FROM CASEY SMITH
Associated Press / Report for America
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An armed man killed eight people and wounded several others before killing himself in a nightly shooting at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport in a pandemic.
According to the police, five people were hospitalized after the shooting on Thursday evening. One of them had serious injuries, said police spokesman Genae Cook. Another two people were treated at the scene and released. FedEx said people who worked for the company were among the dead.
A witness told WTHR-TV that he was working in the building when he heard gunshots.
“I see a man come out with a rifle in hand and he starts shooting and he starts shouting things that I couldn’t understand,” said Levi Miller. “In the end I ducked to make sure he didn’t see me because I thought he would see me and he was going to shoot me.”
The shooter was not identified immediately, and investigators were in the process of conducting interviews and gathering information. Cook said it was too early to say if the shooter was an employee at the facility.
“We’re still trying to find out the exact reason and cause of this incident,” she said.
It was the latest in a series of mass shootings in the United States. Last month, eight people were fatally shot in massage shops in the Atlanta area and ten were killed in gunfire in a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.
It was at least the third mass shooting that year in Indianapolis alone. Five people, including a pregnant woman, were shot dead in January and one man was accused of killing three adults and a child before abducting his daughter during a quarrel in a house in March.
“I am broken by the mass shootings at the FedEx facility here in Indianapolis and I pray for everyone affected by this tragedy,” tweeted Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat who owns much of the city.
Family members gathered at a nearby hotel to wait for news from loved ones – and some employees were taken to tearful reunions there. But other relatives said they had no information about their loved ones for hours afterwards. Most employees are not allowed to carry cell phones in the FedEx building, which makes contact with them difficult.
“If you see notifications on your phone but don’t get any text back from your child or get any information and you still don’t know where they are … what should you do?” said Mindy Carson, holding back the tears. Her daughter Jessica works at the facility and she hadn’t heard from her.
Police were called to report shooting just after 11 p.m. Thursday, and officers “came into contact with an incident involving an active shooter,” Cook said. The shooter later killed himself.
“The officers replied, they came in and did their job. Many of them are trying to face it because this is a sight no one should see, ”said Cook.
FedEx released a statement saying it is working with the authorities.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members after the tragic shooting at our FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis,” the statement said. “Our deepest condolences go to all those who are affected by this senseless act of violence.”
Jeremiah Miller, a witness who said he worked at the facility, told WISH-TV that he saw a man with some sort of gun after hearing multiple shots.
Another man told WTTV that his niece was in the driver’s seat of her car when the fire broke out and she was wounded.
“She was shot in the left arm,” said Parminder Singh. “She is fine, she is in the hospital now.”
He said his niece didn’t know the shooter.
Casey Smith is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a not-for-profit national service program in which journalists report undercover issues to local newsrooms.