Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Nation & World

FBI says it interviewed Indiana FedEx mass shooter last year

His mother told agents her son might commit “suicide by cop.” He killed eight people, including four members of Indianapolis’ Sikh community.
A body is taken from the scene where multiple people were shot at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis on Friday. A gunman killed several people and wounded others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said.
A body is taken from the scene where multiple people were shot at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis on Friday. A gunman killed several people and wounded others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said. [ MICHAEL CONROY | AP ]
Published Apr. 18
Updated Apr. 18

INDIANAPOLIS — 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 said Friday.

Coroners released the names of the victims late Friday, a little less than 24 hours after the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S. 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 and amid ongoing attacks against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

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.

This photo released by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows Brandon Scott Hole.
This photo released by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows Brandon Scott Hole. [ AP ]

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.

“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 the slayings 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. Several people were wounded, including five who were taken to the hospital.

“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 11 p.m. 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 was married nearly 50 years.

Connie Nance raises her arms in prayer during a vigil at the Olivet Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis on Saturday for the victims of the shooting at a FedEx facility. A gunman killed eight people and wounded several others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said.
Connie Nance raises her arms in prayer during a vigil at the Olivet Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis on Saturday for the victims of the shooting at a FedEx facility. A gunman killed eight people and wounded several others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said. [ MICHAEL CONROY | AP ]

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.”

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.”

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 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 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.

Police Chief Randal Taylor noted that a “significant” number of employees at the FedEx facility are 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.

Members of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis prepare a communal meal in their Gurdwara building in Indianapolis on Saturday where the Sikh Coalition held a meeting to formulate the groups response to the shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis that claimed the lives of four members of the Sikh community. A gunman killed eight people and wounded several others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport.
Members of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis prepare a communal meal in their Gurdwara building in Indianapolis on Saturday where the Sikh Coalition held a meeting to formulate the groups response to the shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis that claimed the lives of four members of the Sikh community. A gunman killed eight people and wounded several others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport. [ MICHAEL CONROY | AP ]

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.”

Nikore remarked that gun violence in the U.S. “is reflective of all of the spineless politicians who are beholden to the gun lobby.”

FedEx Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Smith called the shooting 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.

Deputy Chief Craig McCartt of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department speaks at a news conference following a shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on Friday. A gunman killed several people and wounded others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said.
Deputy Chief Craig McCartt of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department speaks at a news conference following a shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on Friday. A gunman killed several people and wounded others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said. [ MICHAEL CONROY | AP ]

The killings marked 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 at 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, Colorado.

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.”

By Associated Press Writers Casey Smith and Rick Callahan. Associated Press reporters Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.