At least eight people were killed and several others were injured, including at least four with gunshot wounds, in a shooting at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, near the city’s airport on Thursday, April 15, 2021, a police spokesperson said at a press conference. The lone suspect, who has not been identified, is dead, police said. Victims were shot inside and outside of the building, according to police.
The suspect was named by NBC News as Brandon Scott Hole, 19, of Indianapolis. Authorities have not formally released Hole’s name.
In a late-morning news conference on April 16, authorities said they were still working to make “positive identification” of the gunman. They were searching a home of a person they think is “potentially” the suspect. They aren’t sure whether he was an employee or had any connection to the facility, and they said the gunman showed up in a car and began shooting “randomly” in the parking lot before going inside. The motive remains unclear. Police described the suspect as a “young male, in his 20s.”
A deputy chief said in the news conference that authorities believe the suspect “came to the facility and when he came there, he got out of his car and pretty quickly began some random shooting outside the facility.” There was no argument, confrontation or disturbance. “He just appeared to randomly start shooting and then he went into the building.” Police confirmed the suspect used a rifle.
Officer Genae Cook, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson, told reporters at the press conference early Friday morning, April 16, “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 deceased here at the scene. We have been made aware of multiple other people with injuries who have been transported to local hospitals or who have transported themselves to local hospitals.” One victim is in critical condition, she said. The victims’ names have not been released. Including the shooter, nine people died in the incident, she said.
Cook added, “IMPD detectives are working with Indiana State Police detectives gathering information and interviewing, not just those who are here at the scene, but also those who have gone to area hospitals seeking medical treatment. … It is very heartbreaking. … The officers responded, they came in, they went in and they did their job. And a lot of them are trying to face this because this is a sight that no one should ever have to see.”
At one point in the initial police dispatch audio, which you can listen to later in this article, dispatchers said the suspect was described as a “white male wearing a hat” or hoodie and carrying a rifle-type weapon. Police later said the suspect had a .223 rifle, according to scanner audio. The shooter was found dead about 10 to 15 minutes after officers were first dispatched to the scene. Some witnesses told police there were multiple gunmen, but police said they do not believe there are any other suspects.
FedEx said in a now-deleted statement on Twitter after the mass shooting, “We are aware of the tragic shooting at our FedEx Ground facility near the Indianapolis airport. Safety is our top priority and our thoughts are with all those who are affected. We are working to gather more information and are cooperating with investigating authorities.” Later in the morning, FedEx released a statement on Twitter saying in part, “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members following the tragic shooting.”
According to job listings on the FedEx website, the facility includes a warehouse. There is also a self-service drop box at the location, according to the FedEx website.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Shooting Began Just After 11 p.m., Police Say, & the Suspect Was Found Dead of a Gunshot Wound to the Head
CNN’s Ana Cabrera reported that the suspect was on authorities’ radar before the mass shooting.
“Authorities were warned about FedEx suspect’s potential for violence in the past, sources say,” she wrote on Twitter. “The suspect in the Indianapolis mass shooting was known to federal and local authorities prior to the attack.”
Cabrera added, “A family member of the suspected shooter reached out to authorities warning about the suspect’s potential for violence, according to three law enforcement sources briefed on the matter.”
Cook said the shooting broke out just after 11 p.m. at the 8951 Mirabel Road facility in the southwest part of the city. She said officers “responded on the report of shots being fired at that business. As officers arrived they came into contact with an active shooter incident.” Police said they believe the shooter took his own life. Scanner reports indicated the suspect was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head.
“We have an active shooter currently at FedEx. They’re reporting at least five people shot,” said a dispatcher. Authorities have not yet shared a suspect name or motive.
“We have the suspect here inside it looks like. Looks like he has a gunshot wound to the head. Two rifles here,” an officer said in the audio. “Unless there’s another person out, this is going to be our suspect here.” Authorities said at one point, “We have four more down inside the building.” They also found two people in the parking lot and one person in the office.
