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8 FedEx employees killed in shooting at Indianapolis facility; suspect also dead

The suspected gunman in the shooting killed himself, police said.

Eight people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis late Thursday before killing himself, according to police.

Four others who were shot and another who was injured were taken to hospitals, officials said, adding that some may have been privately transported to medical facilities.

No law enforcement officers were hurt in the shooting carried out by a former employee who last worked at the facility in the fall, authorities said Friday afternoon.

A motive for the attack wasn't immediately clear, but a year ago, the shooter's mother said she feared he might be suicidal.

“In March 2020, the suspect’s mother contacted law enforcement to report he might try to" attempt "suicide by cop," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan, who runs the bureau's Indianapolis field office.

The phrase "suicide by cop" refers to a self-destructive person who intentionally draws the attention of police in hopes of a deadly confrontation.

"A shotgun was seized at his residence. Based on items observed in the suspect’s bedroom at that time, he was interviewed by the FBI in April 2020. No Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment and no criminal violation was found," the statement said. "The shotgun was not returned to the suspect.”

Law enforcement officials identified him as 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole.

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The shooting was reported shortly after 11 p.m. ET and officers arrived to an active shooter incident, according to police.

"This suspect came to the facility, and when he came there he got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility," Craig McCartt, deputy chief of criminal investigations for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said during a news conference Friday morning.

McCartt said the initial investigation shows there was no disturbance or argument that preceded the shooting, which lasted about two minutes.

The suspected gunman killed himself shortly before police arrived, he said, adding that investigators believe he had a rifle.

Four bodies were found outside the facility, and four more were found inside, McCartt said.

Police said Friday evening that Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74, were killed in the shooting.

FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith said the eight killed were company employees.

"This is a devastating day, and words are hard to describe the emotions we all feel," he said in a statement.

"I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and co-workers of those team members," he said, adding that counselors were on site at the facility to provide support.

A FedEx employee told NBC's "TODAY" show that he was sitting outside the building when he heard what he initially thought was a car with engine problems. He soon realized the sound was actually gunfire.

"And when I stand up, I see a man — a hooded figure — I was unable to see his face in detail however," Levi Miller said.

He said the man had a rifle "and he started shouting, and then he started firing in random directions." He couldn't tell what the gunman was yelling. "I thought he saw me and so I immediately ducked for cover," Miller said.

Family members were waiting at a nearby Holiday Inn Express hotel early Friday to hear if their loved ones were safe while police chaplains provided support, WTHR photojournalist Joe Fenton tweeted.

McCartt said there was some frustration in connecting family members with survivors because employees did not have their cellphones on them as they fled the building.

FedEx said in a statement that "to minimize potential distractions around package sortation equipment and dock operations, cellphone access within certain areas of FedEx Ground field operations is limited to authorized team members."

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett offered prayers to "the families of those whose lives were cut short" and thanked the "city’s first responders for their tireless work overnight."

"Their quick response provided critical aid to those injured in the shooting and brought a measure of calm to an otherwise chaotic scene," he said in a tweet.

"What we are left with this morning is grief — grief for the families of those killed, grief for the employees who have lost their co-workers, grief for the many Americans struggling to understand how tragedies like this continue to occur again and again," Hogsett said Friday morning.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered flags to be flown at half-staff.

"This is another heartbreaking day, and I’m shaken by the mass shooting at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis," he said in a statement. "In times like this, words like justice and sorrow fall short in response for those senselessly taken."

U.S. Rep. André Carson, D-Indiana, whose district includes Indianapolis, said that he was devastated by the incident.

"I am heartbroken by the mass shooting at the FedEx facility here in Indianapolis and praying for all affected by this tragedy," he said on Twitter.

There have been several mass shootings in the United States in recent weeks, including an April 8 shooting at a cabinet company facility in Bryan, Texas, that left one person dead and five others wounded.

This is the third high-profile shooting this year in Indianapolis.

In January, five people, including a pregnant woman, were shot dead in the city's northeast side. And in March, a man fatally shot three adults and a child at a home in a dispute over a stimulus check, police said.

President Joe Biden also ordered flags be lowered to half-staff.

"Last night and into the morning in Indianapolis, yet again families had to wait to hear word about the fate of their loved ones. What a cruel wait and fate that has become too normal and happens every day somewhere in our nation," Biden said in a statement.

The shooting "is just the latest in a string of tragedies, following closely after gunmen firing bullets in broad daylight at spas in and around Atlanta, Georgia, a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and so many other shootings," he said.

Last week, Biden announced a series of executive actions aimed at tackling what he called a national "epidemic."

"Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act," he said Friday.

His proposals, which are likely to face legal hurdles, are aimed at reducing mass shootings, suicides and domestic violence.

They aim to limit so-called "ghost guns," which can be assembled at home without traceable serial numbers, and make it easier for relatives to flag family members who shouldn't be allowed to buy firearms.

Biden is also seeking to reduce access to stabilizing braces, which can effectively turn a pistol into a more lethal rifle while not being subject to the same regulations that a rifle of similar size would be.

Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday: "Yet again we have families in America that are grieving the loss of their family members because of gun violence. There is no question this violence must end and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.

Gun violence, in general, has skyrocketed in recent years.

The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that tracks gun violence in the U.S., found that more than 19,000 people died in gun homicides last year. This was the the highest yearly figure in more than two decades, up by nearly 25 percent from 2019.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

David K. Li, Pete Williams and Jonathan Dienst contributed.