Indianapolis mass shooting suspect identified as former employee

Law enforcement says too early to assign motive in the shooting that killed at least eight people and wounded five others.

Family members await information about their loved ones who work at the FedEx facility after a mass shooting in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 16, 2021 [Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/USA Today Network via Reuters]

The man who police say was responsible for the overnight mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, that killed eight people Thursday was a former employee.

The shooter was identified as 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole of Indiana, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police deputy chief Craig McCartt announced Friday. Hole was a former employee who last worked at that FedEx facility in 2020, McCartt said.

Investigators searched a home in Indianapolis associated with Hole and seized evidence, including desktop computers and other electronic media, the officials said. The officials spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Meanwhile, Paul Keenan, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office, said Friday that agents questioned Hole after his mother called police to say that her son might commit “suicide by cop.” He says agents questioned Hole based on items found in his bedroom. He did not elaborate on what those items were. No crime was identified and the FBI says it did not identify Hole as espousing a racially motivated ideology.

The shooter started randomly firing at people late Thursday night in the FedEx facility’s parking lot and then went into the building and continued shooting, McCartt said. He said the shooter apparently killed himself shortly before police entered the building.

“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.”

A FedEx employee, Levi Miller, told NBC’s “Today” early Friday he saw a “hooded figure” holding what appeared to be an AR-style semi-automatic rifle who shouted and opened fire outside the facility.

Authorities did not give further information on motive, or the weapon used, as the investigation is ongoing with the assistance of the FBI.

Police are seen at a street following a shooting incident at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 16, 2021, in this still image taken from a video [Kevin Powell/Indy First Alert via Reuters]

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett told reporters the city has “our victim assistance counselors, we have our chaplains at a nearby hotel … which is where we had family meet them. Obviously there are families who are still trying to locate loved ones and family members so we continue to stand by their side until such time when we can either locate those family members or identify them as a victim that we have on scene”.

Hogsett said White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain had reached out via text.

Klain is a “North Central High School grad from Indianapolis, Indiana, so it was not at all unusual that he would reach out to me”, Hogsett said. “Basically the offer was ‘anything you need, mayor. We stand ready to assist.'”

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

“Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act,” he added.

Biden has made a recent push for increased gun control regulations, including universal background checks, which he calls “common sense”. The White House ordered flags flown at half staff out of respect for the victims on Friday.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a Friday briefing that Biden believes gun violence is “a public health crisis, it’s destroying communities across the country. He’s also been working on this issue for decades, and … he would tell you that we can’t give up just because it’s hard”.

Psaki called into question a lack of legislative action on the issue, even though “more than 80 percent of the public supports universal background checks, and yet the Senate has not moved forward.”

Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters on Friday there is “no question this violence must end”.

When asked what moves he would like to see, Hogsett told reporters he signed a letter with over 150 US mayors asking for the United States Senate to consider legislation that would expand background checks to be required when firearms are transferred between private citizens.

The US has seen a recent increase in mass shootings as the country begins to open following a year of widespread closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shooting at the FedEx facility was the third such event this year in Indianapolis. 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 an argument at a home in March.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies