Gunman kills at least eight at FedEx facility in Indianapolis, police say

A gunman killed eight people and then himself at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on Thursday, authorities said, in a mass shooting that left several others injured.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Genae Cook said at a news conference that law enforcement responded just after 11 p.m. to reports of shots fired at the facility at near Indianapolis International Airport. As police arrived at the warehouse, they came in contact with an active shooter, she said. The suspect then apparently killed himself.

Cook said that several people were found at the scene with gunshot wounds, and eight victims were pronounced dead at the scene. Four people were transferred to area hospitals, including one person in critical condition.

“It is very heartbreaking,” she said early on Friday, as dozens of family members of FedEx workers began congregating in a staging area at a nearby hotel. “This is a sight that no one should have to see.”

The incident marks the fifth mass shooting in the United States in as many weeks, following massacres at three spas in metro Atlanta, a supermarket in Boulder, Colo., a southern California office building and a private residence in South Carolina.

President Joe Biden said Friday that gun violence “stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation” as he ordered that flags at the White House and other federal properties be lowered to half-staff yet again.

In a statement in which he called gun violence an “epidemic,” Biden also reiterated his call for Congress to pass universal background checks and an assault weapon ban.

“We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives,” Biden said.

Biden said that he and Vice President Kamala Harris had been briefed on the shooting in Indianapolis – “just the latest in a string of tragedies, following closely after gunmen firing bullets in broad day light 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 noted that just a week ago he announced several executive actions on gun control during an event at the Rose Garden in the White House and that the Indianapolis shootings came just before the 14th anniversary of a mass shooting at Virginia Tech in which a gunman killed 32 people.

“Gun violence is an epidemic in America,” Biden said. “But we should not accept it. We must act. … Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation.”

Harris also addressed the mass shooting in Indianapolis, saying “this violence must end,” ahead of a meeting Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in her ceremonial office in the White House complex.

Speaking to reporters as she and Suga stood in front of U.S. and Japanese flags, Harris began her remarks by referencing the shootings that left eight people dead before the gunman apparently took his own life.

“Yet again we have families in our country that are grieving the loss of their family members because of gun violence,” Harris said. “There is no question that this violence must end and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.”

In an emotional statement Friday morning, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, D, said that while the investigation is ongoing, he acknowledged that any information can only do so much to help those in mourning.

“Although we will learn more about this case in the coming days and weeks, no piece of information will restore the lives that were taken or the peace that was shattered,” Hogsett said at a news conference.

Hogsett joined a chorus of local and national Democrats in calling for lawmakers to address gun legislation.

The mayor championed the city as a “resilient community” that will be challenged “for days and weeks to come” following the mass shooting.The site of the latest mass shooting, a one-story FedEx Ground facility in southwestern Indianapolis, is five miles away from a much larger company hub located at the city’s airport.

Jim Masilak, a spokesman for FedEx, said in a statement to The Washington Post that the company was “deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members.”

“Our most heartfelt sympathies are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence. The safety of our team members is our top priority, and we are fully cooperating with investigating authorities,” the statement said.

Video from the scene early on Friday showed a parking lot outside the FedEx facility closed off with police tape and multiple ambulances and police cruisers on the scene.

Timothy Bouillat, a 29-year-old package handler at the warehouse, told The Post that he was eating dinner in an outdoor break area around 11:10 p.m. when he heard two shots clanging against metal. He initially mistook the sound for an engine backfiring.

His co-worker stood up to see what was going on and pointed out a man with a weapon coming out of the front door to the FedEx facility, Bouillat said.

As four or five more shots went off, the pair spotted another person going into a car and retrieving a gun of their own. Moments later, Bouillat said, that person was on the ground, apparently wounded by the shooter.

Bouillat, who has worked at the warehouse for a decade, said the shooting left him “dumbfounded.” The building is outfitted with metal detectors and security turnstiles at its entrance that require employees to scan their FedEx badges.

“I’m trying to process what happened and not lose composure,” he said. “It could have been me. I could have been the one on the floor, not being able to see my twin boys again.”

He and his co-worker were picked up by a third colleague at the facility, who drove them out of the parking lot. On their way out, they warned co-workers heading into the overnight shift not to approach the area.

“I am heartbroken by the mass shooting at the FedEx facility here in Indianapolis and praying for all affected by this tragedy,” Democratic Rep. André Carson, who represents the area in Congress, said on Twitter. “I am communicating with local authorities to get all details of the attack and my office stands ready to help everyone affected any way we can.”

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