INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Police scoured a Fedex facility in Indianapolis and interviewed scores of witnesses Friday in search of a motive for the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S., as family members of the eight victims spent agonizing hours waiting for word on their loved ones.
Authorities identified the shooter as a young man in his 20s. They said they could not yet say why he opened fire with a rifle late Thursday night at a FedEx processing center near the Indianapolis airport.
Police Chief Randal Taylor also noted that a “significant” number of employees at the facility are members of the Sikh community. Taylor spoke from a hotel where family members are awaiting word on their loved ones. He says he will stay with the families until they get more information.
Deputy Chief Craig McCartt of the Indianapolis police said the gunman started randomly shooting at people in the parking lot and then went into the building and continued firing. He said the gunman apparently died by suicide shortly before police entered the building.
“There was no confrontation with anyone that was there,” he said. “There was no disturbance, there was no argument. He just appeared to randomly start shooting.”
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 had not been able to get to the scene to identify the victims because evidence is still being collected.
The families’ agonizing waiting was exacerbated by the fact that 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?” Mindy Carson said early Friday, fighting back tears.
At 11:30 a.m., Carson said she had just heard from her daughter, Jessica, who works in the facility. She said her daughter was OK and she was going to meet her, but didn’t say where.
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 at argument at a home in March.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the community must guard against resignation and “the assumption that this is simply how it must be and we might as well get used to it.”
President Joe Biden said he had been briefed on the shooting and called gun violence “an epidemic” in the U.S.