INDIANAPOLIS - Police were working Friday to identify a gunman and determine his motive for opening fire at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, killing eight people and taking his own life in the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S.
Deputy Chief Craig McCartt of the Indianapolis police said the gunman started randomly shooting at people in the parking lot late Thursday night and then went into the building, where he shot himself shortly before police entered the facility.
McCartt said four people were killed outside the building and another four inside. Several people were also wounded, including five taken to the hospital.
The carnage took just a couple of minutes. "It did not last very long," he said.
Officials with the coroner’s office said they have not been able to get to the scene to identify the victims because evidence is still being collected.
It was the latest in a recent string of mass shootings across the U.S. Last month, eight people were fatally shot at massage businesses across the Atlanta area, and 10 died in gunfire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.
It was at least the third mass shooting this year in Indianapolis alone. Five people, including a pregnant woman, were shot and killed in January, and a man was accused of killing three adults and a child before abducting his daughter during an argument at a home in March.
A witness said that he was working inside the building when he heard several gunshots in rapid succession.
"I see a man come out with a rifle in his hand and he starts firing and he starts yelling stuff that I could not understand," Levi Miller told WTHR-TV. "What I ended up doing was ducking down to make sure he did not see me because I thought he would see me and he would shoot me."
Family members gathered at a nearby hotel to await word on loved ones — and some employees were bused there for tearful reunions. But hours later, some people said they still had no information about their relatives. Most employees aren’t allowed to carry cellphones inside the FedEx building, making contact with them difficult.
"When you see notifications on your phone, but you’re not getting a text back from your kid and you’re not getting information and you still don’t know where they are … what are you supposed to do?" said Mindy Carson, holding back tears in the early hours of Friday. Her daughter, Jessica, works in the facility and she had not heard from her.
Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until April 20, and he and others decried the shooting, with some noting how frequent such attacks are.
"We wake up once more to news of a mass shooting, this time in Indiana. No country should accept this now-routine horror. It’s long past time to act," Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who is from Indiana, tweeted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was "horrified and heartbroken" by the shooting in Indianapolis and called for congressional action on gun control.
"As we pray for the families of all affected, we must work urgently to enact commonsense gun violence prevention laws to save lives & prevent this suffering," the Democratic leader said in a tweet.
Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, and the White House said President Joe Biden would be. Biden’s advisors have been in touch with the city’s mayor and law enforcement officials.
Chris Bavender, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Indianapolis office, said that they are helping the police with the investigation.
A man told WTTV that his niece was sitting in the driver’s seat of her car when the gunfire erupted, and she was wounded.
"She got shot on her left arm," said Parminder Singh. "She’s fine, she’s in the hospital now."
Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
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