On Thursday night, a 19-year-old gunman named Brandon Scott Hole opened fire at a FedEx Ground facility near Indianapolis, killing eight people and wounding several others before reportedly taking his own life. Hole was a former FedEx employee according to a Friday afternoon press briefing from Indianapolis Police Deputy Chief Craig McCartt. While details continue to emerge regarding a possible motive — the gunman is said to be “known to federal and local authorities, and a relative reached out to authorities warning about that person’s potential for violence,” according to CNN reporting — a clearer picture of what happened is also coming to light. Law enforcement officials are beginning to detail what is the country’s deadliest mass shooting since 10 people were gunned down at a grocery store in Boulder, CO... a little over three weeks ago.
McCartt said that the shooting began almost immediately after the gunman exited his vehicle outside the facility. Police believe four people were shot and killed in the parking lot before the shooter went inside and began to open fire again. Two FedEx employees told CNN affiliate WISH that they heard around 10 gunshots inside the facility. Four additional people were shot and killed inside, before the gunman shot and killed himself. Five others were taken to a local hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds, while two were treated at the scene and released, requiring no additional medical attention.
Currently, there is not much known about Hole, and police are refraining from releasing the victims' names until all their loved ones have been notified.
The shooting marks the 45th mass shooting in the United States in the past month, and it is at least the 147th mass shooting in 2021 so far. Earlier this month, a gunman who was targeting Asian-owned businesses shot and killed eight people, six of whom were Asian American women. (According to the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting involves four or more people dead, excluding the shooter.)
Several harrowing details seem to have been overlooked so far by media coverage. At least some of the victims were members of the Sikh community, adding to the list of Black and brown communities targeted by gunmen and reeling from the impact of gun violence. CNN also reported that FedEx employees were banned from using their cell phones inside the facility, and therefore were not able to call their loved ones or, presumably, for help. FedEx released a statement on Friday afternoon that it is currently reexamining this policy.
The shooting also occurred the day before the 14th anniversary of the third deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, when a 23-year-old student shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech.
Politicians quickly responded to yet another instance of mass violence, as the country continues to grapple with the police killings of Daunte Wright and 13-year-old Adam Toledo. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Friday is “another heartbreaking day” and that he is “shaken by the mass shooting.” President Joe Biden tweeted, “Vice President Harris and I have been briefed on the mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. God bless the eight individuals we lost and their loved ones, and we pray for the wounded for their recovery. We can, and must, do more to reduce gun violence and save lives." And FedEx released a statement saying the company is “deeply shocked and saddened.”
But in the absence of real, legislative, systemic change, mass shootings can — and will — continue to plague us. And thoughts and prayers from elected officials won't impact the continued gun violence that is coursing through the country.