By Cameron McWhirter and Erin Mendell
A man shot and killed eight people and wounded others Thursday
night at a FedEx Corp. facility in Indianapolis before killing
himself, the city's police said, the third shooting of this scale
in recent weeks.
Around 11 p.m. Thursday, the gunman arrived at the facility's
parking lot, got out of his car and started shooting at people,
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief Craig McCartt said at
a news conference Friday morning. The man then entered the
building, shooting at more people before killing himself.
When police arrived, they found "an active and chaotic crime
scene," Deputy Chief McCartt said. The incident lasted only a few
minutes, and by the time police went inside the facility, "the
situation was over," he said.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Randal Taylor said
officers rushed to the incident and "when they arrived on the scene
they found something that really no one should see."
Police didn't identify the alleged shooter. Police and local FBI
agents were searching the home of a potential suspect, they said.
Authorities are working with FedEx to determine whether the alleged
shooter worked or had worked for the company, police said.
Five people were taken to local hospitals, police said. Two
others were treated at the scene and released. Of the deceased,
four were found in the parking lot and four inside the
Fred Smith, the founder and chief executive of FedEx, confirmed
Friday that eight workers were killed at the Indianapolis Ground
facility. In a message to employees, he said it would take some
time to understand what happened in "this senseless act of
Mr. Smith said the company was cooperating with law enforcement
and providing counselors to local employees and their families.
Deputy Chief McCartt said the Marion County coroner's office
would be working to identify the victims, a process he hoped would
be completed in the next 24 hours.
"What we are left with this morning is grief," said Indianapolis
Mayor Joe Hogsett at the news conference. Among those grieving
include "many Americans struggling to understand how tragedies like
this continue to occur again and again."
Mr. Hogsett, a Democrat, called on political leaders to find
solutions to reduce mass shootings.
"The eyes of the nation are on Indianapolis today in ways that
we would never have hoped for," he said.
Gun control is a priority for President Biden and his aides,
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday. Republicans have
opposed most Democratic gun proposals, though there are more
limited measures that could win bipartisan support.
"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," Mr. Biden said in a
statement. "Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should
not accept it. We must act."
The FedEx facility, more than 300,000 square feet, near the
Indianapolis airport is part of the company's FedEx Ground
operations, which mostly handles its e-commerce parcels. The
shooting occurred around the time of a late-night shift change at
the facility. Staff handling the midnight shift typically start at
11:30 p.m., according to FedEx job listings for that location.
FedEx didn't respond to questions about how many people work at the
site or were present at the time of the incident.
In certain areas of FedEx Ground facilities, only authorized
workers are allowed to have access to their phones, a company
spokeswoman said Friday. The policy aims to "minimize potential
distractions around package sortation equipment and dock
Deputy Chief McCartt said the cellphone policy didn't appear to
have delayed reporting the shooting to police. Many employees
didn't have their cellphones after the shooting, which delayed
their ability to reach family members, he said.
"That was certainly frustrating for those employees as well as
their families," he said.
FedEx and UPS facilities have experienced smaller shootings in
recent years. In June 2017, a UPS warehouse worker opened fire
during a morning meeting of delivery drivers in San Francisco,
killing three before turning the gun on himself.
In 2014, a worker at a FedEx facility in suburban Atlanta opened
fire at his workplace, wounding multiple people before killing
In recent weeks, there has been a rash of mass shootings in the
U.S., after comparatively few over the course of the Covid-19
pandemic. On March 16, a gunman killed eight people at spas in the
Atlanta area. Days later, another gunman killed 10 at a supermarket
in Boulder, Colo.
Mass shootings tend to come in clusters and when one occurs,
another is likely to follow, according to research by the Violence
Project, a mass-shooting database founded by criminology professors
Jillian Peterson and James Densley.
Valerie Bauerlein, Thomas Gryta and Catherine Lucey contributed
to this article.
Write to Cameron McWhirter at firstname.lastname@example.org and Erin
Mendell at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 16, 2021 13:19 ET (17:19 GMT)
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