Sikh community mourns loss of four in Indianapolis FedEx mass shooting

At least four of the eight employees who were killed during the FedEx mass shooting in Indianapolis late Thursday night were members of the Sikh community.

The Sikh Coalition, which is the nation’s largest Sikh civil rights and advocacy organization, confirmed the tragic news on Saturday.

“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 group said in a statement.

Komal Chohan, a member of the coalition, said that her maternal grandmother, Amarjeet Kaur Johal, 66, “is among those killed in the senseless shooting.”

“Our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere. Enough is enough — our community has been through enough trauma,” Chohan said in a statement, adding that several of her family members who work at the FedEx facility where the shooting occurred “are traumatized.”

Police officers stand behind caution tape near a crime scene on April 16, 2021 in Indianapolis.Jon Cherry / Getty Images

In addition to Chohan’s grandmother, Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Jasvinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74, were killed in the shooting, according to Marion County Coroner’s Office. Four others who were shot and another who was injured were taken to hospitals, officials said. Their conditions were unknown Saturday.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of this horrific violence,” Sikh Coalition Executive Director Satjeet Kaur said. “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.”

Over the last two decades, Indianapolis’ Sikh population has experienced significant growth, according to the group, which estimates that 8,000 to 10,000 Sikh Americans have made Indiana their home.

Law enforcement officials identified the gunman as Brandon Scott Hole, 19. According to FedEx, Hole was a former employee at the facility.

Investigators said there was no disturbance or argument prior the shooting, which lasted about two minutes. Hole killed himself shortly before police arrived, Craig McCartt, deputy chief of criminal investigations for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said, adding that investigators believe he had a rifle. While motives for the attack remain unclear, about a year ago, his mother said she feared her son might be suicidal.

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“In March 2020, the suspect’s mother contacted law enforcement to report he might try to attempt suicide by cop,” said Paul Keenan, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office. The phrase “suicide by cop” refers to a self-destructive person who intentionally draws the attention of police in hopes of a deadly confrontation.

“We are devastated at the loss of life caused as a result of Brandon’s actions; through the love of his family, we tried to get him the help he needed,” Hole’s family told NBC affiliate WTHR on Saturday in a statement. “Our sincerest and most heartfelt apologies go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy. We are so sorry for the pain and hurt being felt by their families and the entire Indianapolis community.”

The mass shooting at the Indianapolis FedEx facility is the deadliest workplace shooting since February 2020, around the start of the pandemic in the U.S., when five people were slain after a co-worker opened fire at the Molson Coors headquarters in Milwaukee, according to statistics compiled by NBC News.

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A series of vigils will be held over the weekend as Indianapolis residents grapple with their third high-profile shooting this year.

Mourners gathered outside the Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis to pray at a vigil for the victims of the FedEx shooting on Saturday afternoon.

A candlelight vigil is also planned for Saturday night at Krannert Park, on the west side of Indianapolis, where community members will gather in prayer to support the families whose loved ones died during the shooting. A similar vigil will also be hosted on Sunday night on the steps of City Hall, WTHR reported.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.