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 facility.

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 violence."

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 operations."

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 himself.

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 cameron.mcwhirter@wsj.com and Erin Mendell at erin.mendell@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 16, 2021 13:19 ET (17:19 GMT)

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