Mon, 10 May 2021

Police Search for Motive in Indiana FedEx Shooting

Voice of America
19 Apr 2021, 08:05 GMT+10

Authorities are searching for a motive in the shooting death of eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, Thursday.

Police released the names of the eight victims. Four were identified as Sikhs: Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Amarjeet Johal, 66; and Jaswinder Singh, 68.

The other victims were identified as Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Karlie Smith, 19 and 74-year-old John Weisert. Seven people were also injured.

Police also said Saturday that the gunman, 19-year-old Brandon Hole, a former employee of the facility who took his own life after shooting the victims, legally bought the two assault rifles used in the attack, despite a "red flag" law in Indiana designed to prevent violent and unstable individuals from buying firearms.

Last year, police seized a gun from Hole's home after his mother called the authorities, worried that he may try to commit "suicide by cop," the Associated Press reported. That is when an individual behaves in a threatening manner and tries to provoke police to kill him or her.

FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan said in a statement Friday that the FBI had interviewed Hole in April 2020 and "no racially motivated violent extremism ideology" was identified during the investigation.

Aasees Kaur, legal client and community services manager of the Sikh Coalition reads a statement to the shooting at a FedEx facility at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, April 17, 2021. Aasees Kaur, legal client and community services manager of the Sikh Coalition, reads a statement on the shooting at a FedEx facility at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, April 17, 2021.

The Sikh community, many of whose members wear turbans and are often confused for Muslims, have been the targets of hate crimes across the United States since the September 11, 2001, attacks by Islamic extremists on the U.S. The most notable Sikh attack was the fatal shooting of seven Sikhs at the Oak Creek Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Wisconsin in 2012.

Indiana is home to an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Sikh Americans, according to reports.

"Given everything our community has experienced in the past - the pattern of violence, bigotry, and backlash we have faced - it is impossible not to feel that same pain and targeting in this moment," a statement released by eight Gurdwaras in the Indianapolis area read.

"We expect that the authorities will continue their full investigation and share what they learn when they can, and they will take this into account."

The statement also notes that the targeted FedEx facility is well known for having a largely Sikh workforce.

Police said Hole shot randomly at people outside the facility before entering the building and shooting at employees. Police said the shooting lasted only a couple of minutes and was over by the time officers arrived on the scene.

Thursday's shooting in Indianapolis is the latest in a recent spate of mass shootings in the United States that began on March 16, when a gunman shot eight people to death, including six Asian woman, at three Atlanta-area day spas.

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