Officers report former FedEx-employed teen opened fire at FedEx facility
Thursday night, a 19-year-old man opened fire outside and inside a FedEx Ground Facility in Indianapolis, killing eight people, wounding several others and then dying from a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted.
The suspected shooter was identified as Brandon Scott Hole of Indiana, but Indianapolis police said they have not yet discovered his motive.
However, officers confirmed he was a former employee at the facility (last employed in 2020) and known to federal and local authorities prior to the attack.
Mr. Hole’s name appeared in two previous police reports including one in 2020 in which a gun was seized, and a family member of his reached out to authorities warning about his potential for violence, according to CNN reports.
The department’s police chief said Mr. Hole started randomly shooting at people in the parking lot, killing four, and went inside to continue shooting, killing four more, all in a matter of a couple of minutes, according to The Associated Press.
President Joe Biden ordered flags be lowered to half-staff on Friday and said in a statement following the shooting, “Last night and into the morning in Indianapolis, yet again families had to wait to hear word about the fate of their loved ones. What a cruel wait and fate that has become too normal and happens every day somewhere in our nation. Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act.”
The police department noted that a “significant” number of employees at the facility are members of the Sikh community, and it was later confirmed that members of that community were among the killed and wounded. The Sikh Coalition reportedly called for authorities to conduct a full investigation into possible bias.
Names of the victims had not been released as of Friday afternoon.
Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County’s district attorney, told the News-Press that the shooting “brought immediate flashbacks” to the Goleta post office shootings that occurred in 2006, when Jennifer San Marco shot and killed eight people in Goleta, including herself. Ms. Dudley said this incident and the Indianapolis FedEx shooting are “eerily similar — painfully similar.”
“When I thought about the FedEx workers, I thought, ‘These are exactly the people who kept us safe when we all had to stay home,’” Ms. Dudley said. “We depended on the post office and FedEx to get us the supplies we needed, so they were our heroes.
“Once again, we’re seeing this horrible gun violence perpetrated on such vulnerable people, but people who are such a part of the fabric of America, especially highlighted during the COVID pandemic.”
There is no clear numerical definition of a mass shooting, but according to the standards of the Violence Project, Gun Violence Archive and Congress’ definition of “mass killings,” along with national media, the number tends to be four deaths or more, sometimes including the death of the shooter and sometimes not.
The Indianapolis shooting joins 10 other shootings with four deaths or above just in 2021, including: Evanston, Ill., on Jan. 9 with five deaths; Indianapolis on Jan. 24 with five deaths; Muskogee, Okla., on Feb. 2 with six deaths; Indianapolis again on March 13 with four deaths; Atlanta on March 16 with eight deaths; Boulder, Colo., on March 22 with 10 deaths; Essex, Md., on March 28 with four deaths; Orange, Calif., on March 31 with four deaths; Allen, Texas, on April 3 with four deaths; and Rock Hill, S.C., on April 7 with five deaths.
“I think it’s going to continue to grow until we decide to do something,” Ms. Dudley said. “We have a complacent culture of violence now which is shocking, and we have a president who’s recommended that we deal with it with two just very obvious laws — ghost guns and the red flag law … Why that’s not national at this point, I don’t know.”
However, the district attorney said she might know the answer as to why, and said that in order to be able to pass gun laws nationally, “We all need to personalize this.”
She said she’s seen city leaders with strong opposition to gun laws “suddenly put their partisanship aside” and pass gun laws when it happens in their town.
“People invest in it when it becomes personal,” she said. “These FedEx people were our FedEx people, our mail deliverers, our relatives — they were part of our family, and the minute we all personalize this, we’ll all be motivated to do more.”
Ms. Dudley also spoke to the ongoing debate of how mass shootings should be covered by the media, as some experts believe media coverage can inspire others to copy these actions or commit similar crimes, or try to kill more people than their predecessor, according to an article published by the National Center for Health Research.
“If it’s not news that eight of our local heroes, people who saved lives by going to work while we stayed home, are killed … If you don’t make that news, then what is news? Are we really just going to accept that it’s not even worthy of news the way a change in the weather would be?” she said. “That’s wrong, but on the same token, do we want to give any glory to the shooters? Of course not.
“I go back to my initial statement. This is news. This becomes so trivialized if we decide, (with) whatever issues in terms of the First Amendment, we’re not going to publicize this, then we’re not dealing with one of the most horrific tragic occurrences that can ever occur.”
Friday afternoon, President Biden demanded that Republicans in Congress take action on passing legislation expanding background checks and closing loopholes, referring to the string of mass shootings as a “national embarrassment.”