Sikh community demands answers after FBI says Indianapolis FedEx shooting NOT a hate crime

Indianapolis

A shooting that killed eight victims including four Sikh Americans at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis in April was not motivated by hate, the FBI and local authorities announced on Wednesday.

Investigation results: After going through 120 interviews and 150 pieces of evidence, investigators found no evidence that the suspect Brandon Scott Hole committed his crimes “to address perceived injustices or to advance an ideology.” Instead, they concluded that the 19-year-old — who killed himself after murdering his victims — performed “an act of suicidal murder,” according to the Indianapolis Star.

  • The shooting, which Hole had planned for at least nine months, occurred at the FedEx Ground Facility on Maribel Road on April 15. The Sikh victims were Jaswinder Singh, 70; Amarjeet Kaur Johal, 66; Jasvinder Kaur, 50; and Amarjit Sekhon, 49.
  • Hole had World War II, Nazi and white supremacist content on his computer, but those accounted for a small fraction of 175,000 files that authorities found, according to NBC News. “There was no indication that there was any animosity towards the Sikh community, or any other group for that matter,” Paul Keenan, the Indianapolis FBI special agent in charge, told reporters on Wednesday.
  • Hole, who had multiple suicide attempts in the past, thought of killing himself almost every day, authorities said. Last year, his own family reported him for planning to commit “suicide by cop.”
  • Others killed in the shooting were John Weisert, 74; Matthew Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; and Karli Smith, 19. Five more people were reportedly injured and rushed to a hospital.
Brandon Scott Hole. Image via Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

Demand for answers: Hole launched his attack at a facility where most of the workers are Sikh. This leaves the religious community scrambling for answers after Wednesday’s decision.

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  • “While we recognize that it is impossible to know exactly what was in the shooter’s mind, we are disappointed that the IMPD (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department) and FBI still have not detailed how they ruled out bias as a possible motive in their accounting of the investigation,” said Amrith Kaur, legal director of the Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights organization. “The shooter chose a place known for hiring people of color, specifically a Punjabi Sikh-majority, for his attack; we don’t know why he chose this location, but we now know the attack was planned at least nine months in advance.”
  • FedEx has reportedly become a household name among Sikhs in Indianapolis for being a reliable source of employment. One of the Sikh victims, Jaswinder Singh, decided to work at the facility so he can be part of its community, his family said.
  • Indianapolis police chief Randal Taylor described the shooting as an attack on “Indianapolis residents” who were just trying to do their jobs. “[They were] trying to provide for their families, trying to do what they felt was right, and had the right to do when their lives were so tragically cut short,” he told reporters.
  • The Sikh Coalition reiterated that they are not dismissing the role of mental health issues in the shooting. However, they believe the IMPD and FBI “could have provided more information about how and why they ruled bias out.”

Hole himself was a former employee of FedEx. After the shooting, his family apologized to his victims’ families:

“We are devastated at the loss of life caused as a result of Brandon’s actions; through the love of his family, we tried to get him the help he needed. Our sincerest and most heartfelt apologies go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy. We are so sorry for the pain and hurt being felt by their families and the entire Indianapolis community.”

Featured Image Screenshot via WRTV Indianapolis

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