The families of five people killed in the mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility by a former employee in April 2021 are suing the shipping giant and its security contractor, saying the rampage was "preventable."
The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, alleges FedEx and its subsidiaries are guilty of negligence, as well as failure to properly secure the premises, failure to warn employees about the active shooter, failure to provide adequate security and failure to adequately hire, train and supervise staff members.
An attorney for the families, Dan Chamberlain, said at a news conference Monday that the shooting was "not only preventable, but these types of situations cannot continue in the United States, let alone the state of Indiana."
Filed by families of five of the victims — Amarjeet Johal, Amarjit Sekhon, Jasvinder Kaur, John Weisert and Karlie Smith — the suit alleges that FedEx and Securitas Security Services were well aware of the threat of mass shootings at facilities like the FedEx Ground facility at 8951 Mirabel Rd., near Indianapolis International Airport.
It seeks unspecified damages.
In a statement to NBC News on Monday, FedEx said: “We are aware of the lawsuits and are reviewing the allegations in this claim.
“We continue to mourn the loss of our team members in the senseless tragedy that occurred nearly one year ago.”
Securitas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shootings at FedEx facilities in Bedford Park, Illinois, in 2011 and in Kennesaw, Georgia, in 2014 demonstrated the threat posed by shooters, the suit alleges, but the security firm and FedEx did not do enough to stop the Indianapolis attack, which left eight employees dead and injured at least four.
The suit says that "active shooter events have become a common cause of occupational fatalities in recent years" and that companies like FedEx "need to adequately prepare for and provide adequate security to minimize exposure to such events."
The suit alleges that early during the incident on April 15, 2021, the shooter "began banging on a door and causing a disturbance," that he was displaying "warning signs of a potentially dangerous individual and a possible volatile individual" and that Securitas employees then failed to "observe or in any way monitor" him while he left the facility entrance, retrieved his gun and opened fire in the parking lot.
All five of the victims whose estates are a part of Monday’s suit died in the parking lot.
At the news conference Monday, Gary Johal said his late mother, Amarjeet Johal, 66, was “the most selfless person you could ever meet.”
Matt Alexander, whose 19-year-old daughter, Karlie Smith, died, said the shooting was “extremely traumatic” for his family, adding, “Nobody should have to bury a child.” He said justice for him means “the prevention of this happening at a future date at a future facility, whether it’s FedEx or not."
The gunman, Brandon Scott Hole, 19, who died by suicide shortly after the shooting, had a history of troubling behavior.
Indianapolis police seized Hole's gun. Their incident report said he told his mother, "I am going to point this unloaded gun at the police and they will shoot me."
Hole worked from August to October 2020 at the FedEx facility, where, the lawsuit says, he displayed "emotional and mental instability on multiple instances that would cause an ordinary, reasonable person or employer to believe that Hole was potentially violent and/or dangerous to himself and others."
"Defendants FedEx, FedEx Ground, FedEx Express and Securitas knew or should have known of Hole’s potentially violent and dangerous propensities, which were reasonably likely to result in injuries to himself and others,” the lawsuit said.
Four of the victims were members of the local Sikh community, and Hole was alleged to have browsed white supremacist websites. The FBI announced in July that it did not believe he was motivated by racial bias.
At the time, the shooting was the deadliest workplace slaying since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when an employee opened fire and killed five people at Molson Coors headquarters in Milwaukee in February 2020.