Several Sikhs killed in shooting at US FedEx facility; Sikh community say they are scared

Ritu Jha-

At least four Sikhs out of eight people were killed during a mass shooting that took place at a FedEx warehouse near International Airport in the US city of Indianapolis, late Thursday night. The Sikh community says they are scared, it reminds them of the Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara shooting.

Craig McCartt, deputy chief of Criminal Investigations at Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said at a Friday news conference, the suspect was a 19-year-old Brandon Hole, he used a rifle as a weapon to kill people. Hole was a former FedEx employee.

According to police Hole, died of a self-inflicted wound, he shot himself before police arrived. The motive behind the shooting is not clear, however, given the number of Sikh people killed, the Sikh community is in shock and concerned.

The police have disclosed just two names but according to the local gurdwara four Sikh people died and several injured.

Gurpreet Singh, president at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis Gurdwara told indica News over the phone, there were three women and one man.

He said a 69-year-old Jaswinder Singh, one of the victims used to work there just once a week. “It’s sad he was there just to pick up the check,” Gurpreet Singh told indica News.

Another victim was 66-year-old Amarjeet Kaur Johal, who was there to get her check as well.

Komal Chohan a law student posted on Twitter @yourlawyerkomal:  “AMARJEET KAUR JOHAL[Above photo] you deserved so much better than this.” “She was gonna work a double so she could have the day off today but decided to just grab her check and go home. she still had her check in her hand when they found her. this other guy that just moved from India just got his first paycheck. what a harsh and cruel world we live in.”

Chohan is the granddaughter of Johal through the press note said, “I am heartbroken to confirm that my naniji (maternal grandmother), Amarjeet Kaur Johal, is among those killed in the senseless shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis.”

“We are still working to identify others who were injured and killed on Thursday night. I have several family members who work at the particular facility and are traumatized. My nani, my family, and our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere. Enough is enough–our community has been through enough trauma.”

Gurpreet Singh, did not disclose the names of two other victims who got killed, but mentioned a few Sikh got injured as well. “Our people are there working with the victims’ families.”

“We are scared,” Gurpreet Singh said. “This incident wounds of the 2012 Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting.”

When asked does he think it’s a hate crime said that he cannot say nor deny but could be ‘jealous’ of many Indian and Sikh people who work at that FedEx facility.

“We are concerned about our safety and we have a meeting tomorrow at the Gurdwara to discuss the issue. It’s bad…a really bad crime and should not happen again,” he said.

Meanwhile, the New York-based Sikh Coalition posted a statement on Twitter regarding the shooting at the Indianapolis FedEx facility stated: “The Sikh Coalition is deeply saddened to learn that Sikh community members are among those injured and killed by the gunman in Indianapolis last Night…Our hearts and prayers are with their families…”

“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of this horrific violence,” said Satjeet Kaur, Sikh Coalition Executive Director in a press statement. “While we don’t yet know the motive of the shooter, he targeted a facility known to be heavily populated by Sikh employees, and the attack is traumatic for our community as we continue to face senseless violence. Further traumatizing is the reality that many of these community members, like Sikhs we have worked with in the past, will eventually have to return to the place where their lives were almost taken from them.”

The FedEx hub employs more than 4,500 people and is the second-largest facility in the company’s global network, local media reported.

This is the fourth mass shooting in Indianapolis this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that tracks gun violence in the US, and found that more than 19,000 people died in gun homicides last year.


[Photo courtesy: Gurpreet Singh]