Four Sikh Americans among eight killed in Indianapolis shooting

(Updated at 5:51 am EDT, April 17, 2021)

Victims are members of the local Sikh community; gunman once worked at the FedEx facility.

Four of the eight people killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis on Thursday night are Sikh Americans, Indianapolis police have confirmed. They are Amarjeet Kaur Johal (66), Jaswinder Kaur (64), Jaswinder Singh (68) and Amarjit Sekhon (48).

The gunman has been identified as Brandon Scott Hole, a 19-year-old former employee of the FedEx Ground station. He was found dead in what is believed to be a suicide nearby, police said.

It was a Sikh civil and human rights group that first confirmed the deaths of the four members of the community. “We are sad to confirm that at least four of those killed in Thursday night’s attacks are members of the Indianapolis Sikh community,” the Sikh Coalition tweeted Friday evening.

Later, in a press release, the group said the number is “subject to change for the worse as more information becomes publicly available and those who were injured are treated at area hospitals.”

Johal is the maternal grandmother of local community member Komal Chohan. “We are still working to identify others who were injured and killed on Thursday night,” he said in the release. “I have several family members who work at the particular facility and are traumatized. My nani, my family, and our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere. Enough is enough–our community has been through enough trauma.”

“I have sat with families from our community and so many others at the Holiday Inn Express as they wait to hear the fates of their loved ones,” another local Sikh community member, Maninder Singh Walia, said. “These kinds of violent attacks are a threat to all of us. Our community has a long road of healing–physically, mentally, and spiritually–to recover from this tragedy.”

“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of this horrific violence,” said Satjeet Kaur, the Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition. “While we don’t yet know the motive of the shooter, he targeted a facility known to be heavily populated by Sikh employees, and the attack is traumatic for our community as we continue to face senseless violence. Further traumatizing is the reality that many of these community members, like Sikhs we have worked with in the past, will eventually have to return to the place where their lives were almost taken from them.”

In a press release issued on Friday night, the Embassy of India in Washington, DC, offered “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.”

“Our Consulate in Chicago is in touch with the local authorities in Indianapolis as well as the community leaders, and will render all possible assistance, as required,” the statement said. “The Consul General has spoken to the Mayor of Indianapolis, who has assured full support. We are closely monitoring the situation and remain ready to provide all possible assistance.”

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As the American Bazaar reported Friday morning, an Indian American woman was among several persons wounded during the shooting.

The Indian American woman, who was not identified by name, was in her car when a gunman started shooting Thursday night, her uncle told CBS4 at the scene.

“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.

Singh told the channel his niece did not know who the shooter was. Another man told CBS4 that his wife works in the facility. She texted him to tell him that there was an active shooter at the facility.

“My wife works in there and she texted me to tell me there’s an active shooter and we communicated back and forth for a while, she’s since notified me she’s okay,” Ian Johnston was quoted as saying.

“After I communicated with her for a while, then it went silent for a while, so I came here just to see what was going on and she texted me I’m okay.”

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department confirmed just before 7 a.m. Friday that the FBI will assist them in the investigation, CBS4 reported.

IMPD said the shooting happened at the FedEx ground facility in the 8900 block of Mirabel Road. When officers arrived around 11 pm, they encountered an active shooter incident.

“After a preliminary search of the grounds inside and out, we have located eight people at the scene with injuries consistent to gunshot wounds. Those eight were pronounced dead here at the scene,” said Officer Genae Cook with IMPD during an overnight news conference.

Preliminary information from the department indicated the shooter took his own life, Cook said.

Eight victims at the scene were pronounced dead. Police did not include the shooter in that toll. Several others wounded in the shooting were transported to area hospitals. There were multiple walk-ins at hospitals, Cook said.

“This morning, Indianapolis residents are confronted with the horrific news of yet another mass shooting, an act of violence that senselessly claimed the lives of eight of our neighbors,” said Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett in response to the shooting Friday.

“As law enforcement works to learn more about this tragedy, our prayers are with the families of those whose lives were cut short.”

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members following the tragic shooting at our FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis,” FedEx said in a statement.

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.”

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