Sikh community ‘traumatised’ after shooting at US FedEx facility

Four members of local Sikh community killed in attack in US city of Indianapolis this week, advocacy group says.

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

The Sikh community in the US city of Indianapolis is in mourning, a Sikh advocacy organisation said on Saturday, after it confirmed that four community members were among those killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx facility this week.

In a statement, the Sikh Coalition said four Sikh community members were killed in the late-night attack in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Thursday, while others were injured and getting treatment at local hospitals.

Komal Chohan said his grandmother, Amarjeet Kaur Johal, was among those killed.

“I have several family members who work at the particular facility and are traumatized. My nani, my family, and 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 the coalition’s statement.

Eight people were killed when a gunman later identified as 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole opened fire at the facility.

In addition to 66-year-old Johal, US media have identified the victims as Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Jasvinder Kaur, 50; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74.

A local police official said Hole began firing at people in the parking lot, killing four, before entering the building, where he fatally shot four others and turned the gun on himself, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Police said Hole was a former employee, but his motives remain unclear.

“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,” Satjeet Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s executive director, said.

“Further traumatizing is the reality that many of these community members, like Sikhs we have worked with in the past, will eventually have to return to the place where their lives were almost taken from them.”

The United States has seen a string of mass shootings in recent weeks, including attacks on spas in the Atlanta area that killed eight, including six Asian women, and a shooting at a Colorado supermarket that left 10 dead.

Family members await information about their loved ones who work at the FedEx facility after the shooting [Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/USA Today Network via Reuters]

US President Joe Biden on Friday condemned the killings in Indianapolis and said more needs to be done to stem gun violence.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Biden unveiled executive actions to address gun violence, which he called an “epidemic” in the country.

The Asian American Advocacy Fund (AAAF) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, community groups that spoke out after the deadly attacks in that city last month, shared their condolences for the Indianapolis victims in a statement on Saturday.

“Once again we see that Asian Americans are at risk in their workplaces,” said AAAF Executive Director Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood. “This attack is traumatic for the Sikh community who continues to face senseless violence.”

Source: Al Jazeera