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Motive unknown after 8 killed at Indianapolis FedEx facility

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8 killed in shooting at Indianapolis FedEx facility
8 killed in shooting at Indianapolis FedEx fa... 03:49

A 19-year-old gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis late Thursday night, killing eight people before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said. Police identified the suspect as Brandon Scott Hole, a former FedEx employee.

The FBI was searching his home for clues Friday but there was still no motive. Last year, law enforcement seized a shotgun from Hole after his mother said he might try to get himself killed by police, officials said. 

The eight victims who died were all employees of the company, FedEx said. Hole was last employed by the company in 2020, said Craig McCartt, the deputy chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

The gunman carried out the rampage with a rifle, McCartt said, adding that he didn't know if the gunman had obtained it illegally.

Witnesses told investigators the rampage started shortly after the gunman arrived at the facility near Indianapolis' airport, McCartt said.

"He got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility," McCartt said. "There was no confrontation with anyone that was there. There was no disturbance. There was no argument. He just appeared to randomly start shooting, and that began in the parking lot."

FedEx shooting
People embrace after learning their loved one was safe after a mass shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis on April 16, 2021. Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/USA Today Network via Reuters
 

FedEx says suspected gunman worked for the company for 2 months

In a Friday statement remembering the victims of the shooting, FedEx said the suspected gunman worked at the facility where the shooting occurred for a two-month period in 2020. It did not provide additional details about why the suspect left the company. 

"Violence of any kind has no place in our society or our workplace, and the safety of our team members will always be our top priority," the company said.

By Victoria Albert
 

At least 4 members of Sikh community killed in shooting, coalition says

At least four members of the Sikh community were killed in Thursday night's shooting, the Sikh Coalition said Friday

"Sadly, we acknowledge that this number is subject to change for the worse as more information becomes publicly available and those who were injured are treated at area hospitals," the coalition said in a statement. 

"While we don't yet know the motive of the shooter, he targeted a facility known to be heavily populated by Sikh employees, and the attack is traumatic for our community as we continue to face senseless violence," the coalition's executive director said in the statement.  

The coalition identified Amarjeet Kaur Johal as one of the Sikhs killed. It said it was not naming the other Sikh victims at this time out of respect for their families. 

"My nani, my family, and our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere," Johal's grandchild said in the statement. "Enough is enough--our community has been through enough trauma." 

By Caitlin Yilek
 

Deceased victims identified by police

Indianapolis police on Friday identified the eight people who were killed in the shooting. 

The deceased victims were identified as 32-year-old Matthew R. Alexander, 19-year-old Samaria Blackwell, 66-year-old Amarjeet Johal, 64-year-old Jaswinder Kaur, 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh, 48-year-old Amarjit Sekhon, 19-year-old Karli Smith, and 74-year-old John Weisert. 

By Victoria Albert
 

At least 100 people at FedEx facility at the time of the shooting

There were at least 100 people in the facility when the gunman opened fire, police said Friday. Many were changing shifts and on their dinner breaks, police added. 

By Victoria Albert
 

Authorities seized shotgun from gunman last year

In a statement, FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan said a shotgun was seized from the gunman after his mother told authorities in March 2020 he might try to get himself killed by a law enforcement officer. The shotgun wasn't returned to him, Keenan said.

Last April, the FBI interviewed the gunman. "No Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment," Keenan said.

The gunman carried out Thursday night's rampage with a rifle, Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt told reporters. He said he didn't know if the gunman had obtained it illegally.

By Alex Sundby
 

Gunman used to work at FedEx facility

During a Friday afternoon press conference, Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt said the gunman used to work at the FedEx facility and he was last employed by the company in 2020.

Investigators haven't found a motive for the shooting, McCartt said.

By Alex Sundby
 

"This is a devastating day," FedEx chief says

FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick Smith called the shooting that left eight of the company's employees dead a "senseless act of violence" and a tragedy.

"This is a devastating day, and words are hard to describe the emotions we all feel," Smith wrote in a message to workers Friday.

Smith said counselors were being made available to employees.

"Our priority right now is in responding to the situation on the ground and helping our team members and law enforcement," he said.

By Alex Sundby
 

Sources identify gunman

Two sources told CBS News the gunman's name is Brandon Scott Hole.

By Alex Sundby
 

Biden calls shooting "the latest in a string of tragedies"

President Biden called the shooting "the latest in a string of tragedies." In a statement, the president said he ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House, federal buildings and U.S. military posts and embassies, noting that he last gave such an order two weeks ago, when a U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed outside the Capitol.

"Last night and into the morning in Indianapolis, yet again families had to wait to hear word about the fate of their loved ones," Mr. Biden said. "What a cruel wait and fate that has become too normal and happens every day somewhere in our nation."

The president renewed his call for Congress to approve universal background checks on gun sales and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence," Mr. Biden said. "It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation."

By Alex Sundby
 

Authorities search home possibly tied to gunman

While authorities haven't confirmed the gunman's identity or whether he was a FedEx employee, Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt said a potential home for the gunman was being searched.

Authorities also haven't identified the eight victims. A Marion County coroner's official said coroner's investigators weren't able to enter the crime scene while evidence was being collected.

In the afternoon, the police department said on Twitter the coroner's office was on scene conducting its investigation.

By Alex Sundby
 

Authorities searching for a motive

Authorities said Friday morning they don't know the motive for the rampage.

"With less than 12 hours since the shooting, it would be premature to speculate on that motivation," FBI Special Agent Paul Keenan told reporters during a press conference.

Witnesses told investigators the rampage started shortly after the gunman arrived at the FedEx facility, Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt said.

"He got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility," McCartt said. "There was no confrontation with anyone that was there. There was no disturbance. There was no argument. He just appeared to randomly start shooting, and that began in the parking lot."

By Alex Sundby
 

"My initial thought was don't die and escape"

8 people killed in shooting at FedEx facility... 03:16

Jeremiah Miller was outside the FedEx facility about to start his second shift when he said he saw the gunman's weapon.

"I hear six shots fired at once, you know, at a time: bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang," he said.

He said he took cover then started warning other employees.

"My initial thought was don't die and escape," Miller said. "But then when I started seeing everybody roll up from midnight shift, I had felt the need to help people. I felt the need to warn people."

Multiple bullets even struck a car in the parking lot, blowing out its windows.

After the shooting, facility workers were rushed into buses and taken to a nearby hotel to reunite with anxious loved ones.

By Charlie De Mar
 

Gunman likely used some kind of rifle, investigator says

Indianapolis official on FedEx shooting 03:09

The gunman in the FedEx facility had probably taken his own life by the time police arrived, according to Indianapolis Deputy Chief of criminal investigations Craig McCartt.

"We're working as quickly as we can," he said on "CBS This Morning" Friday. "We're working with families. We have a reunification center right now that's up and running at a nearby hotel. We have our victim assistance units there to assist in that process. But the crime scene processing -- it takes time."

The shooting happened both inside and outside the facility, McCartt said. 

The gunman likely used some kind of rifle, he added, and details about the shooter and his motive are still being investigated.

McCartt said the deceased victims haven't been identified.

He confirmed that four people were taken from the scene with gunshot wounds and another with wounds that were "possibly from shrapnel." He said all five were in stable condition.

Asked about a possible timeline for the investigation, he said it was too early to tell. "We don't have an idea now. It's certainly going to take some more hours to complete that," McCartt said. "And I don't expect to really have any more significant information until probably later this afternoon at the earliest." 

By Elizabeth Elkind
 

FedEx policy on workers' cellphones in focus

Several family members of employees at the Indianapolis FedEx facility told the CBS affiliate there, WTTV, that workers aren't allowed to have cellphones on them while they're on the job. Many just keep their devices in lockers. The relatives said that made it much more difficult to get in touch with their loved ones after the shooting.

Charise Grice told the station her nephew, Raymond, works there and, "We don't know if my nephew is OK or not. We've been calling his phone, texting him. They said their phones are locked up, they can't have them at work."

In a statement to CBS News on Friday, FedEx said, "To minimize potential distractions around package sortation equipment and dock operations, cell phone access within certain areas of FedEx Ground field operations is limited to authorized team members.

"Our immediate priorities are the safety and well-being of our team members and cooperation with law enforcement at this time."

By Brian Dakss
 

Emotional scene as families wait for word on loved ones

Family members who didn't know the whereabouts of FedEx workers believed to have been in the facility at the time of the shooting were told to go to a nearby Holiday Inn Express.

Darius Johnson, of CBS Indianapolis affiliate WTTV, captured the moments after one family learned of his or her fate:

By Brian Dakss
 

Congressman says he's "heartbroken"

Democratic Representative Andre Carson, of Indianapolis, took to Twitter early Friday, saying he's "heartbroken":

By Brian Dakss
 

"Very heartbreaking" and "a tragedy"

After calling the shooting "very heartbreaking," Indiana Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Genae Cook reflected on the toll it was already taking and would continue to take on law enforcement and the entire community.

"The officers responded, they came in and did their job," she said early Friday. "A lot of them are trying to face this, because this is a sight that no one should ever have to see. But we ... need to come together, we need to support each other and understand that there are going to be people out there that are going to be emotionally upset, and we need to support them.

"This is a tragedy. But through it all, we will come through it."

By Brian Dakss
 

"Emotions are very high here here"

After saying "emotions are very high here here," Indiana Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Genae Cook pointed out to reporters early Friday that, "There are a lot of ... family members who are still arriving and still learning about this incident. This occurred after many went to bed and some are just now waking up to this. We ask for your continued support for everyone here involved."

By Brian Dakss
 

Intense investigation underway

Detectives from the Indiana Metropolitan Police Department as well as Indiana State Police were interviewing victims and others at the scene to get a clearer picture of what happened, IMPD spokesperson Genae Cook told reporters early Friday.

They're asked anyone who left the scene for any reason to call IMPD or Crime Stoppers to report any information they may have.

The FBI told CBS News it hasn't been asked to join the investigation but stands ready to.

By Brian Dakss
 

Worker's husband rushed to scene

A man whose wife works in the facility told WTTV she texted him to say there was an active shooter there.

"She texted me to tell me there's an active shooter and we communicated back and forth for a while. She's since notified me she's OK," said Ian Johnson.

"After I communicated with her for a while, then it went silent for a while, so I came here just to see what was going on and she texted me I'm OK."

Johnson said you never think something like this might happen, but it always can.

By Brian Dakss
 

Victim shot in arm as she sat in car, uncle says

The uncle of one victim says she was shot in the upper left arm as she sat in her car in a parking lot at the FedEx facility.

"She's fine. She's in the hospital now," Parminder Singh told WTTV. 

"She called as I was asleep at home. She said there was a shooting in the FedEx. So we just drove from Brownsburg," he said.

He said his niece did not know the gunman.

indianapolis-fedex-mass-shooting-041521.jpg
Scene at parking lot of FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis late on April 15, 2021. WTTV
By Brian Dakss
 

FedEx comments on "tragic shooting"

FedEx issued a statement early Friday saying it's "aware of the tragic shooting at our FedEx Ground facility near the Indianapolis airport. Safety is our top priority, and our thoughts are with all those who are affected. We are working to gather more information and are cooperating with investigating authorities."  

By Brian Dakss
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