By CASEY SMITH, INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Police were working Friday to identify a gunman and determine his motive for opening fire at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, killing eight people and taking his own life in the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S.
Deputy Chief Craig McCartt of the Indianapolis police said the gunman started randomly shooting at people in the parking lot late Thursday night and then went into the building and continued firing. He said the gunman apparently died by suicide 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.” 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.
Mass killings in the US
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.”
Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
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