The former employee who shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis was interviewed by FBI agents last year, after his mother called police to say that her son might commit “suicide by cop”, the bureau has revealed.
Coroners released the names of the victims late Friday, a little less than 24 hours after the latest mass shooting to rock the US. Four of them were members of Indianapolis’ Sikh community. The attack was another blow to the Asian American community, a month after six people of Asian descent were killed in a mass shooting in the Atlanta area.
The shooter was identified as Brandon Scott Hole, 19, of Indianapolis, deputy police chief Craig McCartt told a news conference. Investigators searched a home in Indianapolis associated with Hole and seized evidence, including desktop computers and other electronic media, McCartt said.
Hole began firing randomly at people in the parking lot of the FedEx facility late Thursday, killing four, before entering the building, fatally shooting four more people and then turning the gun on himself, McCartt said. He said he did not know if Hole owned the gun legally.
McCartt said the killings took place in a matter of minutes, and that there were at least 100 people in the facility at the time. Many were changing shifts or were on their dinner break, he said.
Paul Keenan, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office, said Friday that agents questioned Hole last year after his mother called police to say that 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 elaborate on what they were. He said agents found no evidence of a crime and that they did not identify Hole as espousing a racially motivated ideology.
A police report obtained by 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 was a former employee of FedEx and last worked for the company in 2020. The deputy police chief said he did not know why Hole left the job or if he had ties to the workers in the facility. He said police have not yet uncovered a motive for the shooting.
Indianapolis police chief, Randal Taylor, noted that a “significant” number of employees at the FedEx facility were members of the Sikh community, and a civil rights organization, 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 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”.
Nikore said that gun violence in the US “is reflective of all of the spineless politicians who are beholden to the gun lobby”.
The Marion county coroner’s office identified the dead 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.
“You deserved so much better than this,” a man who identified himself as the grandson of Johal tweeted Friday evening. Johal had planned to work a double shift Thursday so she could take Friday off, according to the grandson, who would not give his full name but identifies himself as “Komal” on his Twitter page. Johal later decided to grab her check and go home, and still had the check in her hand when police found her, Komal said.
“(What) a harsh and cruel world we live in,” he added.
Smith, the youngest of the victims, was last in contact with her family shortly before 11pm Thursday, family members said in social media posts late Friday. Dominique Troutman, Smith’s sister, waited hours at the Holiday Inn for an update on her sister. “Words can’t even explain how I feel. … I’m so hurt,” Troutman said in a Facebook post Friday night.
Weisert had been working as a bag handler at FedEx for four years, his wife, Carol, told WISH-TV. The couple had been married nearly 50 years.