By Nora Naughton and Rebecca Davis O'Brien
INDIANAPOLIS -- A makeshift memorial sprung up and vigils were
planned Saturday for the victims of the mass shooting that killed
eight people, as law-enforcement officials continued to investigate
the shooter's motives.
Brandon Hole, a 19-year-old former employee of FedEx Corp .,
killed eight people and wounded several others before taking his
own life at the company's ground facility here Thursday night,
police said. Mr. Hole had been temporarily committed last year for
mental-health problems, and the FBI also confiscated a gun from him
last year, authorities said.
Late Friday, police released the names of those who died in the
shooting: Matthew Alexander, 32 years old; Samaria Blackwell, 19;
Amarjeet Kaur Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Sardar Jaswinder
Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert,
Among those killed were at least four members of the Sikh
community, according to the Sikh Coalition, a national advocacy
group, and executive director Satjeet Kaur said the coalition is in
touch with law-enforcement officials.
As with the shootings last month in Atlanta -- in which six of
the eight victims were women of Asian descent -- the preponderance
of Sikh victims in Thursday's shootings raised questions about
whether the attack was motivated by ethnic or religious animus.
"We fully expect that authorities should and will conduct a full
investigation -- including the possibility of bias as a factor,"
the coalition said in a statement.
"We are not ruling out any motive at this time," Paul Keenan,
special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's
Indianapolis office, said in a statement. The Indianapolis
Metropolitan Police Department is leading the investigation, he
"The FBI continues to work with IMPD and other law enforcement
partners to find a motive for this senseless act of violence, and
will be meticulous and thorough in our investigation and devote as
much time as needed to find answers for the victims' families," Mr.
At least three vigils were planned in the area Saturday,
including one at 1 p.m. at Olivet Missionary Baptist and a
candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. at Krannert Park.
K.P. Singh, a local designer and longtime member of the Sikh
community in Indianapolis, is working with faith leaders to honor
the victims of Thursday night's shooting at a service for the
religion's highest holy day on Sunday. He would like a portion of
the service, normally all in the Punjabi language, to be said in
English and is hoping all victims' family members will join for a
lunch after the service.
"This is normally a very joyous day for us, so this is adding a
large shadow," Mr. Singh said. He said while the Sikh community is
reeling from losing four of its own members, they also are grieving
the loss of their co-workers and friends who also died in the
"I hope we can come together and start thinking about what steps
we can take to keep all of our families, neighborhoods, schools and
workplaces safe -- not a month or a year from now, but right now,"
The Sikh community has been growing in Indianapolis since the
late 1990s, according to a history of the Sikh Satsang of
Indianapolis posted on a website for Butler University, a private
college located in Indianapolis. The local congregation has grown
from 50 to more than 1,000 community members in the last decade,
most of whom are from the Punjab region on the border of India and
Pakistan, the website says.
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded in India in the
1400s. Because some Sikhs wear turbans they sometimes are confused
with Muslims, and some Sikhs have been the targets for violence or
harassment in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In 2012, a white supremacist attacked a Sikh temple in Oak
Creek, Wis., killing six people and then himself. The incident is
still raw among Sikhs in the US.
The attack was the fourth public mass shooting in the U.S. in
which four or more people were killed this year, according to the
Violence Project, a mass shooting database maintained by two
university professors. When domestic violence and gang-related
attacks are added, there have been a total of 11 shootings in which
four or more people were killed this year, according to the
Saturday afternoon, on the other side of the city from the FedEx
facility where the shooting took place, gun enthusiasts gathered at
a gun and knife show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Some said
they were concerned that Mr. Hole had a gun after being
"I absolutely believe in background checks, and they should be
stronger, " said 24-year-old Christian Ritchey of Avon, Ind., as he
walked out of the Indy 500 Gun and Knife Show.
Another attendee Dr. Leo D'Ambrosio said he is more concerned
about access to mental-health care.
"It's far more important to make mental-health care accessible
to all Americans than any form of gun control," Dr. D'Ambrosio
Write to Nora Naughton at Nora.Naughton@wsj.com and Rebecca
Davis O'Brien at Rebecca.OBrien@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 17, 2021 13:22 ET (17:22 GMT)
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