(Associated Press) 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 began the slow process of identifying the victims as family members spent hours agonizing over word of their loved ones. The slayings Thursday night marked the latest in a string of recent mass shootings to rock the U.S.
The shooter was identified as Brandon Scott Hole 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. The home is located in a neighborhood of midcentury houses near Interstate 465. Several people who live there declined to speak to an AP reporter Friday.
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.
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 Thursday’s shooting but added that law enforcement officers seized a gun from him last year.
Hole started randomly firing at people in the parking lot and then went into the building and continued shooting late Thursday night, McCartt said. He said the shooter apparently killed himself shortly before police entered the building. 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 four people were killed outside the FedEx processing facility and another four inside. Several people were also wounded, including five taken to the hospital.
The carnage took just a couple of minutes. “It did not last very long,” he said.
Officials with the coroner’s office said they have not been able to get to the scene to identify the victims because evidence is still being collected.
In the wake of the shootings, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the community must guard against resignation and “the assumption that this is how it must be and we might as well get used to it.”
It was the latest in a recent string of mass shootings across the U.S. Last month, eight people were fatally shot at massage businesses across the Atlanta area, and 10 died in gunfire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.
It was at least the third mass shooting this year in Indianapolis alone. Five people, including a pregnant woman, were shot and killed 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.
A witness said that he was working inside the building 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.”
Family members gathered at a nearby hotel to await word on loved ones — and some employees were bused there for tearful reunions. But hours later, some people said they still had no information about their relatives. Most employees aren’t allowed to carry cellphones inside the FedEx building, making contact with them difficult.
“When you see notifications on your phone, but you’re not getting a text back from your kid and you’re not getting information and you still don’t know where they are … what are you supposed to do?” said Mindy Carson, holding back tears in the early hours of Friday. Her daughter, Jessica, works in the facility and she had not heard from her.
Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until April 20, and he and others decried the shooting, with some noting how frequent such attacks are.
“We wake up once more to news of a mass shooting, this time in Indiana. No country should accept this now-routine horror. It’s long past time to act,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who is from Indiana, tweeted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “horrified and heartbroken” by the shooting in Indianapolis and called for congressional action on gun control.
“As we pray for the families of all affected, we must work urgently to enact commonsense gun violence prevention laws to save lives & prevent this suffering,” the Democratic leader said in a tweet.
President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were both briefed on the shooting, and Biden’s chief of staff and homeland security adviser have been in touch with local leaders and law enforcement officials in Indianapolis.
Chris Bavender, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Indianapolis office, said that they are helping the police with the investigation.
A man told WTTV that his niece was sitting in the driver’s seat of her car when the gunfire erupted, and she was wounded.
“She got shot on her left arm,” said Parminder Singh. “She’s fine, she’s in the hospital now.”