INDIANAPOLIS — Vigils are scheduled this weekend for the eight victims, ranging in age from 19 to 74, who were killed when a gunman carried out the country’s latest mass shooting at a FedEx facility, his former place of employment.
The community plans to gather for two memorials Saturday, and weekend remembrance events will culminate with a Sunday night vigil.
Police responded to the FedEx Ground facility on the city’s southwest side just after 11 p.m. Thursday for a report of shots fired at a business. Police encountered “a very chaotic and active crime scene” after a gunman fired at random both inside and outside the facility, Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt said at a news conference Friday.
Later Friday, McCartt identified the suspect as 19-year-old Brandon Hole of Indiana and said FedEx officials have confirmed Hole was a former employee who last worked at the facility in 2020. A motive for the shooting is not yet known, McCartt said.
Four people died outside and four died inside — plus the shooter who police believe died by suicide, McCartt said. Several others were injured.
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“The eyes of the nation are on Indianapolis today in ways that we would never have hoped for,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said Friday.
Here’s what we know Friday:
Who are the FedEx victims?
Eight people are dead and several others were injured.
The names of the victims who died in the shooting were released Friday by Indianapolis police:
At least four of those who died in the shooting were members of the Sikh community in Indianapolis, according to the Sikh Coalition. Sikhism is a non-proselytizing faith that does not seek converts and teaches that all faiths that worship God are basically different paths to the same God.
About 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States and more than 25 million live across the world, according to the Sikh Coalition.
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“We are deeply saddened to learn that Sikh community members are among those injured and killed by the gunman in Indianapolis last night,” coalition Executive Director Satjeet Kaur said in a statement.
“Our hearts and prayers are with their families, and we are in touch with community leaders, government and law enforcement officials to learn more. While we don’t yet know the motive or identity of the shooter, we expect that authorities will continue to conduct a full investigation — including the possibility of bias as a factor.”
FedEx prohibits employees from having their phones with them while they are working. McCartt said employees not having their phones did not affect police response time but may have added to frustration and confusion at the unification site.
Who is the suspect?
Brandon Scott Hole of Indianapolis is the suspected shooter, McCartt said.
A home in Indianapolis associated with Hole is among the multiple search warrants being executed Friday, he said. There, authorities have seized evidence, including desktop computers and other electronic media.
Police were also not able to confirm the specific weapon used, but McCartt said the gun was a rifle.
Hole was involved in previous police reports, one from 2020 and another from multiple years ago, McCartt said.
An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department report from March 3, 2020, references a mental health check for suicidal tendencies, and lists Hole, then 18, as being arrested. It says police seized a shotgun “from dangerous person.”
The report said the Behavioral Health Unit “initiated immediate detention on male reported to have voiced suicidal ideation.” It added Hole had purchased a gun within the last 24 hours and talked about suicide by police, a situation in which a person prompts police to kill them.
The details were confirmed in a statement Friday from FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan: “A shotgun was seized at his residence. Based on items observed in the suspect’s bedroom at that time, he was interviewed by the FBI in April 2020. No Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment and no criminal violation was found.”
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What happened during the shooting?
McCartt said Friday the shooting occurred over a short period of time.
“This suspect came to the facility, he got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility,” McCartt said.
“Then, he did go into the facility for brief time before he took his own life,” McCartt added.
At the time of the shooting, at least 100 people were in the facility, and many were changing shifts or on a dinner break, McCartt said.
Levi Miller, who works at the FedEx facility, told the “TODAY” show he was eating with co-workers when they heard several gunshots.
“I assumed it was a muzzle problem with a car,” he said. Miller was outside the building and then heard more than a dozen more shots fired rapidly. He stood up and saw a “hooded figure.”
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Miller said he thought the gunman saw him so he ducked for cover. He added that his friends at work told him another man not initially involved pulled out a gun from his truck to “try and engage the shooter.”
What to know about Indianapolis and the FedEx facility
The FedEx Indianapolis hub, which employs more than 4,500 team members, is the second-largest hub in the company’s global network, a representative told the IndyStar, part of the USA TODAY Network, in March.
Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, is about three hours (about 180 miles) southeast of Chicago and less than two hours (about 110 miles) west of Cincinnati.
What is FedEx saying?
FedEx issued a statement after the incident on Twitter, saying it is cooperating with authorities and working to get more information.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members following the tragic shooting at our FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis,” FedEx wrote in another statement released shortly after 4 a.m. “Our most heartfelt sympathies are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence. The safety of our team members is our top priority, and we are fully cooperating with investigating authorities.”
What is the White House saying?
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting and top White House aides have been in touch with local leaders on the ground, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act,” Biden said in a statement. He also ordered the flag at the White House to be lowered to half-staff for the fourth time in less than five weeks.
Psaki said the latest in a string of recent shootings shows why more action is needed on guns, pointing to Biden’s support of three bills that would tighten background checks that passed the House last month.
The shooting is one of 28 mass shootings in the U.S. in the month of April alone, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The archive defines a mass shooting as four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter. The archive include domestic incidents and is not limited to public mass shootings.
Contributing: Alexandria Burris, Domenica Bongiovanni and Sarah Nelson, Indy Star; Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; The Associated Press