You can listen to some of the earliest police dispatch audio below courtesy of Broadcastify. It captures police dealing with a flurry of initial reports as they discover victims and broadcast a suspect description.
2. A Witness Said a Man Pulled a Gun out of His Trunk During the Shooting, Which Happened Right Before a Shift Change
Cook did not provide any information about the suspect, who investigators believe died by suicide, at the initial press conference. When asked if the shooter was an employee at the FedEx facility, Cook said that was not yet known.
According to a job listing for a package handler at the facility, the shooting happened just before the shift change between the twilight sort, which starts at 5:30 p.m., and the midnight sort, which begins at 11:30 p.m.
A witness told Indy First Alert, “One guy showed up and pulled a gun out of his trunk and went inside. People were driving away, but then he started shooting at the cars driving away.” He said the shooting started in the parking lot and then continued in the building.
Another man said his niece was shot in the arm but is going to be OK.
The dispatcher said at one point that someone “had been shot,” according to the audio obtained by Heavy via Broadcastify. Then they said two to three were shot. Another dispatcher said a female was “screaming for help.” An officer said “another one is down by the building.” They said the hospitals should prepare for “multiple victims.” One person was described as “conscious, barely.”
“Do we have any living victims needing an ambulance?” an officer asked at one point.
“Person shot. He is outside in the parking lot,” another dispatcher said of another victim. “EMS is en route.”
“This made me stand up and actually look out the entrance door, and I saw a man with a submachine gun of some sort, an automatic rifle, and he was firing in the open,” Jeremiah Miller told WISH. “I immediately ducked down and got scared and my friend’s mother, she came in and told us to get inside the car.”
3. Videos Emerged From the Scene Showing a Large Police Response
Videos on social media showed a large response to the scene.
Sergeant John Perrine of the Indiana State Police tweeted at nearly midnight that “I-70 is closed in both directions between I-465 and Ronald Regan Parkway due to police activity in the area.”
Rafael Sánchez, a WRTV journalist, wrote on Twitter, “Initial details on mass casualty shooting at FedEx facility in Indy.” He said that “the first 911 call came in at 11:07 with people reporting, of course, someone shooting outside the building and then there were reports of people shooting inside of the building.” He said there were multiple injuries and people were hiding under conveyer belts inside.
Indiana Congressman Andre Carson, a Democrat who represents Indianapolis, tweeted, “I am heartbroken by the mass shooting at the FedEx facility here in Indianapolis and praying for all affected by this tragedy. I am communicating with local authorities to get all details of the attack and my office stands ready to help everyone affected any way we can.”
4. Family Members Were Told to Go to a Local Hotel to Meet With Loved Ones Who Survived the Shooting
Authorities searched people evacuating from the building. Families were told to meet relatives at a nearby hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, at 8555 Stansted Road. Cook, the police spokesperson, said the department’s victim’s assistance unit and chaplain’s office responded to the scene and the family unification center to help the families of the victims and the survivors.
Cook added, “People here at the scene are still being interviewed by detectives, so they may not have had an opportunity to contact their family. But as soon they are available to they will.” She also asked anyone who left the scene to seek medical treatment or for their safety to contact investigators at 317-262-TIPS or contact the homicide office at 317-327-3475.
The FedEx facility was expected to be closed for several hours while police investigated, authorities said. Cook said in the initial press conference that “those who are scheduled to work at the facility later in the day should contact their supervisors.”
5. The Police Spokesman Said ‘Emotions Are Very High Here’ & ‘There Are a Lot of Moving Parts’
Cook said in the press conference, “Emotions are very high here. There are a lot of people, not just officers, but family members who are still arriving and are still learning about this incident. This occurred after many went to bed and some are just now waking up to this. We ask for your continued support for everyone here involved. We understand there are a lot of moving parts and we ask for your patience as we gather the most accurate information.”
She added, “We in Indianapolis need to come together. We need to support each other and understand there are going to be people out there who are going to be emotionally upset and we need to support them. This is a tragedy.”
Cook added, “We’re still trying to ascertain the exact reason and cause for this incident.”