INDIANAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — Police scoured a FedEx facility in Indianapolis and searched the suspected gunman’s home Friday looking for a motive for the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S., as family members of the eight victims spent agonizing hours awaiting word on their loved ones.
The shooter was identified as 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole of Indiana, a former employee at the facility last employed there in 2020, Deputy Chief Craig McCartt said in a Friday afternoon press briefing. The FBI also said agents questioned him last year.
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.
Earlier, Keenan said it would be “premature to speculate” on the gunman’s motive. McCartt said Hole had been a subject of previous police reports, including one in March 2020 when a gun was seized. He was unsure if the rifle used in the shooting was legally or illegally obtained.
His stepsister described Hole as “isolated” in an exclusive interview with NewsNation affiliate WXIN-TV.
“He never got the help that he needed,” she said.
Indianapolis police said that they had not yet discovered the gunman’s motive for opening fire with a rifle late Thursday night at a FedEx processing center near the Indianapolis airport. Officials said they were unaware if Hole had been terminated by FedEx or not.
McCartt of the Indianapolis police said the gunman started randomly shooting at people in the parking lot late Thursday night during a shift change and then went into the building, where he shot himself shortly before police entered the facility.
“What we did find was the suspect came to the facility, he got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility,” McCartt said. “There was no confrontation, no disturbance, he just randomly started shooting.”
McCartt said four people were killed outside the building and another four inside. He said the shooting lasted “just a couple minutes.”
The gunman had shot and killed himself by the time police responded to the scene, according to investigators.
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. McCartt said as of Friday afternoon, not all victims’ families have been notified.
Federal investigators are assisting police in a search of the suspect’s home and helping to conduct witness interviews, Keenan said.
President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday his thoughts are with the families of the victims and those wounded. He said gun violence in the country is an epidemic that Americans should not accept.
Last week, I called on the Justice Department to better protect Americans from gun violence. I also urged Congress to hear the call of the American people – including the vast majority of gun owners – to enact commonsense gun violence prevention legislation, like universal background checks and a ban of weapons of war and high-capacity magazines.
Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation. We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives.
God bless the eight fellow Americans we lost in Indianapolis and their loved ones, and we pray for the wounded for their recovery.
President Joe Biden
Five were taken to the hospital by ambulance that officers knew of, and two were treated and released at the scene. It’s unclear if all of them were shot. lMPD Public Information Officer Genae Cook said others took themselves to the hospital and police were still working to get an accurate count.
“There are going to be people out there who are emotionally upset and we need to support them,” Cook said. “We understand there are a lot of moving parts and we ask for your patience as we gather the most accurate information.”
Previously, IMPD had said four people were taken to the hospital by ambulance, but a Friday morning news release upped the number to five.
Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said in a statement Friday he ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until April 20.
This is another heartbreaking day and I’m shaken by the mass shooting at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis. Indiana State Police are working with local responders and we will continue to offer any and all resources needed to assist during this tragedy. In times like this, words like justice and sorrow fall short in response for those senselessly taken. Our thoughts are with the families, friends, coworkers and all those affected by this terrible situation.
Gov. Eric J. Holcomb
Hundreds of people are employed at that FedEx location. It’s unclear how many were working at the time.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members following the tragic shooting at our FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis,” a FedEx statement released just before 4 a.m. ET said. “Our most heartfelt sympathies are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence. The safety of our team members is our top priority, and we are fully cooperating with investigating authorities.”
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.
One of the victim’s family members spoke with NewsNation affiliate WXIN and says his niece was in her car when a gunman started shooting at her vehicle.
“She called as I was asleep at home. She said there was a shooting in the FedEx. So we just drove from Brownsburg,” said Parminder Singh, the uncle of one of the victims.
She was shot in the arm, but he says she’s okay. Singh says she did not know who the shooters were.
The Sikh Coalition issued a statement, saying some of its community members were among the dead and injured:
We are also sad to share that we have learned that Sikh community members are among those killed and injured during the shooting. While we are unable to share more information about the victims at this time, we wanted to offer ourselves as a resource to you as you continue to report on this tragedy. We don’t yet have information about the motive or identity of the shooter, but given that Sikhs are among the victims and those injured, we fully expect that authorities should and will conduct a full investigation–including the possibility of bias as a factor.
NewsNation affiliate WXIN contributed to this story