Gunman Brandon Hole’s mother contacted police in March 2020 because she was concerned about his behavior after buying a gun. This is based on recently published information from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD). She told police that he told her “he was going to point a recently purchased shotgun at police officers so they would shoot him.” And when the police went to their home, they found that he had visited the white supremacist websites, the report said.
In an attack that lasted only a few minutes, Hole opened fire at the facility near the main Indianapolis airport before killing himself Thursday night. Of the eight people killed in the violence, four were members of the Sikh community in the area, Maninder Singh Walia, a member of the Indianapolis Sikh community, told CNN on Friday.
The case has also raised gun access concerns as Hole seized his gun in the 2020 incident.
After his mother told officers on March 3 that she feared for her safety after her son bought a gun the day before, the IMPD held Hole, seized the gun, immediately placed him in immediate mental detention and took him away then sent him to a local hospital for assessment, the police report said.
When Hole was handcuffed, he became anxious and said, “Please just turn off the power strip on my computer” and “I don’t want anyone to see what’s on it,” the report said. An officer described as clearing the upper floor and securing the shotgun “observed through his training and experience what white supremacist websites are,” the report said.
Limitations of the Red Flag Laws
Despite the temporary mental health in March, Hole was able to legally purchase assault rifles in July and September 2020, Indianapolis police said.
The case “illustrates the limits” of state law, Attorney Ryan Mears said Monday in Marion County, Indiana.
Mears said the Jake Laird Red Flag state gun law allows police to seize and hold firearms from people with mental health problems. However, the state only has 14 days to file a petition classifying a person with violent tendencies or mental instability.
Because the shotgun removed from Hole’s house was locked and the family didn’t want it back, prosecutors felt they had “achieved” the law’s goal, Mears said. If the state had filed a petition, the court might have found that the prosecutor had no legal authority to keep the gun.
“In this particular case, the petition was not filed because the family in this particular case had agreed to forfeit the weapon in question and they did not want to pursue the return of that weapon,” Mears said.
Mears said the state had no access to “anything to suggest that (Hole) had a history or documented diagnosis of mental illness”.
“We have 14 days under the law and because we have 14 days our ability to access meaningful medical history and meaningful mental health records is severely limited.” Indiana law allows a person 30 days to respond to a subpoena, Mears said.
“The sad reality is that while these matters are pending, there is nothing to prevent someone from buying a firearm. That’s just the sad truth,” Mears said.
8 dead and 4 people are still in the hospital
Indianapolis police announced the names of eight deceased victims on Friday evening. They were Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jasvinder Kaur, 50; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74.
According to FedEx, four people remained in hospital with injuries in the attack on Monday.
Although the rifle’s motive is not yet known, “it was aimed at a facility known to be heavily populated by Sikh workers, and the attack is traumatic for our community as we continue to experience senseless violence,” said Satjeet Kaur, general manager of the Sikh coalition.
That sentiment was corroborated in a letter to the Biden administration on Saturday in which the Sikh coalition wrote, “It was no accident that the shooter aimed at this particular FedEx facility where he had worked and knew they were was mostly occupied by Sikhs. “
Two of the victims, Sekhon and Kaur, were relatively new to Indianapolis and were working night shift at the FedEx facility when they were killed, said Rimpi Girn, an Indianapolis resident who knew them.
After Sekhon immigrated to the United States in 2004, he moved from Ohio to Indiana in 2019 to be closer to family and relatives, said Girn, a close family friend. Sekhon leaves behind a husband and two sons aged 13 and 19, Girn said.
Kaur, who immigrated to the United States in 2018, was her family’s breadwinner, according to Girn. Sekhon drove Kaur to work because Kaur didn’t have a driver’s license, Girn said.
By late Sunday evening, a verified GoFundMe campaign set up by the National Compassion Fund had raised more than $ 1 million for the victims’ families, with FedEx donating $ 1 million.
The fund said 100% of donations “go to families and those affected by the tragedy”.
Kristina Sgueglia from CNN, Meridith Edwards, Harmeet Kaur, Eric Levenson, Steve Almasy, Dakin Andone, Jason Carroll, Meredith Edwards, Jason Hanna, Kay Jones, LaCrisha McAllister, Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, Hollie Silverman, Artemis Moshtaghian and Amanda Watts about this in this report.