviewed by FBI agents last year after his mother called police to say that her son might commit “suicide by cop,” the bureau said Friday as investigators searched for a motive in the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S.
The shooter was Brandon Scott Hole of Indianapolis, Deputy Police Chief Craig Mccartt said. Investigators searched a home in Indianapolis associated with Hole and seized evidence, including desktop computers and other electronic media, Mccartt said.
Hole fired randomly at people in the Fedex facility’s parking lot late Thursday, killing four, before entering the building and fatally shooting four more people, Mccartt said. Mccartt said the shooter apparently fatally shot himself shortly before police entered the building. He said he did not know if Hole owned the gun legally.
“There was no confrontation with anyone that was there,” he said. “There was no disturbance, there was no argument. He just appeared to randomly start shooting.”
Mccartt said that the slayings took place in a matter of minutes and that at least 100 people were in the facility at the time. Many were changing shifts or were on their dinner break, he said. Several people were wounded, including five who were taken to the hospital.
A Fedex employee said he was
working inside the building Thursday night when he heard several gunshots in rapid succession.
“I see a man come out with a rifle in his hand and he starts firing and he starts yelling stuff that I could not understand,” Levi Miller told WTHR-TV. “What I ended up doing was ducking down to make sure he did not see me because I thought he would see me and he would shoot me.”
Incident last year
Paul Keenan, special agent in charge of the FBI’S Indianapolis field office, said Friday that agents had questioned Hole last year after his mother called police to say her son might commit “suicide by cop.” He said the FBI was called after items were found in Hole’s bedroom, but he did not say what those were. Keenan said agents found no evidence of a crime and did not identify Hole as espousing a racially motivated ideology.
A police report obtained by The Associated Press shows that officers seized a pump-action shotgun from Hole’s home after responding to the mother’s call. Keenan said the gun was never returned.
Mccartt said Hole last worked for Fedex in 2020. The deputy police chief said he did not know why Hole left the job or whether he had ties to the workers in the facility. He said police had not uncovered a motive for the shooting.
Police Chief Randal Taylor noted that a “significant” number of employees at the Fedex facility were members of the Sikh community, and the Sikh Coalition later issued a statement saying it was “sad to confirm” that at least four of those killed were community members.
The coalition, which identifies itself as the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the U.S., said in the statement that it expected authorities to “conduct a full investigation — including the possibility of bias as a factor.”
Varun Nikore, executive director of the AAPI Victory Alliance, a national advocacy group for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, said in a statement that the shootings marked “yet another senseless massacre that has become a daily occurrence in this country.”
“The senseless gun violence that we’re seeing in this country is reflective of all of the spineless politicians who are beholden to the gun lobby. Period. End
of story,” he said.
The agonizing wait by the workers’ families was exacerbated by the fact that most employees aren’t allowed to carry cellphones inside the Fedex building, making contact with them difficult.
When “you’re not getting a text back from your kid and you’re not getting information and you still don’t know where they are … what are you supposed to do?” parent Mindy Carson said early Friday, fighting back tears.
Carson later said she had heard from her daughter, Jessica, who works in the building, and that she was OK.
Fedex chairman and chief executive Frederick Smith called the attack a “senseless act of violence.”
“This is a devastating day, and words are hard to describe the emotions we all feel,” he wrote in an email to employees.
The Marion County coroner’s office identified the dead as Matthew R Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jasvinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Skhon, 48; Karlie Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74.
String of mass killings
The killings were the latest in a string of recent mass shootings across the country and the third mass shooting this year in Indianapolis.
Five people, including a pregnant woman, were shot and killed in the city in January, and a man was accused of killing three adults and a child before abducting his daughter during an argument at a home in March.
In other states last month, eight people were fatally shot at massage businesses in the Atlanta
area, and 10 died in gunfire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colo.
On April 8, a gunman killed one and wounded five at a cabinet-making facility in Bryan, in east-central Texas, before also wounding a state trooper.
Experts and researchers have found common threads in America’s epidemic of mass shootings — some of which apply in Indianapolis. Active shooters tend to be male and, fueled by grievance, will often target a place they know. Mass attackers often nurse a sense of victimization.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the community must guard against resignation and “the assumption that this is simply how it must be, and we might as well get used to it.”
President Joe Biden said he had been briefed on the shooting and called gun violence “an epidemic” in the U.S.
“Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation,” he said in a statement. Later, he tweeted, “We can, and must, do more to reduce gun violence and save lives.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until April 20.
‘Are you ok, daddy’
One Indianapolis Fedex employee, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Tim, because his company had not authorized him to speak to the media, said he had been 10 minutes late to his 11 p.m. shift Thursday.
When he arrived, he wasn’t allowed into the building. He was soon evacuated from the premises as police responded to the shooting.
“If I had been 10 minutes early to work, could it have been me?” Tim asked. “Only the good Lord knows.”
When his phone buzzed with a message, he began to tear up. It was from his 7-year-old daughter.
“Are you ok, daddy? I love you.”
“When I get home tonight, I’m going to wrap up my little girl and actually tell her how much I love her,” he said, crying.
He texted back three words to answer her question.
“Yes I am.”