A man identified by police as Brandon Hole, 19, opened fire outside a FedEx warehouse facility in Indianapolis late Thursday night before moving inside the facility, killing eight people and injuring several others. Hole is believed to have shot himself and is among the nine dead, according to police.
"FedEx officials have confirmed that Mr. Hole was an employee at the facility and that he was last employed in 2020," Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt said.
Friday evening, police released the names of those who were killed. They have been identified as Matthew R. Alexander,32, Samaria Blackwell, 19, Amarjeet Johal, 66, Jaswinder Kaur, 64, Jaswinder Singh, 68, Amarjit Sekhon, 48, Karlie Smith, 19, and John Weisert, 74.
The Sikh Coalition said four of the victims were Sikh and described the facility as "known to be heavily populated by Sikh employees." The group estimates that 8,000-10,000 Sikhs live in Indiana.
McCartt said, "This suspect came to this facility, got out of his car and quickly began some random shooting."
McCartt said investigators are trying to determine the motive.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan said the suspect's mother had reached out to law enforcement last March, warning that her son may attempt "suicide by cop."
"The suspect was placed on an immediate detention mental health temporary hold by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. 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," Keenan said. "No Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment and no criminal violation was found. The shotgun was not returned to the suspect."
McCartt said Hole killed four individuals outside and then entered the facility "for a brief period of time," killing four others and then taking his own life.
Four people who suffered gunshot wounds were treated in local hospitals, and a fifth person with an injury that was not firearms-related was also treated, he said.
McCartt said the shooting lasted "just a few minutes" and that by the time officers arrived on the scene, it was over.
The FedEx Ground-Plainfield Operation Center warehouse at 8951 Mirabel Road is about five miles from Indianapolis International Airport.
In a statement to NPR, FedEx said it was "deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members following the tragic shooting at our FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis."
"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," the statement said.
Police said it's unclear how many workers were on duty at the time of the shooting.
A witness said he was working inside the building when he heard a series of rapid gunshots.
"I see a man come out with a rifle in his hand and he starts firing and he starts yellin' 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."
Jeremiah Miller, who was about to start the second half of a double shift at the FedEx facility when the shooting took place, told WISH-TV that he and a co-worker, Timothy Boillat, heard up to 10 shots.
Miller said he saw a man with what he described as "a submachine gun of some sort, an automatic rifle."
Boillat told the TV station that he "didn't exactly see a person get shot but, after hearing the shooting, I did see a body on the floor behind a vehicle."
"Luckily, I was far enough away where he (the shooter) didn't notice me or see me. So, thank God for that," he said.
Indianapolis Mayor Joseph Hogsett said the city was "confronted with the horrific news of yet another mass shooting, an act of violence that senselessly claimed the lives of eight of our neighbors."
Hogsett, a Democrat, recently signed onto a letter with more than 150 mayors around the country asking the U.S. Senate to take up legislation to expand background checks required when firearms are transferred between private citizens and other gun-related measures.
President Biden, Vice President Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Ind., also weighed in on 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," the president said. "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," he added.
Harris said there is "no question this violence must end."
In a tweet, Buttigieg said: "No country should accept this now-routine horror. It's long past time to act."
An earlier version of this story misspelled Samaria Blackwell's last name as Backwell.